4 Steps to Cat Proofing Your HomeJune 15, 2017
Make Your Home a Cat Paradise for Adopt-a-Cat Month
June is Adopt-a-Cat Month and there are simply too many adorable kittens and cats available for adoption in the Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio metro areas to pass up! Cats are pretty wonderful pets—intelligent, independent and friendly—but the common misconception that cats are “low maintenance” often leads new pet guardians to believe their home is cat-friendly as is. This is not true! Much of the “bad” cat behavior new guardians complain of—aggression, scratching furniture, marking territory and not using the litter box—is a sign that a cat is not comfortable in its home.
Physical conditions like over-grooming can also be a sign of environment-related stress. And while we would all love to custom-build a pet-friendly paradise for ourselves and our fur babies, there are some simple steps you can take to make your home as comfortable for your cat as it is for the rest of your family.
Just like humans, cats are particular about where and how they eat, drink and use the bathroom. And while it may be convenient for us to have our pets’ food and water in one place and their litter box tucked into a dark corner, it is actually pretty stressful for our cats. Food and water dishes should be large—cats do not like to get their whiskers wet—and separated. If you have more than one cat or another pet, they should have their own dishes and their own spaces to eat.
In general, multiple cats need amenities plus one; this means you should have one food and water bowl, and one litter box for each cat plus one extra. Litter boxes should be in a private spot away from busy traffic, entrances and exits. If possible, the boxes should be covered, but not placed in a confined or small space—cats feel vulnerable in the litter box.
Cats tend to be climbers—they love high up spaces where they can observe the activities below and rest safely on their perch. Maybe, for example, your cat is always jumping on top of your bookcase or cabinets and falling asleep. Great! The cat found its own spot, and you can make it cozier for them simply by adding a cat bed.
But if you do not have a lot of high spaces in your home or your cat cannot currently reach them, it is a good idea to invest in some cat shelves and/or a cat tree. Shelves are actually a pretty easy DIY project. Try to integrate the shelves into the natural flow of your home’s high spaces; with a little creative designing, your cat could have a whole world to explore above your head.
Even indoor cats love to interact with the outside world, so you might also consider investing in or building a catio. Your cat can lay in the sun and observe the happenings outdoors, and you do not have to worry about them running away or getting hurt.
One more thing: respect your cat’s privacy. When they are curled up in their bed, perched on their favorite shelf or lounging in the sun on their catio, leave them to their solitude. Many people think cats are standoffish or downright mean only because they try to force interaction on an unwilling cat. When they are ready for cuddles, they will come to you!
Just a word of wisdom: it is best to know your cat before investing in cat-friendly constructions, especially the high-rise kind. While many cats love moving vertical, some cats are the opposite and prefer being closer to ground. If that is the case, then apply the same principles to lower altitudes.
Scratch this, not that
Possibly the most epic battle you will ever have with your pets at home will be over the state of your furniture. Cats exercise their claws and mark territory by scratching, and if they do not have the option or incentive to scratch something of their own, your furniture will suffer.
Luckily, the answer is simple: scratching posts. In multiple cat homes, remember the golden rule: amenity per cat, plus one. Put the scratching post in a room that does not have any vulnerable furniture—say, the bedroom. Do a little spying to see if your cat is a horizontal or vertical scratcher: do they stretch their full length up into the air or across to scratch? Then buy a scratching post that suites their needs and allows them to stretch to their full size.
Afraid a scratching post will clash with your decor? Check out these stylish options on Etsy.
Share this post to help your friends and their fur babies live in harmony! If you are still looking for your perfect home, then start looking here.