Summer 2014

Hammer Time

Tips for ensuring your cat’s safety and sanity during a home-remodeling project

cat-hardhat-300WEven under the best of circumstances, the noise, dust and general chaos of home remodeling is enough to drive people a bit bonkers. So imagine how stressful construction can be for cats, which thrive on calmness and consistency.

“A home-remodeling project is one of the top 10 reasons why cats start urinating around the house,” says Nicholas Dodman, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s an anxiety issue.”

To keep cats safe and reduce the risk of unwanted behavior during renovations, Dodman offers this advice:

  • Place your cats in a familiar room as far away from the construction zone as possible.
  • Be sure they have food, water, litter boxes, bedding, toys and a radio to mask construction din.
  • Post a sign on the door in bold letters that reads: “Cats inside. Please do not open!”
  • Each day, after construction workers have left, check for possible escape routes, such as holes in the walls or open windows or doors.
  • Pick up small objects (nails, tacks and staples) that a curious cat can easily swallow.
  • Secure any poisonous materials, such as paint, paint thinner or used brushes.
  • Spend extra time petting or playing with your cats to ease your stress and theirs.

Adapted with permission from Catnip: The Newsletter for Caring Cat Owners, published by Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. For subscription information, visit or call 1.800.829.0926.

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