Making your house friendly for your cat involves the creation of safe spaces for the cat, the elimination of things which could be dangerous, and the addition of objects to make the environment more rich and interesting. If you have an indoor-only cat, it is extremely important to keep the cat entertained and engaged, and to make sure that the avenues of escape are limited. Whether you're bringing home a new cat or trying to make a new home more pleasant for your pet, making a cat-friendly home is worth the effort.
- Make the house safe. Cats are very good at getting into trouble. Make sure that any potentially toxic house plants are well out of reach, or consider getting rid of them. If your cat is indoor-only, use screens on the windows and doors to create a barrier so that the cat cannot escape. Eliminate exposed electrical outlets and dangerous hiding spots, like holes next to the stove or behind the fridge. Also get in the habit of keeping washers, dryers, and other dangerous appliances closed, and always check to make sure that your cat is not inside before starting an appliance.
- Create a designated space for your cat. Cats are territorial, and they like to have a safe space to retreat to. The space doesn't have to be large, but your cat should "own" it. Climbing cat towers with nest boxes are a great way to create a space for your cat, and you can also designate a specific chair for the use of your cat or create a safe space in a corner with a cat bed.
- Make food, water, and a litterbox readily available. Fresh water should be available at all times, and cats often appreciate having several water bowls to choose from. Change the water every day, and if you free-feed, make sure to wash the food bowl at least once a week. Place the litterbox in an area of the house where the cat feels comfortable, providing a litterbox for each cat and maintaining the litterbox on a regular basis.
- Make your house fun. Cats are active, curious animals. Enrich their lives with cat toys, puzzles, and games. Establish a library of cat toys so that you can rotate toys out periodically to keep your cat more interested, and make time to play with your cat every day. When seeking out cat toys, avoid toys with small parts which could be swallowed, and do not get toys with trailing strings which could be torn off and eaten. Cats also like high places to rest and lounge, so make sure to create such spaces. Provide scratching posts for your cat to sharpen his or her claws, and remember to change the scratchers now and then so that the cat has fresh material to work on.
- Remember that cats will be cats. Fragile objects, important papers, knitting, and other objects of potential interest should be stored securely so that your cat does not interfere with them.
Cats appreciate a rich environment and affectionate attention. By taking the time to make your house safe and fun for your cat, you will encourage your cat to play, lounge, and eat in a healthy way and strengthen your bond with your cat.
s.e. smith is a connoisseur of literature, adventures, and fine food who loves sharing knowledge with others and putting her otherwise marginally useful liberal arts degree to good use.