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13 Vet-Approved Home Safety Tips for Small Children & Cats

Written by: Chantelle Fowler

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

small cute child with a bald head that embraces with tenderness and love a red cat

13 Vet-Approved Home Safety Tips for Small Children & Cats


Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo


Dr. Chyrle Bonk


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The best parents do everything in their power to keep the small beings they’re responsible for safe. This applies to our pets just as much as it does to our human children. However, if you have small children and pets, there are extra factors to consider to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Read on to find 13 tips on how to keep a harmonious and safe household when you have cats and children.

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The 13 Home Safety Tips for Small Children & Cats

1. Teach Respect

One of the best things you can do as a pet owner and parent is teach your children how to respect the animals in your home. Of course, your newborn isn’t going to understand boundaries and emotions, but as your child begins toddling around, you need to encourage gentle interactions and discourage rough play.

mother and her child playing cat
Image Credit: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock

2. Always Supervise

Until your child is old enough to understand boundaries and not play too rough with your cats, you’ll need to be vigilant and supervise their interactions. It doesn’t take long for a riled-up kitty to take a swipe at your child, potentially really injuring them. Even the sweetest cat can be unpredictable when exposed to sudden movements or loud noises that children are known for.

3. Hide the Breakables

Toddlers and cats are one and the same when it comes to their ability to hone in on our breakables and destroy them. Your fragile items should be placed on high shelves or packed away until your little ones are old enough to know not to touch them. Your cats, on the other hand, may never learn not to mess with things, so keeping your valuables tucked away on high shelves your kitty cannot access may be your best bet.

Cat with broken dishes or plates pieces on the floor
Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

4. Ensure the Baby’s Room Remains Cat-Free

Keep your baby’s bedroom door closed, and do not allow your kitty to enter. While the urban legend about cats stealing babies’ breath out of their mouths is just that—a legend—cats can absolutely pose a suffocation risk to sleeping babies.

5. Ensure the Cat’s Space Remains Baby-Free

Your baby should not have access to your cat’s food and water bowls and definitely should be nowhere near the litter box. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. An infection can occur in numerous ways, but infected cats pass the parasite through their feces. This is why pregnant women should let their significant others handle the litter box duties, and kids should be banished from the litter box area.

Tabby cat sitting in a litter box
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

6. Change the Litter Box Daily

While we’re on the topic of Toxoplasmosis, do your part in ensuring no one contracts the infection by changing your pet’s litter box every day. The Toxoplasma parasite will not become infectious until one to five days after being shed through a cat’s feces. Make sure you’re using proper handwashing etiquette after cleaning the litter box, too.

Even the best cat litter can quickly start smelling bad. To avoid the expense and inconvenience of constantly replacing your litter, you can try a great litter additive like Hepper's Advanced Bio-Enzyme Cat Litter Deodorizer, a natural product that uses bio-enzymes to neutralize odors.

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This deodorizer works on all types of litter and won't disrupt your cat's litter box habits.

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

7. Provide a Safe Space

Your cats need to have a safe, kid-free space in your home that they can retreat to when sharing their world with your child inevitably becomes too much. You don’t need to cordon off an entire room of your home; even a high perch or cozy bed tucked away in a corner will be good enough for most cats. You can even get them a quality scratcher so they have something to play with in their safe space.

8. Keep Nails Trimmed

Keeping your kitty’s nails trimmed won’t prevent scratches, but it can make any scratches that do occur less painful and serious. Don’t forget to keep your little one’s nails trimmed, also. Your kitty isn’t the only one who can inflict damage with their nails.

Never declaw your cat. While having a pet without claws that could potentially injure you and your children sounds like a good idea on paper, the declawing procedure is painful, unnecessary, and considered animal cruelty.

Hepper Cat Nail Clipper Kit - Small and Large...
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Hepper Cat Nail Clipper Kit - Small and Large...
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Trimming your cat's nails at home can be hard, but having a professional do it can be expensive. With the help of great tools like Hepper's Cat Nail Clipper Set, you can easily and quickly trim your cat's nails at home. This set includes two pairs of stainless steel clippers with safety guards and locking mechanisms, plus a built-in nail file and a convenient pouch.

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

9. Don’t Skip Out on Vet Appointments

Keep your cats in good health by visiting the vet for their annual wellness exams. Make sure you stay up to date on their immunizations and use flea or tick control if your vet deems it necessary.

10. Choose Safe Garden & Houseplants

Plants are one of the most common household dangers for cats and toddlers. Many of the plants that are toxic for cats are equally as toxic for your children. Take philodendrons for example. These stunningly green houseplants are gorgeous, but they contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause skin and eye irritation. Daffodils and oleanders are beautiful flowers that can add a pop of color to your garden, but they contain compounds that make them toxic. Lilies are one of the most dangerous flowers for homes with cats as they can cause kidney failure even if your kitty so much as sniffs the pollen or drinks the water in the vase.

Some of the best non-toxic houseplants for homes with cats and kids include:
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Boston Fern
  • Peperomia
  • Prayer Plant
  • Haworthia
  • Spider Plant
  • Burro’s Tail

Kitten sleeping spider plant_Artycustard_shutterstock
Image Credit: Artycustard, Shutterstock

11. Teach Proper Hygiene

As soon as your child is old enough, teach them proper hygiene. Washing their hands after playing with the cats can reduce their risk of illness and parasite transmission.

12. Childproof Your Home

The good thing about childproofing your home is that it winds up being a safer place for your kitty, too. Secure heavy objects, like televisions and dressers, to the wall so they cannot be pulled over. Implement a cord management system so your cats cannot chew through cords. Install outlet covers to protect your kids. Keep harmful substances, such as cleaning supplies, in locked cupboards and out of reach.

13. Teach Responsibility

As your child ages, you can start involving them in age-appropriate cat caretaking duties. You’ll still need to supervise them, but giving your child a role in caring for your family pets can be beneficial. It helps them feel involved, teaches them responsibility, and ensures they’ll be dependable pet owners in the future if they choose that path for themselves. Simple jobs like refilling the water bowl, using a measuring scoop to dole out food, and brushing them once a week are simple tasks most school-aged kids can manage.

mother and child talking and sitting together on couch
Image Credit: fizkes, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Cats and children can live together beautifully and safely, provided their parents take the necessary precautions to protect them both. By implementing our tips above, you’ll create a loving and safe environment where your human and fur children can thrive.

Featured Image Credit: oes, Shutterstock

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