Buying a House, What Hazards to Cats Should I Look For?

Danneq

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Hello all! I'm in the process of looking for a house. Yay, me. In looking at houses, I've suddenly become aware that many buildings have potential hazards that I've never had around, just because they were built in a different time or place from other places I've lived.

I'm especially nervous about:
1) Lofts! Has anyone ever had a cat fall out of a loft eg while playing or otherwise distracted, or try to jump off of one, etc? (For clarity, "loft" in my local terminology is when the second floor is open to the first floor, usually with a railing. Here are two random examples I pulled from the internet: one and two.) I just, I look at these open spaces and thing, what if the mouse she's chasing goes skittering off the edge and she's so excited she follows it? Or what if her vision is bad (both of my current cats, who will not be moving with me, have poor vision) and she doesn't realize how far it is? Or what if he sees a stray out the window downstairs and goes tearing after it, and falls?

2) Radiators! I look at old radiators like this one and can't help but thinking, could a kitten get stuck in there? Could a cat fall asleep on top and get burned?


I. I think I know that this is mostly my anxiety speaking, but if anyone has lived in place with a loft-style second floor or with old fashioned radiators, I'd really like to hear from you.

And is there anything else I ought to be looking for? My cats are indoor cats, so things like a pool aren't a problem.

Thank you!
 

Norachan

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The house I'm living in now has a loft. We've been here for nearly 7 years with over 20 cats, including a litter of 4 foster kittens for a couple of months, and no one has ever fallen off the top. They do like to sit up on the railing though.

Toby71.jpg


You could attach a blanket or a throw to the railings, just so they have something to get their claws into if they start to slip.

We used to have old radiators like that in our house when I was a kid. I think it would be easy enough to put a shelf over the top, so a cat has somewhere warm to sit without the risk of getting burnt.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Cats do tend to sleep on radiators, but will get off if they start to over-heat. See above re: lofts.

Inspect under counters where pipes come into bathrooms and kitchens. Some older homes have holes where the pipes come in that an inquisitive cat could possibly squeeze through. For the cat's sake AND your own, be sure your new home isn't full of asbestos. Make sure there are no openings to attics that a cat could squeeze through, or loose floor vents that could be pried up by an inquiring paw leading to a cat in the vent system! Make sure that the basement, if there is one, is secure. At some point, the cat WILL GET IN THE BASEMENT. They are little houdinis! OH, and if there is an attic, check for signs of animals coming in. That can drive a cat NUTS!
 

LTS3

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Someone posted a loft situation recently and there are ideas and suggestions on how to keep the cat safe: Highrise syndrome protection

I grew up in a house with those old style steam radiators. They do get super hot when in use so you will need to cover them. There are things called steam radiator covers you can buy. They're basically a box with vent openings that fit over the radiator. You may need to have them custom made if your radiators are a weird size or shape, or, depending on the location and what you prefer, have a bench style cover made like this. The house I grew up in only had metal covers that fit over the very top of the radiators like a shelf so the rest of the radiator was exposed. Not safe for kids or pets but I don't think my parents cared :rolleyes: The cat I had loved to stretch out over the metal covers in the winter because they would get super hot (scorching actually). I had to put a thick folded blanket on two of his favorite spots to keep him from getting burned. This most likely was not taken in the winter so the heat wasn't on:

Merlin8.jpg

Even if you get full covers, you will still want to put a folded blanket or cat bed or something on top to keep a cat from getting burned. Don't get metal covers because they obviously will get hot as well. No idea why my parents chose metal covers. There are wooden covers and probably covers made from other material. My cat never got stuck behind the radiator as a kitten or ever fell off while sleeping.
 

Mamanyt1953

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IF you are handy, or know someone who is, those covers are dead easy to make with good-quality plywood, lattice, and a bit of foam, batting and fabric for a pad.
 

KarenKat

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We just bought a house in the last few months and the cats definitely have a way of letting you know what you hadn’t thought of. For the most part though they figure it out.

We had Olive slip under a cabinet on the bathroom and ended up inside the bathtub - like under it and inside. She eventually came out.

We were worried about our pellet stove - the top can get warm/hot and it sounded like they might sit on it and get burned. They haven’t even cared.

We never thought about the angled banisters that go down the 3 steps in the entry. Both cats thought it was a good idea to walk on and slipped a little. Olive still tries it a lot.

They will always get in a little trouble, but you will be around to help. Most homes are fairly pet friendly. Also congrats on the search! So exciting!
 

MoonstoneWolf

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In the house I rented years ago, across the street from Mom and Dad, we had those old radiators. Pepper loved laying up there to sleep. It never burned her and if it got too hot she just moved. Do watch vents though because if you have someone working on your vent a cat will easily think it's a new place to explore. Pepper got stuck in the vent and Dad had to come over to get her out. I think Jackson Galaxy has several videos on how to catify your house
 

LTS3

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We had Olive slip under a cabinet on the bathroom and ended up inside the bathtub - like under it and inside. She eventually came out.
:yeah: Check the insides of all cabinets, upper and lower, and make sure they are completely solid inside. If they're just open, the cat can travel behind the cabinet and possibly into the walls or floors. Check under bottom cabinets too to make sure there is a board there, to (not sure what they're called. Toekicks?). If there are built in furniture, check those too. Check crawl spaces, the basement, attic, garage for any potential hazards and cat appealing hiding spots. Old houses have lots of quirks and may not be completely up to date with today's building codes.

