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How to Cat-Proof Your Apartment: 10 Effective Ways

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

a tabby maine coon cat at home

Cats make fantastic apartment pets. They don’t need a ton of space, can use an indoor bathroom, and are content to be home alone for periods of time. Whether you have a new cat or are about to get one, it’s important to make sure your cat is safe in your apartment — and that your apartment is safe from being destroyed by your cat!

Here are the best ways to cat-proof your apartment to help you get your space ready for your new pet.

The 10 Ways to Cat-Proof Your Apartment

1. Check Screens and Windows

Windows make fantastic escape hatches for cats. Since cats are natural climbers and height doesn’t deter them, and this sometimes leads to accidental escapes.

You don’t have to keep your windows closed until the end of time just because you have a cat, but you should make sure your screens lock in place rather than just pop out. If any screens have holes, they should be fixed or replaced.

cat looking at the window
Image Credit: Alex Gbadamosi, Unsplash

2. Protect Cords

Hanging cords and wires make fantastic toys, but they can be dangerous for your cat. Wrapping cables in bundles will make them less interesting. It’s also a good idea to unplug cords that don’t need to be constantly plugged in.

Young kittens sometimes like to chew on cords, which can be a dangerous habit. While you should train your cat not to do this, an unplugged cord is much less dangerous in the meantime.

3. Move Breakable Items

Cats are experts at clearing off shelves, countertops, and cupboards. Before letting your cat loose in your apartment, be aware of what is sitting out. You should put it away if your cat can knock it over.

Even if you have a strict “no cats on the counter” policy, you can’t enforce the rule when you’re not home. It’s better to keep things safe and avoid leaving out breakable things.

a black cat lying next to donuts on a table
Image Credit: BUMIPUTRA, Pexels

4. Cover Your Trash Can

A simple lid on your trash can will save you and your cat many problems. It could also save you from a huge vet bill. An open trash can is incredibly inviting to a cat, but they can get into all sorts of dangerous things.

Items like bones or dental floss can cause obstructions or choking hazards that will require an emergency vet trip. Even if your cat doesn’t find anything dangerous, you probably don’t want to clean up the mess left behind when they dump out the trash.

5. Make Your Cat’s Items Accessible

While there are many things that you want to keep away from your cat, there are also things that you want your cat to have easy access to. Food bowls and litter boxes should be placed in quiet locations that are easy for your cat to get to.

Showing them where each litter box is, where their food is, and what belongs to them lets them know what they can and can’t do. The easier these things are for your cat to access, the more likely they are to use them.

himalayan cat white eating hepper nom nom bowl

6. Lock Up Cleaning Supplies

Having a pet in the house often means you’ll need to do extra cleaning. Cleaning supplies that are left out can become toys, and cats can lick spots that you recently cleaned on the floor or counter.

Not only should you keep your cleaning supplies locked up, but you should also consider using non-toxic cleaning supplies so you don’t have to worry about your cat accidentally getting poisoned.

7. Close the Washer and Dryer

Curiosity really can kill the cat. This saying is especially true for washers and dryers. Washing machines smell good to your cat because they smell like you. Always keep the lid closed on your washer so that your cat can’t climb in. It’s a good idea to also check the machine before turning it on to make sure your cat didn’t hop in while you were loading it.

Dryers are warm, cozy spaces to curl up in but dangerous if your cat is still in the drum when you turn it on. Ensuring that the door stays closed and checking the machine before turning it on can prevent unwanted injuries.

washing machine
Image Credit: FabrikaSimf, Shutterstock

8. Ensure That Houseplants Are Safe for Cats

Lilies, aloe vera, and many other popular houseplants are toxic to cats. Any toxic plants should be removed from your apartment and replaced with cat-friendly alternatives. Cats like to chew on plants, so make sure you have ones that won’t hurt them.

9. Close the Toilet Lid

Open toilet bowls can cause a whole host of problems. For one, they often contain harsh cleaning chemicals. And two, they are full of germs. Finally, cats can fall into the bowl.

Cats see an open toilet bowl as an extra water bowl (gross but true). If they try to drink out of it, you risk poisoning, illness, or them falling in and drowning.

toilet area
Image Credit: Hakim Santoso, Pexels

10. Put Food Items Away

Cats love the taste of many human foods, but many of them aren’t safe for your cat to eat. Since cats are agile and creative in their efforts to get to something they want, the best way to prevent this is to consistently put things away.

Clean your table and counters regularly, and put any leftover food away in the fridge or in cupboards where your cat can’t access them.


Many normal household items can be dangerous for a cat. Taking the time to cat-proof your apartment can ensure that both you and your cat stay safe. While you may need to supervise your new cat for a while and teach them the rules, it will soon be a happy home for you to enjoy your new life together.

Featured Image Credit: Daniel Zopf, Unsplash

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