We often hear about people puppy-proofing their home before they bring a new dog into the house, but what many people don't realise is that they need to take similar precautions when they acquire a pet cat.
However, all you have to do is look around you to see that the home has a number of hazards that could put your feline friend in danger. What's more, especially when they are young, cats are naturally inquisitive animals and can get themselves into all sorts of scrapes if you don't keep your eye out for hazards.
Therefore, before you bring your new cat home it makes good sense to take a tour of your house to make sure that it is safe for your four-legged friend to explore.
A number of common household products are toxic to felines, so it is a good idea to be aware of what these are and then keep them well out of reach of your moggie and well away from where you store the cat food.
Particularly poisonous items include cleaning products, human medicines, beauty goods, anti-freeze and batteries. It is simply a case of making sure all these bits and pieces are stowed away and not left lying around, and if necessary creating a secure cupboard to store them.
In addition, TV vet and columnist for the Daily Telegraph Pete Wedderburn points out that several plants are highly poisonous to cats, with lilies being one of the worst offenders.
"In particular, lilies are highly toxic to cats," he says. "If they get lily pollen on their fur, then they groom themselves, they can lick off lily pollen, swallowing the poison, and they can go on to die from kidney failure. Many other plants may cause gastric upsets (eg poinsettia) but generally, nothing too serious."
If you're bringing home a kitten or a very young cat, you may need to take a few extra precautions, as these felines tend to be mischievous and explore their surroundings by chewing, pouncing, playing and tasting.
Therefore, it's a good idea to minimise risks by moving breakable objects out of your kitten's reach and covering up all wires that they may be tempted to tug, play with or chew on.
Before your cat has had their vaccinations, it is important that they are kept inside (this will also help them acclimatise to their new home) so it's a good idea to ensure that all doors and windows are kept closed in the early days at least.
In addition, toilet lids need to be kept down, rubbish bins covered, blind cables wound up and child locks fitted on cupboards, as these are all sources of danger for a curious kitten.
Finally, make sure all food scraps are cleared up promptly and that your kitten is never allowed to steal bits and pieces from the table. These morsels may prove irresistible to a young cat, but certain foods are poisonous to felines and the last thing you want is a trip to the vet because your pet becomes unwell.
Written by: Hannah