Kittens are curious creatures that like to explore and get into mischief. Letting a kitten roam free in the house can be a dangerous proposition. They are tiny and unaware of lurking dangers. Their ability to hide in small spaces can make supervision particularly challenging. While it’s reasonable that at some point, your cat will be able to have free range in your home, it’s important to be patient with the process. There are a few things to take care of before you can let your kitten roam the house.
When Can I Let My Kitten Roam Free?
There’s no set age when you can let your kitten roam the house. Each one grows and develops at their own pace, though you can speed up the process. Ideally, you wouldn’t let a kitten roam freely without supervision until they are litter trained and used to the furniture and objects in your home.
Once sufficient training is in place, you can let your kitten roam the house during the day, when you can provide reasonable supervision. You should not let them roam free while you are away from home or during the night, when you can’t protect them from harm.
Certain risks come with letting a kitten roam the house:
- Insufficient litter training — If your kitten isn’t sufficiently litter trained, they will make a mess throughout the house. The only way that they can clearly understand your expectations is to train them. Some cats can take 4–6 weeks to become fully litter trained.
- Hiding — Kittens are experts at squeezing into unusual places where they can’t be found. They can often get into a space but can’t get back out. It’s especially hard to find small kittens when they do this.
- Risk of getting outside — Kittens can escape out open windows or take advantage of the smallest opportunity to get outside. They can then easily get lost, which is why they need supervision when roaming free.
Kitten-Proofing Your House in 4 Steps
There are a few ways that you can modify your home to make it safer for your kitten to roam free.
1. Restrict access to high locations
Cats like to climb curtains, counters, bookshelves, and anything else that they can use to get up high. Rearranging things can make it harder for them to climb and less likely to fall.
2. Know your home’s hiding spaces
Take a good look throughout your house, and note small spaces where your kitten can hide. You can restrict access to these places, and if your kitten does crawl into one, at least you’ll know where to look.
3. Put breakables away
If you have breakables, such as vases, china, or decorative pieces that you wish to keep intact, put them somewhere that can’t be accessed by your kitten.
4. Check your houseplants
Not all plants are safe for cats, so make sure you don’t have houseplants that could be toxic.
There is no specific age for letting a kitten roam free in the house. Your kitten should at least be able to safely navigate your home and be litter trained before they do so. Some cats take longer than others to be comfortable in a new home, and kittens can be mischievous. There’s no harm in keeping your kitten confined to a safe space or room until you’re certain that they are safe and comfortable. Giving a kitten too much freedom too early can lead to behavior problems in the long term. These are difficult to remedy, so it’s much better to prevent them in the first place.
Featured Image Credit: Zdan Ivan, Shutterstock