Is Your Home Cat-Approved?
Depending on where you live, letting your cat outdoors to hunt, play and do her business might not be practical or safe. As a complete indoor pet, your cat will look to you to provide a suitable environment that allows her to act on her instincts. While she may demand five-star service from you, the instincts she inherited from her wild ancestors are still a part of her.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you ensure that the home you share with your feline is cat approved.
Cat Real Estate
To me, cat real estate refers to all of the spaces that my cats can claim as their own. These include: the cat bed under my desk, the cushion strategically placed on the bottom shelf of a bookcase, the cat condos and scratching posts, the window ledge offering a view to the local birds’ hangout, and the occasional cardboard box “forgotten” in a corner.
These spaces offer my cats the opportunity to fill a need that is inherent to them. They can explore a new space, hide from visitors or each other, mark their territory by scratching approved surfaces, or just observe their surroundings from the safety of the tallest cat tree I could get. My furniture is therefore safe from the cats. If, like me, you have more than one cat you will find that providing them with several choices will ensure that everyone has a spot. And, if everyone has a suitable spot, any aggression between cats will be reduced or eliminated.
Prey to hunt
Cats are experts on sleep, but when they are not sleeping, they want and need mental and physical stimulation. Having a variety of cat toys that mimic the types of prey that they might fight in the wild will help you keep Kitty entertained and challenged. Your cat’s reaction to the toys will clue you in as to what she prefers: ground prey such as plush mice, or air prey such as feathered toys that you toss up for her to jump and catch.
Remember that you are also part of the environment: Cats absolutely love interactive play. Spending time playing with your cat will provide her with the exercise that she needs and craves, and will also send an important message to your cat : I love you. One of my two cats demands interactive play regularly – loud meows followed by a sprint to the toy cupboard remind me when it’s interactive play time.
Cat TV or a window with a view
When they are not hiding, hunting, or eating, cats love to observe. Your house (or apartment) windows offer your cat a fascinating motion picture. Your cat will be drawn to this view no matter what you do. Make sure that the window she chooses is one you approve of by placing a cat shelf or condo near that window or cat bed if the ledge is wide enough. If you can hang a bird feeder outside of the window – even better! Cats love to be comfortable and will appreciate your effort. Make one of your windows into a destination for your cat and you will be duly rewarded by him going to it.
Happy cats have something to do, somewhere to be, and something to look at. And, happy cats are generally well-behaved. By providing your cat with safe and acceptable places to sleep, mark territory, toys to hunt, and perches from which to observe her environment she’ll think her new place is pretty cool, and her human too.