Prepare Your Home for 7 Pet Personality Types

    Photo: Michael Condouris/flickrBringing home a sweet little kitty or pup, or a longing-for-love adult rescue animal, for the first time is certainly a thrill. However, in all the fun and excitement of buying chew toys, kibble, and a mini (or maxi!) mattress, don't forget that you'll need to prepare your home in order to make it welcoming and safe. Here are ways to protect 7 different pet personality types from potential dangers lurking in your house.

    7 Cat or Dog Personalities:

    1. Jaws

    Get rid of any plant that could be dangerous to your prospective pet -- now. And if the idea of your newfound friend chomping on even non-toxic greenery disturbs you, hang any houseplants high or keep them outside.

    Electronic wires and cables pose another chewable challenge to many kittens and puppies in the process of teething. Stow these out of range with the help of cord organizers (or use duct tape to fasten them to the wall if you absolutely must). BONUS TREAT: Neatening your cords will spruce up your home's appearance.

    1. The Shadow

    Cats are secretive creatures who love to curl up in a snuggly hiding place. This can be anything from the bottom of your bedroom closet (acceptable) to a kitchen cabinet (questionable) to the cozily still-warm clothes dryer (very, very dangerous). Train yourself to close the doors of all large appliances, such as dishwashers and front-loading washing machines, and double-check the interior before turning them on. Consider installing child-safety latches for cupboards.

    1. Escape Artist

    If you plan to put in a special pet door, have it lead not just to the great outdoors, but rather to a secure, long, enclosed run.

    Planning a lot of outside time for your animal? Make sure that your backyard is surrounded by fencing which is proof against jumpers or diggers. (Apparently, it's rare to find a dog that excels at both -- whew!) Chain link may not be the most beautiful option but it does offer the distinct advantage of being chew-proof.

    1. Gourmet

    Pets often have surprisingly unpredictable tastes when it comes to what they'll try to nosh on. Don't think that because a previous four-footed friend turned up his or her nose at a certain food, your new guy or gal won't want to sample it.

    Be sure to bone up on the latest lists of harmful items and keep all human food, as well as garbage, compost, and recycling, out of reach or in well-sealed containers.

    1. Explorer

    Curious cats and daring dogs may try to explore your home's plumbing facilities, often in search of an after-dinner drink. Eau de toilet is not the healthiest beverage, though, due to the presence of bacteria and poisonous cleaning agents. There is also a chance that Bootsy or Bangles might fall in. Equip all toilet seats with lid locks, which will proclaim "Keep out!" more effectively than your scolding can. And make a dish of clean drinking water available at all times.

    1. Twinkletoes

    You may love the look of freshly waxed natural hardwood flooring, but your intended pet might beg to differ. Slippery surfaces such as wood, laminate, linoleum, or ceramic tile floors can be frightening and even dangerous for dogs. If you'll be bringing home a skittish pup (especially a rescue dog with a traumatic background), consider covering up with rugs or another padding.

    One other thing … Rover may eventually be taught how to walk safely without sliding, but you yourself might never get used to the click, click, click of little claws dancing across the laminate. Nervous humans might want to have carpeted floors installed.

    1. Acrobat

    No doubt about it, cats love to climb. Make sure that they can perform their acrobatic feats without risk, though. Attach shelving firmly to the wall and remove breakable bric-a-brac. Mini-blinds, with their tempting cords and slats, can look like a feline jungle gym. Use cordless blinds (and raise them during the day) or, better yet, non-climbable curtains as your window treatments.

    Laura Firszt writes for

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