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Making Wood Stoves Safe for Pets

 
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My husband and I are considering installing a wood stove in our house to make use of all the free wood we received when the Emerald Ash Borer moved to our town.  We already have our electric bills covered thanks to a 100% solar system, but we pay for gas heat in the winter, and we think a wood stove would greatly reduce that last utility bill.  We have a perfect spot for one in our living room, with an existing chimney.  My only real concern about doing this is for the safety of my cats.  They are very active and love to chase each other around the house, slide long distances on the wood floors, play fight, toss toys all over the place, etc.  I am concerned they could slide into the stove and burn themselves, or maybe throw a toy on top and create a fire hazard.  Has anyone else dealt with cat-proofing a wood stove?
 
master gardener
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I have had a wood stove since the mid 70s and cats longer than that.  I have never had a cat injured by a wood stove.
 
rocket scientist
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Yes we have bred Persion cats in our tiny wood heated home for over twenty years. At times with kittens we have had over twenty in a 500 sq ft house...
Cats are smart they love the kitty warmer but Do Not jump at or on it when it is running.
In our kitchen we have an old wood cook stove flat top,  Even that large jump-able surface is left alone when that stove is running... like I said Cats are smart even the teenage one's that are wild and crazy stay away from hot stoves.
I might suggest that you build a rocket mass heater, Batchbox design (closed door) with a brick bell .  Your kitty's could live on those warm bricks all day and not be burnt... just saying...
 
John F Dean
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Hi Thomas,

Excellent point. I have never had a RMH, but our cats know it when the fireplace get lit in the late fall.  They line up by the window and want in so they  can warm up in front of it.
 
pollinator
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I agree with the others that said the cats will stay away from the stove, but if you are still concerned, those little indoor fence things weigh almost nothing, are pretty cheap, and would be very easy to put around the wood stove.  Many of them have a little gate that opens so you don't have to move the fence to fill the stove.  If it gives you piece of mind, it may be worth the small cost.  If you search "indoor pet playpen", you'll find lots of examples.
 
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cats are smarter than you might give them credit for. I had my cats inside last winter with wood stove going constantly, they might like to keep warm but instinctively don't go anywhere near the stove, they do however like to sharpen claws on firewood.
in my opinion you won't have any problem. wish I had more ash to burn, super easy to split and puts out great heat whatever dead ash is left in my woods is way to rotten to try and burn.
 
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I've heated with wood for four winters so far. My four cats love the wood stove and have never gotten hurt. During the cold season they claim their spots near it or underneath it (it's up on legs) but never get too close. They run away from the intense heat when I open the door to load more wood, then come back when they're sure I'm done. They learn quickly.

However, we did have a blind senile dog who was always running into things and bumped into the stove a couple times. So we made sure to place sturdy barriers around it for his safety when we weren't around to supervise. Hog panel surrounding the stove works, as long as it's secured so it doesn't get knocked over. A sturdier, but more expensive option would be those safety fences designed to keep babies away from the fireplace. Just be sure it's made of metal.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Bruce,

The issue is not if cats are smarter than we give them credit for, it is if we're as smart as cats give us credit for
 
steward
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I suspect cats don't give us much credit for being smart.  Semi reliable minions, maybe.
 
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Seems Leo is the only stupid cat then. He jumped ontop and off with a squeal. I rushed and put his paws in cold water in the sink. Hopefully he will be ok. I am wondering if i put something like slatted wood with gap under to stop it getting too hot or maybe bricks?
Anyone made a safe top?
Thanks
 
Mike Haasl
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I wouldn't put wood on top of the stove in any arrangement.  There's a word for it but if wood gets hot for a long time it can burn even though it never got anywhere near burning temps.  

I think Leo probably learned a valuable lesson.  Next time you have the stove running, pick him up and hold him over the stove so he can feel the heat.  Odds are he'll put two and two together.
 
pollinator
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I have an oven that opens downwards and two kittens one of whom loves to lie under the oven while it is on (there's both a hot water pipe under the floor AND the warm oven to draw him in) I am very paranoid about him jumping on the hot door when it is open, so what i do is when they are around 3-4 months I heat it until it's to hot to touch comfortably but not hot enough to burn unless you keep yourself pressed onto it, they I let them try to jump on it. they don't do it again. Now as soon as the door opens they flee which is a perfect response.
 
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This is not true. I have literally watched a cat jump on a wood stove with my own eyes and he had to get treated for burns. Just because SOME cats won’t, doesn’t mean they all won’t.
 
pollinator
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Pets and children learn fast. Our dog loves to go into the gap behind the woodstove, It's barely wide enough for him. He cooks himself for a few minutes then comes back out once he has warmed up. He has never burned himself.
 
