What to do with my Cats during Painting and renovations
are curious creatures and will appear eventually. They all have different personalities of course and introduce themselves differently. Once there was a cat that wouldn’t stop playing with my bag zipper and wouldn’t let me close it. In another house there were three extra curious cats that kept taking turns coming to meet me, but separately throughout the estimate. I make it a point to discuss the pet situation with the customer, then I can make notes for the crew. Sometimes these notes accompany the work order & colour schedule in the job folder”
Being a creature of habit, cats are easily disturbed. They are very much aware of everything within their territory and can become quite stressed when they sense something new going on. You might have noticed that anything new you bring into your home, whether it be a sofa, or an ornamental piece, it will likely be inspected by your cat. Even a new arrangement of furniture within a room can be disturbing to them. Think about all the activity that takes place when you would be painting your home. Your cat will see new faces, hear all sorts of unfamiliar sounds and scents, new voices, which, to a cat, can be quite alarming, depending on the tone. Ladders and paints coming into their territory and furniture being moved around….it’s chaos for a cat, how is your cat going to react?Knowing your cat and how he/she would react in a stressful situation would definitely help you to decide if your cat would be alright to stay at home during a renovation project, or if it would be better to have a friend take care of him/her or maybe a kennel or cat motel. You also have to keep in mind that cats don’t take too well to moving about from place to place and prefer to stay in their own environment, where they are comfortable.Your cat can become stressed in so many situations, moving, new people in your home, family gatherings, neighbourhood construction, babies, other cats that can be seen outside, sudden noises and so on. You might find your cat behaves differently when faced with a stressful situation so you want to do your best to minimize the impact as best you can.
When taking on a painting project, your cat, as well as yourself and your family, will benefit from using zero voc paint products. We suggest Aura eggshell from Benjamin Moore. Zero VOC paints are virtually odourless. (If you are using a low voc paint, which will most likely have low odour, a fan will help with ventilation and will circulate the air to eliminate some of the disturbing fumes. Keeping your cat away from the freshly painted area is a good idea, maybe even until the area has been put back in order. Although your cat will still be curious as to what is taking place, it will help to keep that cute little nose out of paint, which can look much like milk to a cat, and keep paws from getting paint on them and tracking paint through the house.
Plastic, loose cords, paints and other dangers
Cats also like to climb on ladders, it’s something new for them and they seem to jump onto ladders quite quickly. Loose hanging cords from blinds can be very dangerous for cats. It looks like string to them, and seeing how they love to play with string, they will surely make attempts to have some fun with any long cord that might be hanging down. We don’t want to think about what can happen there. For some strange reason cats just love plastic. Why do they love to chew on it so much? In construction, one of the uses of plastic is to protect furniture. Your cat can choke on plastic and should be kept away from these areas. Painters tools should be kept in closed containers at the end of each day, so cats have no access to sharp tools and wood stir sticks that they might want to chew on. Should your cat get into any paint, it is best cleaned with a mild soap and water. Any ingestion of paint, contact your vet immediately. Bottom line really, cats need to be kept out of areas of construction, for their own safety.
Indoor or outdoor cat?
One of the primary concerns when taking on any construction project in your home is making sure that when workers enter your home that doors are closed behind them. You could put a sign on the front door, on both sides, not to let the cat out, if you have an indoor cat. Keep in mind that workers are focusing on their job and there may be many trips in and out, to vehicles and paint stores, so you might want to let the project manager know your concern, so he/she can make sure your cat remains inside.
Stories from the field
- Years ago I was painting at a house North of Uxbridge. The homeowners introduced me to Kramer, a large but seemingly friendly cat. Well the customer left for work and I was working in the basement. When I was coming upstairs the cat was standing at the top of the stairs and wouldn’t let me past. He was quite adamant about it and actually quite scary. After trying to reason with him for what felt like an eternity, I forced myself upstairs by hiding behind a ladder that was draped with a drop-cloth.
- The days of oil paint when paint would take forever to dry have quite a few stories and unfortunately they all have to do with wet paint stories. I remember one that kept jumping on the wet window ledge then run allover the house with paint on her paws.
Create a Safe room for the cat
Have a safe room for your cat somewhere where it might be quiet, and as far away from the work areas as possible. You can set up their food, water, litter box, favourite toys, scratch posts, etc. in this room. Preparing this ahead of your construction start date, maybe a couple of days prior, will allow your cat to obtain a comfort level with this new space, and locking your cat inside for short periods of time in the beginning also helps them gradually get used to it. Cats getting used to even the slightest change in their environment can be quite challenging, so starting this process a week or two ahead of construction won’t do any harm. If there is a TV in this room, that also helps, it will drown out some of the noise outside of the room, that you cat might otherwise hear. A radio with some music is good as well. Put a sign on the door of this room to make sure workers don’t enter. If you are at home during the day, go into the room yourself and spend some time with your cat, like you usually do. Try to keep your daily routine the same, if possible, like feeding times, etc. Keeping your cat’s routine in check will help to minimize any stress he may feel. Should you choose to let your cat out of the safe room at night, make sure and check that all areas of construction are cat proofed your cat goes roaming around, as he/she will, it is the nature of the cat, to be curious about everything.