How to "Catify" your home!
A cat’s environment is very important to them, and the quantity, quality and placement of their resources can make a big difference to how much they enjoy being in their home, and how well they get on with other pets and humans in the household. Below are some tips and tricks on how to become a master of kitty feng shui, and make your cat even more comfortable and content in your home.
These are the things that are most important to your cat to fulfil their basic needs. These include water, food and litter trays. Contrary to popular belief and practice, most cats prefer to have their food and water bowls in separate locations, and studies have found cats increase their water intake when their water bowls are over 2.5 metres from their food bowls and litter trays. If you have more than one cat, you may find that your cats drink more if you give them 2 separate water bowls away from each other. Food bowls should be kept away from litter trays, and you should have the same number of food bowls as you have cats (e.g. 2 bowls for 2 cats, 3 bowls for 3 cats) as it is against a domestic cat’s nature to share food.
Litter trays should be in quiet and secluded locations (as cats can feel very vulnerable when relieving themselves) and, where possible, you should have one more litter tray than you have cats (e.g. 2 trays for 1 cat, 3 trays for 2 cats etc.) If possible there should be a litter tray on every floor in your home, and this is especially important for older cats or cats with mobility issues. Your cat may not use a litter tray and may prefer going outside to do their “business”, but even so it is generally a good idea to give your cat access to at least 1 tray. This will prevent them from “holding it in” if there is something outside that worries them or if the weather is very poor, as this can be harmful and stressful for your cat.
These are things that are less vital than food and water but provide your cat with a feeling of security and comfort in their home, such as hiding places, comfy beds and places to scratch. Hiding places provide your cat with a bolt-hole; a place of quiet and safety where they can retreat if they are stressed, worried or want to be left alone, and they are especially important in multi-pet households or in homes with small children. These can be anything from igloo beds to cardboard boxes to cat carriers with the door removed and should be placed in areas that your cat usually takes themselves away to when they want some peace and quiet.
Cats spend around 12-16 hours a day sleeping or napping, so comfy, cosy sleeping areas are vital. Cats often like to sleep on an elevated surface, so beds should be placed off the ground where possible. Some prefer flat beds, some beds with sides and some prefer entirely covered beds such as an igloo bed. If your cat likes to sleep on the bed or sofa, a warm, soft blanket in these areas can not only make your cat more comfortable but can protect your furnishings from cat hair.
Scratching is a vital process for your cat – not only does it help keep claws healthy, but as they have scent glands between their paw pads, it allows them to leave their smell on their scratching places, marking those areas as their territory and making them feel more at home. Scratching posts should be tall enough for a cat to reach up and stretch whilst scratching, and sturdy enough that they will not be wobbled by the cat scratching (over 2 feet tall minimum with a sturdy base). Ideally, each cat in the house should have their own scratching post, even if you have large ones, as they are territory markers and providing more will reduce competition between cats.
These are things that are not vital to your cat but will enrich your cat’s life, provide some fun, and will make a big difference in helping your cats get along if you have more than one. These include perches, climbing/jumping options and toys. Cats love to be high up as it makes them feel safe, so perches and options to move around the house off the floor are generally very well received. This can be as simple as moving a piece of furniture to allow them to be able to jump up on top of a bookcase or wardrobe, or as elaborate as wall mounted shelves or boxes. You can also use “cat trees”, cat activity centres or tall scratching posts to add to this, and this will provide perches and the options to climb and jump. (If you can also make it so their perches allow them to look out of a window, then this is an added bonus!)
Toys are very important, and most cats often enjoy at least some form of play even when they are a little long in the tooth! The key is to find what kind of toys your cats like, and make sure they are available to your cat. Catnip, Silvervine or Valerian filled toys are generally enjoyed by all cats (and the three different plants have different effects on your cat, from stimulating to soporific). Leaving these around the house encourages your cat to play even when you are not around, as do small and interactive toys. Wand or dangly toys are the best option when it comes to playing a game with your cat. Depending on whether your cat prefers hunting ground prey or air prey will affect what type of wand toy they prefer, with air prey hunters preferring feathered varieties and moving the toy around above the ground, whereas ground prey hunters will usually prefer any wand toys that move well when dragged along the ground. You can find our range of scratching posts and toys here.
Beco catnip wand toy
Now that you have read the basics on how to “catify” your home, give some of these ideas a try and become your own kitty feng shui master!