Here are some tips and tricks to give your cat it’s dream home!
1. Abundant resources (or for it to at least appear that way…) – Cats naturally want to always feel like they have free access to all resources in the home and want to know they will be safe while utilizing these resources. That means:
- 1 litter pan per cat + 1 extra – spread around the home. The ideal litter pans for cats are uncovered and very large. If you have a senior kitty – you should have low profile litter pans as this makes it easier for them to access them (senior = potentially arthritic = painful to make exaggerated movements).
- 1 dish per cat – if time-fed (which is ideal) the bowl should be left in its place. Cats should be fed in the same spot for every meal, and it should be separate from other cats in the home. If there are dogs in the home then the cats should be fed up high as dogs will often “get involved” with the cat’s food dishes which will cause undue stress.
- Multiple water sources spread around the home.
2. A cat’s dream home would include a continually running water fountain. Yes.. you read that right! Water fountains encourage water intake and, for some cats, are another form of mental stimulation as they enjoy playing in them or watching them.
3. Environmental enrichment galore! Cats require a lot of mental stimulation, especially indoor cats. Their worlds become quite small when stuck indoors; therefore they require more mental stimulation provided by the owner. Here are some ways to do this:
- Many cat trees, always placed in windows, preferably windows where birds hang-out outside.
- Fish tank(s) – these can be a great way to relieve stress for owners AND a great way to provide mental stimulation to your cat
- Regular play sessions (I’m talking once to three times DAILY). Cats instinctively seek out mental stimulation in the wild as demonstrated when they kill prey “for fun”. Regular play sessions allow them to expel energy, receive mental stimulation and de-stress.
- Many toys around your home; this can include catnip toys, mice, balls etc. I know most cats love elastics, milk rings, bottle caps and string, but these can be risks for what we call foreign bodies. Essentially when an item is ingested that cannot be digested and blocks the GI tract which can only be managed via costly surgery. The symptoms, if left untreated, are serious and most often grave. It’s better to not risk your kitty’s life or your pocketbook over a milk ring and some elastics!
4. A way to circumnavigate the main areas of your home from up high. A cat’s ideal environment has furniture or perches that allow them to move around a room without ever touching the floor. This is especially important in homes that have small children or dogs (to cats these are pretty much the same creature…).
5. A quiet and relaxing environment. They want to be able to sleep without being disturbed. If you have a busy household, think about providing your kitty with a room or space that is hidden and away from the hustle and bustle of your home and family.
6. Many different beds around the home. Ideally one in every room, some that are a bit higher and some lower.
7. Places to hide inside. You can get cat beds that have a bed on top and a bed inside that’s hidden. These are great as they provide both options. Cat trees with hiding spaces are a great option as well. Well placed cardboard boxes or a cupboard you don’t use that’s left cracked open for them.
8. Most of all – happy, healthy, attentive humans who love to cuddle!
Written by: Blair Lutes