When you do move, have a cat safe room ready for the cats to live in while they settle in.
 

Juniper_Junebug

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I'm the thread starter from the thread mentioned above. I bought my place before I had a cat (or any intention of getting one). I know others have used plexiglass or other material to block off the loft but personally, I would just not buy a loft, rather than have to deal with that.

If you do think about a loft, pay attention to what it gives the cat access to. My cat has started jumping from the loft ledge to the tops of my kitchen cabinets below (11 feet high). She's not a hider, but if she were, that would be a great place to hide from me when it comes time to give her medicine or take her to the vet. I will need to use a ladder to get her down if she ever gets stuck up there. On the plus side, it's a natural kitty super highway and with a few shelves added, she'll be able traverse a pretty big space entirely above my head.
 

Juniper_Junebug

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Oh, and to answer your question explicitly (though you'll also see this if you read my separate thread), yes, I have had a cat fall from the loft. I think she miscalculated the jump from the loft floor to the railing and went over, and 14 feet down. Luckily, she was fine (and immediately tried again). I have since given her step access to the railing so she doesn't have to jump. I struggle about whether to add something to the railing to give her claws purchase. I haven't so far, because I was worried she might get a claw stuck and tear it if she fell.
 

Juniper_Junebug

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I'll add one more thing to think about, though maybe it's not a deal-breaker: How do the windows open, and where are the screens? I have oversized windows that open out (like opening the cover of a book). This means that the screens run the full length of the inside of the windows, even when shut. My cat loves to climb them, which is annoying and even potentially dangerous (they have kiddie locks to keep them from opening so far that a child could fall out, but its far enough that a cat could, so I tend to keep those windows shut).
 

rubysmama

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I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet, but since your cats are indoor only, if either of them are prone to trying to sneak out the door, a house with a front entry that has a door that separates it from the rest of the house is a good way to ensure your cat(s) won't be waiting to rush out the door as soon as it's opened. That type of layout is probably harder to find now with open concept homes, but should exist in some older homes.

Good luck in your house hunting. I hope you find one that's purr-fect for you and your cats' needs. 🏠
 

neely

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Radiators! I look at old radiators like this one and can't help but thinking, could a kitten get stuck in there? Could a cat fall asleep on top and get burned?
Not just radiators but be careful with baseboard heaters too since they are low to the ground and can get hot to the touch. Plus they collect fur especially if your cat(s) sheds a lot.

We had radiators in one of our first apartments after we were married but never had a problem with any of the cats. I don't know if we were just lucky or they sensed when they got too hot. Some of the radiators did have covers but not sure if all of them did.
 

DreamerRose

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I grew up in a house with radiators, and we had no covers for them. Our cats never hopped up on them. They were too bumpy.
 

MonaLyssa33

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I bought my house in March and my sister moved into a new house in November, so we both have some things we've learned with our cats in new houses. My sister's cat, Luna, will hide in any very inconvenient hiding space, so look for places in the laundry or mechanical room that are open and would be a good place for a cat to hide in. If you like the house, then look into ways of blocking off those areas. With my cats, the biggest issue (but not really a huge issue) is that my upstairs is mostly hardwood or linoleum and the cats dig their claws into the hardwood when they chase each other. I have rugs down, but they are always out of place because the cats use them as leverage. It's not a huge deal and is more of an inconvenience, but it's something I didn't even think about when I bought my house.
 

LTS3

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my upstairs is mostly hardwood or linoleum and the cats dig their claws into the hardwood when they chase each other. I have rugs down, but they are always out of place because the cats use them as leverage. It's not a huge deal and is more of an inconvenience, but it's something I didn't even think about when I bought my house.
On the flip side, carpet is a pain to thoroughly clean pet messes off of :cringe: Some messes will soak through to the carpet pad and the floor underneath and there's no way to clean that without tearing the carpet up. My unit originally had carpet but I had that removed and hardwood floors installed before I moved in.
 

MonaLyssa33

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On the flip side, carpet is a pain to thoroughly clean pet messes off of :cringe: Some messes will soak through to the carpet pad and the floor underneath and there's no way to clean that without tearing the carpet up. My unit originally had carpet but I had that removed and hardwood floors installed before I moved in.
My cats only barf on the carpet or rugs. So there really is no win-win.
 

PushPurrCatPaws

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Hello all! I'm in the process of looking for a house. Yay, me. In looking at houses, I've suddenly become aware that many buildings have potential hazards that I've never had around, just because they were built in a different time or place from other places I've lived.

I'm especially nervous about:
...
2) Radiators! I look at old radiators like this one and can't help but thinking, could a kitten get stuck in there?...

Thank you!

Kittens and younger cats can indeed get limbs stuck in the vertical openings of radiators... it happened to my cat when she was younger! I would never have believed it could happen, until it happened. Her arm got stuck in the vertical slot up to her shoulder!! Scary! Luckily, I was home, and somehow, I got her arm removed from the radiator.

See my comment about it in this one article which Furballsmom Furballsmom posted --
This is a bit of a mix of articles that might help :)
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