Creating a cat friendly home1st April 2018
Anyone who has owned a cat — or more likely, been owned by one, will know the joy that cats can bring. If our cats are happy and relaxed, then they’ll give us affection and companionship in return. It makes sense therefore to make your home as appealing and comfortable as possible.
Give them time
Cats are inquisitive and love to play and explore. They can be solitary but most domestic cats love to socialise with the family. In the ideal world, try to make sure you spend at least 5 or 10 minutes a day playing and interacting with them.
One of the fun activities cats indulge in is chasing and pouncing around the home. This is the way they try to express their predatory behaviours. An ideal toy for this type of activity is a ‘cat-nip mouse’ or feathers on the end of a line that you can find in all pet shops.
Think inside the box
Cats also love to explore. They love nothing better than getting inside boxes and tubes to see what they can find. By placing cardboard boxes, carpet tubes and paper bags around the room you’ll give them hours of entertainment.
Scratching for pleasure
As part of their marking behaviour, cats like to scratch. It’s a way to stretch their muscles, maintain their nails and tell other cats that they live here. Scratching posts provide a satisfying surface for cats to exercise this urge, and for most homeowners this is a far better alternative than the curtains or furniture.
Provide a perch
Cats love to have a place to escape and feel safe. An elevated shelf or resting perch is ideal for this. They’ll be able to survey their territory with comfort as well as being able to sleep peacefully whilst feel safe and out of the way. Cats living in a busy household with children and other pets will particularly value these places. There should be at least as many safe places as there are cats, and in the ideal world, one more than the total number of cats. Consider older cats - they may have limited mobility, so boxes and shelves should be placed at a relatively low height or at levels that can be reached using a step or ramp.
Lots of litter
Cats tend to be particular when it comes to litter trays and cat litter. If you have more than one cat you may find their preferences are very different, but you’ll have to try and accommodate them all.
- Cleanliness is key - no cat or kitten likes to use a dirty litter tray. Make sure you always use fresh clean litter. When you clear up the dirty litter, wash and clean the tray to remove all unwanted smells.
- Size is important - a small litter tray may not be the best solution for small kittens. They often like to dig about in the litter first, as well as have the luxury of being able to turn around. Most litter trays are about the size of a small baking tray, though sometimes it’s more effective to use something larger.
- Count your trays - if you’ve got more than one cat, make sure there are sufficient clean litter trays available for everyone. It helps if you provide one more than there are cats in your house.
- Location is important - cats are very sensitive and can easily become upset if disturbed. Don’t locate the litter tray near the dog bed, by the front door or next to their food bowl. Provide a quiet location where they won’t feel threatened.
- Find the right litter - some cats prefer clumping litter, some prefer wood chip. It can vary, and the smell and texture will be very important to your cat. When you’re starting to try and litter train your kitten, try different cat litters and find the one that’s preferred. Avoid perfumed litters; they may smell good to you, but most cats don’t like flowery scents. We can always give you some advice and tips on where to buy the litter. Just call us at Bollington Veterinary Centre.
In a home environment it's ideal if a cat can have free access to safe places outside. Some owners prefer to use an outdoor enclosure whilst others may prefer to use a harness and lead to walk their pet.
Entry and exits - in multi-cat households, stress can be reduced if more than one cat flap is provided, as it will allow full access if another cat temporarily blocks one.