For cats, their environment is everything. Anointed by their personal scent, their home is the safe space they can truly relax in. These small hunters – who operate alone without back-up – are hardwired to think about number one. That’s why they have an in-built need to feel in control of their environment and can find change rather stressful. Cats are happiest when surrounded by familiar things and routines that are predictable and consistent. So, while making a few tweaks to your home to turn it into an even cosier cat haven can be a good thing, slow and subtle is the best approach.
Subtly add some clutter
An open plan, clutter free house is not very appealing to your feline housemate. Cats like camouflage to they can roam their territory inconspicuously, darting from behind the sofa to under the side table, with plenty of places on the way to slinkily slip from view. So subtly dot a few more items about the place, such as a footstool, a large plant pot (with cat safe plants in), a magazine rack, a pile of cushions and a stack of books.
A place for everything and everything in its place
Do you have your cat’s food, water and litter tray all in one place? For felines, this is not a very satisfactory arrangement. Cats can be very fussy about where their resources are located and like them to be kept separately. Place their food, water, litter tray, scratching post and bed in different locations around the house, ensuring your cat can access them whenever they need to. If there is anything they’re not using, try moving things around to see if it’s the location that’s the problem. You’ll cat will let you know when they’re happy about where all their important stuff is positioned by using it.
High spots to survey the world
Cats are natural climbers and many enjoy being able to observe their surroundings from high places, seeking out shelves, cupboards or wardrobes as suitable platforms. To make access easier, you may need to place a piece of furniture nearby for them to use as a half-way point as they make the climb. Bookshelves can also provide sanctuary if a small area is cleared for your cat’s use – but remove anything in the vicinity that’s breakable first to avoid your cat enjoying some paw patting activity, knocking precious items off for fun.
Stuff to scratch
For your cat, scratching stuff is really, really important and it’s an activity that plays a large part in health and wellbeing. When a cat scratches they are stretching muscles and keeping their claws in optimum condition as well as leaving behind their personal scent (they have scent glands between their toes in the pads of their feet) which makes them feel safe. You should never stop your cat from scratching but encourage them to use a scratching post rather than the table leg. If they’re not using it, try moving it to a different location. Find more tips here >>
A selection of secret hideaways
Places to hide are highly valued by cats. You can create these by making space available under the bed, inside cupboards or behind the sofa. And always let sleeping cats lie – never disturb them when they’re in their private area.
Working from home?
Feline welfare charity International Cat Care has advice on how to ensure working from home when your cat isn’t used to you being around goes as smoothly as possible. Some cats will take it in their stride, getting on with what they usually do when you’re not at home. Others will view this as the perfect opportunity to use you in all kinds of entertaining ways. Need help? Find out more here >>
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Sources: icatcare.org, battersea.org.uk