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I have cats and have never had a problem with them until this new group of siblings.  They are 2 years old now and although they stay away from the heat of the wood stove, they run and chase a fly if they see it and or each other and I have caught them when the stove is cold during the summer jumping on top of the stove, I have been looking for something they will not find enticing and jump over it to get a better look.  They are so inquisitive and full of energy its scary.  I have had cats all my life and this is the first ones to cause problems with jumping on the table, the kitchen stove, or counter and the wood stove.  They have two cat  trees and plenty of toys and go out in a open enclosed patio for plenty of sunshine and fresh air.. but that will be closed to them soon.

Right now I am only building a fire when they go to bed at 11 PM,  but its getting cold during the day.

Any suggestions?

Thank you.
 
Mike Haasl
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I think they will learn very quickly that the stove is hot so I would trust their abilities and just run the stove and see what happens.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Charlotte,

Welcome to Permies.
 
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I have read this thread several times.

Now that we have a curious kitten I can understand everyone's concerns.

I would fill the top with things like tea kettles, deep pans of water with lids, etc to see if this would work.

I had to break the kitten from jumping on the table from some boxes of canned goods that I had stacked by the table.

A squirt bottle filled with water helps too.
 
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I am very concerned too, my cat is very curious and I know she will probably go on top.  A few months ago she walked on the hot cooking stove top, quickly ran off but still goes.    Nothing exist on the market as a wood stove top pet protector, I'm moving in a few months and will have a wood stove so I'll figure out something to build one on my own with heat resistant materials.
 
Anne Miller
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We got a kitten in May.  I trained her to not jump on the table.  She has never tried to jump on the counters or stoves.

Cats seem to know their boundaries when taught.

I used a spray water bottle a few times and she got the hint.

I know of no other way to train them not to jump on a wood stove.

Can you build a cage or something around the wood stove so the cat can't jump the distance?
 
gardener
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I know this is an older thread but it caught my attention. We have two cats (used to be three) and a pretty active Great Pyrenees dog. I had the same concerns when we first moved to this place and started heating with our woodstove. At first, I was watching all the animals very carefully and with concern. The puppy especially concerned me when we got her because she was very clumsy and random in her movements.

But we have had absolutely no problems in this regard. On cold evenings, the animals love to sit close to the fire and feel the warmth. They even like to watch the flames but they have a healthy respect for fire and have never tried to get too close. I wonder, too, if you could get an extra clasp or something to ensure that the front of the stove never opens unless you want it to. But I have lived with animals and the woodstove now for ten years and never had an issue.
 
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Cats aren't stupid they will feel the heat & stay away. My cats when kittens never went near it also the heat is intense & it's just too hot for them they would sooner rest further away...unlike my dog who lays in front roasting herself till she has to get up to rehydrate!!
If you're still worried when the stove is hot hold them in your hands near & open the door they will see & feel the danger.
X
 
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I built a fire first time this season and I have 3 8 week old kittens. I was watching them close but one of them jumped on the wood stove so fast I couldn't get to her fast enough. How do I stop the other 2 from doing the same thing and so they don't get hurt. She act like I did it to her cause I yelled first I feel bad. They climb over baby gates.
 
Mike Haasl
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Maybe don't yell the next time and they'll have a better chance of putting two and two together?  I think the worst they'll get is some light burns on their feet, nothing serious.  But I could be wrong...
 
pioneer
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My cats learned pretty quick, unfortunately from jumping on the darn stove. They won't do that twice, that is for sure.

I wonder if you can hold each cat securely in your hands, and bring them close to the warm stove body without letting them touch it. Try to get them to relate the stove to heat.
 
pollinator
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The stove in our previous house did not have a flat top so our cat only ever walked round the back of it rather than trying to jump up. It was very kind of him to do that as he removed all the dust and cobwebs I had difficulty reaching. We had a new flat topped woodstove fitted here in the summer and I have never seen the cat try and jump on it even though he's always jumping up onto other pieces of furniture. I think I will have to watch him carefully when we start using the stove seriously just in case he gets silly. We have a fire guard we can put in front of it when we are out of the room (there was an open fire there before) which will delay him if not prevent him getting on top of it.
 
Anne Miller
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I don't have a wood stove though I have a crdenza that I don't want the cat jumping yp on.

She likes to jump up there so she can look out the window.

My solution is some bottles of water place where she does not have a "Landing spot".

With a wood stove, the same principle could be used only with tea kettles or other kettles filled with water.

Don't provide a landing spot. Cats and kittens are smart to realize that there is not a landing spot or will learn pretty quick.
 
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