Making your home cat friendly

Hello, one and all. Apologies for my absence I had some urgent business to attend to, the feather came off my ball and had to go the menders, luckily it’s all been fixed now so I can give you guys some more tips to making sure your casa is ready to become my casa.

Simple requirements for a cat friendly home:

A cat friendly home takes into account the needs of a cat as well as the needs of the people that live there and provides an environment that is both safe and stimulating and offers opportunity to rest quietly and observe the house from different levels.

Cats are territorial animals, the environment they live in is therefore extremely important and you need to make sure you get all the right equipment, particularly if you are keeping your cat indoors.

It is important to remember that for the most part your cat’s ability to choose based on its own likes and dislikes is compromised as you are the primary decision maker in their lives. Decisions such as where to place their food or the litter tray are taken based on human considerations and maybe less than perfect for your fuzzballing friend.

Most homes are not the ideal habitat for a domestic cat so here are some ways you can make sure you are creating the best possible living space for your pussy.

Ways to keep your home cat friendly:

Keep things messy, not too messy but cats need furniture, things to play with and hiding places. Cats require these things as their instincts as hunters are to run and hide. A minimalist home is therefore not ideal. Opportunities to both hide and rest or jump up to higher levels (windowsills, wardrobes) should be provided.

It is your job to make sure that your home is a safe environment for your cat. Many household appliances, plants and flowers can be harmful for your feline companion so it is important to keep these things out of reach. For example, lilies are extremely toxic to cats and best avoided. There is no need to follow your cat around the house to make sure they don’t get into trouble, this can lead to anxiety in your pet. Just do the basic checks and things should be fine. Kittens are the best at getting into trouble, so always check your washing machine and drier before turning on and block small gaps they may like to squeeze into and get stuck.

Environmental Enrichment:

The phrase ‘environmental enrichment’ is often used with regards to keeping a cat happy and stimulated indoors. An enriched environment will give a cat the possibility to create their own positive experience in an enclosed space, get enough exercise and stimulation for both mind and body. The general idea is to create a space for your cat that has many areas to play, eat, drink, go to the toilet and gives the cat many activities to do. This is particularly important if you have more than one cat – no kitty likes to share!

Here are a number of things you can do to make your house into a more enriched environment for your cat.
  • Provide vertical spaces: Cats are natural climbers and like to be high up in a space where they can survey their kingdom. Providing these spaces makes your cats happy and provides them with somewhere that is exclusively theirs. Purchasing a cat tree or a cat condo with multiple levels and hiding spots, or using clever wide shelves covered in carpet for grip will keep you cat entertained, stimulated and will provide a space to get away from it all. Cats also require a lot of stimulation so keeping the blinds open so they can have a look outside will also keep them happy. These perches/beds can be moved regularly to encourage your cat to explore all of its environment.
  • Make feeding more natural: This can be done by using puzzle feeders or placing the food in different locations so your cats hunting instincts are stimulated. Kibble and tinned food can be fed via puzzle feeders, and you can hide kibble in boxes and different areas of the home so your cat has to explore to find it!
  • Play with your cat: Hanging out and playing with your cat is probably the most effective way to enrich your cat’s living environment. Toys are also very important, but beware, cats do get bored of toys quite quickly so rotate the ones you have to keep them interested.
  • Minimise Stress: Keep your eyes out for any signs that your cat is stressed. Signs of stress will include urinating outside of the litter box, changes in normal behaviour, hiding and sleeping in unusual places, crouching and looking tense rather than curling up or stretching out, not eating properly and flattened ears. Pain and illness can also look similar so a discussion with your veterinary team is recommended. It is important to notice if your cat is stressed so you can take care to remove stressors from their environment.

For some more great info, head to: icatcare.org/advice/making-your-home-cat-friendly/