Tips: Making Your Home More Functional For Your Cat
There's many myths out there about indoor cats and our homes. Many people think cats need a huge living space, or maybe that all cat furniture is ugly. We're here to debunk these myths and also give you some tips on how to, firstly, understand your cats needs better and secondly, make your space more functional for your cat!
Let's think through a cat's mind for a moment. They have simple but very important needs that have to be met in order for them to be happy in an environment:
- Playing / Hunting
- Sleeping / Resting
- Litter Box Needs
These needs can be met within a very small space. Cats are really particular about their "territory", and usually spend most of their day in the same areas. If you're concerned about the size of your living space, don't! The key is to make the space more functional and comfortable for them.
These needs that I mentioned aren't optional. All cats need them! Some of them like scratching can seem like a nightmare to us sometimes, but it's important to always think creatively to accommodate them as well as keep our sanity (and our furniture). Let's chat about each of these more in depth:
It's instinctual. Cats must get some stimulation in order to keep their sanity. For indoor cats, play simulates hunting for prey. For a happy cat, try to include playtime at least a couple of times a day, ideally before their meals. There's a few basic toys every cat should have : A wand toy so you can play together, a toy they can wrestle with and last but not least, something that can satisfy their "seek and catch" drive when you're not around, like a squeaky mouse or a cat tower of tracks.
A wand toy helps establish good behaviors, as the area they play with is far enough away from your hand. Get creative with it, pretend the wand is a mouse, hide it, shake it, make it interesting! This is a great one!!
A "kicker" toy is a great way to help them satisfy their kill prey instinct, as they can perform their fun bunny kicks! Bam, dead kicker toy! This is a great option and NOPE they do not need to be animal shaped! This kind has always worked amazing for our cats. When they're catnip filled they work like magic!
A tower of tracks cat toy is super fun stimulation for them to play when you're sleeping or out of the house. This specific tower is awesome and we've rarely found a cat that didn't like it. You can get it here.
Cats usually enjoy eating in an area that they feel safe in. Imagine that they're at their most vulnerable when chowing down, so they like areas near a corner or against a wall, where they're not too exposed. Also avoid loud areas of the house, like where the laundry machines are! If you have more than one pet and they're being competitive, consider feeding one on top of a counter and the other on the floor, specially if you have a dog.
SLEEPING / RESTING:
You may be thinking..."I bought my cat a super cute and comfy bed/condo/etc but they will not use it!". Finding the purrfect bed is one thing, but then you also have to find the purrfect place for it! I always remember when I got my first cat, I bought him a really nice bed. I just put it on the floor and expected him to pounce at it and rest there every day! He ignored it, for a year. Until the day I put it on the entryway table so I could go get rid of it on my way out. When it's time for me to head out the door, I see my cat finally sleeping on it!! What had changed? Where the bed was located!!
Cats like places to rest where they can be away from everybody, but also they do really enjoy being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the house. Contradictory, right? Welcome to...CATS!
But first let's chat about a GOOD cat bed that has never failed us and also LOOKS GOOD in the house. Check this one out, it's fuzzy which cats love cause it reminds them of momma cat, it's round so they feel cozy and safe. Do make sure to measure your cat and get the right bed size! Where to put it? Your cat is probably already sleeping somewhere, maybe on top of your couch? You can put the cat bed in that area! If you're getting a new cat, try a few different places. Most cats will enjoy cat beds in the living room or bedroom because you're there most of the day. And they will want them near a window, or somewhere that isn't too exposed.
Is your cat always climbing up on the counter, the fridge and the book case? This awesome shelf may be a great solution for them. They love it because it's clear, which means they can judge your daily activities from above, but also the round shape contours their body and makes them feel safe. Did we mention you get to see their squished little paws from underneath? Ah! It's so cute! We have these at Cat Therapy and the cats LOVE them. It can take them a second to understand what's going on when you first install it, but after they understand what it is, they love it! Shelves are usually better when you put them in a main area of the house and near a window. Think of it as giving them a better vantage point for patrolling their dominion :) If you get matching shelves, make sure the first step is not too far from the floor.
A cat condo near a window is also a great idea and they make them really cool now, like this amazing one! A condo like this also provides them with a little hiding area they can use for when they're feeling antisocial :)
Oh man, the most controversial of all cat needs! The moment you accept that scratching isn't optional for cats, the closer you are to finding a solution to all your furniture vs cat problems. Also, nowadays they make pretty cool looking scratching posts! So read on a few VERY important things that will help you in your battle against loosing your favorite couch:
- Cats are very texture oriented when scratching, make sure you find what fabric your cat likes. Some like the cardboard scratchers, some like carpet and others love sisal rope (that's the most liked one usually).
- Not all cats scratch vertical, some like horizontal scratching. Notice if they're scratching the ground, like the carpet, or the sides of the couch. A great vertical scratcher is this one, it's never failed us. A great horizontal scratcher is this one. If you're not sure, get both and they'll really appreciate it!
- Finding the right spot to put a scratching post is VITAL in getting your cat to use it. Ideally, every main area should have one. Remember we said that cats use it not only for filing their nails, but also to mark their territory. They use it to blend in their scent into your house. Having a few scratching posts sounds overwhelming, but believe me, it's better to have that than a scratched couch! And this horizontal scratcher is barely noticeable in the house.
Paired with a great scratching post, spraying your big "no no's" in the house with a safe cat deterrent like this one is a great idea!
Not all cats enjoy the same litter. If you adopt a new kitty, please make sure to check which litter they had been using and do not switch brands until your cat is acclimated to your house. Placing the litter box needs to be a conscious decision, finding an area that is easy for them to access but also away from foot traffic or loud noises in the house. Most cats enjoy covered litter boxes, and a good option is this awesome cat box! It hides the litter box really well! You do need to get a litter pan to put inside, like this one.
Now that you've gotten all these amazing things for your cat to use, keep in mind that the scent plays a huge part in them wanting to use them. Any time you get something new, it's a good idea to use a catnip spray so they are naturally attracted to it! We have an amazing one here.
To see all our recommended products together in one page, go here!