Cats and kittens are innately curious. The old saying “Curiosity killed the cat” can be sadly true, depending on where that curiosity leads your kitty. If cats are curious, kittens are doubly so, and they appear to be fearless. Depending on your kitten’s activity level, you could easily find her swinging from the dining room chandelier, climbing the drapes, or perched atop the refrigerator, all within a short span of time. A cabinet door is open? Don’t be surprised if you see a sleepy kitty napping on a plate or curled up in a bowl. Anything left out on counters is fair game for a curious cat. Burners on the countertop range or the stove can be downright dangerous. Be sure to buy covers for them. Sooner or later your kitty will decide to explore that surface, and you don’t want any accidents. Be sure to pick up paper clips and pins that have dropped on the floor, any tiny toys your children might leave around, your own small knickknacks, and anything small other than the cat’s toys (it is not unheard of for a cat to swallow a shiny piece of jewelry). Once a cat begins to swallow something, she can’t stop. This is because kitty’s tongue, which is so good at giving you sandpaper kisses, has tiny hooks called papillae that help her clean her fur, hunt, and eat. However, the catch is that those little papillae all point toward the back of her throat, making it just about impossible for kitty to spit out things like string and yarn. The more string a cat swallows, the more dangerous it becomes to the cat, and that can lead to surgery or possibly to death, depending on what has been swallowed and whether it does any internal damage.
Long, stringy things of any type may also be swallowed and cause an obstruction. These include yarn, ribbon, thread, and string. It can also be dangerous if you catch your cat swallowing string and you try to pull it back out. Instead, rush your cat to the veterinarian immediately. If kitty is adept at opening cabinets, you’re going to need childproof locks for cabinets and drawers. A curious kitty might decide to stick her paw in an electric socket, so it’s wise to buy socket covers as you would for a toddler. Tape wires to walls, because if kitty chews on an electrical wire she can be electrocuted—or, at the very least, badly burned. Many cats enjoy deliberately knocking things off bureaus or other pieces of furniture just for the fun of it. If those things are breakable, you may be dealing with shards of glass or china, which will be dangerous to everyone in the house, including the cat. That fascination extends to the bathroom. If you keep various items on the back of the toilet, don’t leave the seat up, because some cats really enjoy knocking each item into the toilet and watching for the splash. Keeping the lid down is always a good idea anyway in case your kitty decides to leap up on the toilet back and misses, landing in the water. She probably won’t enjoy the impromptu bath very much. And skip drop-in toilet cleaners of all types, because they are toxic. Computers and printers are another source of entertainment for kitties—not just because they’re there but because you are so often there. You can get a system to put on the keyboard that shuts the computer off when kitty walks on the keys, or you can keep the keyboard covered when not in use. It would be interesting to know how many pounds of cat hair are shed into keyboards worldwide! And watching the paper come out of the printer is a great source of entertainment. But the paper feeder can catch little paws, so be careful. Shredders can also provide a danger unless they have an automatic switch-off mode to prevent accidents. On the plus side, especially if you have a home office and spend a lot of time there, you can get a cat bed that will attach to the side of your desk. Or you may just want to put an extra cat bed in the room. And at least you’ll have company while you’re working.