Cat Safety During Home Improvement Projects

We’ve finally started the long process of finishing our basement. A couple of poorly erected walls have been brought down, a number of interesting things have been found in said walls, materials have been purchased and our cats aren’t quite as happy as they were before we started.

Our tabby chilling out in their box.

However, they’re doing far better than they would otherwise, because we took a few measures to help them through the process.

Here’s what we’ve been doing.

Designate a “Safe” Room or Two
In our case, we moved one of the litter boxes upstairs and transfer it between our bedroom and my office, depending on where the kitties will be staying. We also move their water bowl accordingly.

We chose those two rooms because all three cats already enjoy being in them, and there are plenty of spots they curl up in. We’ve also been giving them small treats and feeding them in those rooms to further associate positive experiences.

If I happen to be helping out for an extended period of time, they stay in the bedroom, since there’s nothing in there that can hurt or be hurt by them.

If I’m working, they stay in the office with me. I don’t let them in this room when I’m not present anyway, because there are a few things we’d rather they not get into. Despite the fact I think I have everything stowed away, these kitties have an uncanny way of getting into places we wouldn’t think they could.

The idea behind safe rooms is to give them a refuge from the worst of the loud noises and keep them safe from accidents in the work area.

Spend Time With Them
This is a stressful time for everyone in the house, kitties included. Their humans’ presences can help calm them down. That’s why they stay with me on the days I’m not helping the hubby. When we’re not working on the basement, we both stay available for the cats to curl up and play with.

Keep in mind that just as stress can make humans sick, it can do the same to animals. By paying a little extra attention to them, you may be able to spot the symptoms of sickness or changes in behavior that need to be addressed.

Provide Places to Hide
When an animal is afraid, they naturally want to find a place where they feel secure. This is why a safe room is designated, but I decided to take it a step further and make a simple cat-fort to provide another hiding spot.

All I did was take a cardboard box we had sitting around, set it on its side, put a towel down for cushioning and draped a small blanket over the top.

So far, the cats seem to like it.

Maybe not the prettiest thing, but still effective.
Extremely simple design. An old towel for padding, and a blanket for shelter.

Clean Up Afterwards
We make sure to clean up the renovation zone as much as possible when we finish for the day. Cats will bat anything around that’s small enough, so we put away everything that might hurt them, like nails or paint, and stow any bladed items.

Stick To Routine
It’s tempting to stray from regular feeding or play times when you’re already dealing with renovation, but the best way to minimize stress on kitties is to keep up with routine as much as possible. This includes maintaining your daily rituals and sticking with your sleep schedule, too.

Let Contractors Know The Rules About Cats
Since the only time we’re going to use contractors is when we replace the furnace, or do something else we can’t do ourselves, this hasn’t really applied to us yet. However, if you do have contractors working with you, make sure they know about the cats and any rules you have regarding their safety.

At the very least, proclaim the safe room off limits, or clearly communicate that you need to know before the contractors need to get into that room, so you can move the cats to a different area of the house. When shopping for a contractor, it would be a good idea to get as much information as you can about their policies on animals.

Depending on the nature of your renovations, and if you can afford it, it may be a good idea to board the kitties or sent them to a trusted cat sitter for the term of the renovations. There will be extra expense and research involved in finding a good boarder, but it would be worth it to avoid harming your cats by accident.

We decided not to, since we do have a good set up to keep them safe and relatively happy, but it’s still an option to consider.

It’ll be a relief when we eventually finish all of the projects, but these safety measures will help us prevent the stress of caring for an injured or sick animal. If you have any tips to add, feel free to leave them in a comment!

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