Cats are an important part of our families. Creating a cat friendly home for some of your smallest family members is a great way to make sure they feel important and welcome whether they are new adoptees or older cats with a new house. Here are our top tips for making sure you have a happy cat.
Create Comfy Spaces
It is not surprising that cats love to nap. Creating nice spaces for them to snooze is an important part of your cat’s environment whether they are an older cat who sleeps eighteen hours a day or are a kitten just looking for a cat nap. My cats love to relax in the sun so I make sure their cat beds are in a sunny spot. I also put a blanket on their favorite chairs for extra coziness, and to protect the chair and save me some work getting the fur off!
If you have a lap cat make sure you are alloting time to sit and snuggle with your furry friends. Some cats (my Eclair) demand full attention and others just want to sit on your head (her sister Baklava). Either way be sure you are giving them some TLC, when they want it.
Preserve Hiding Places
Cats love to hide. At the risk of not seeing your cat for half the day do not get rid of their natural hiding spaces. My cats love to burrow behind clothes in the closet, nap under beds, and perch on the top of the bookcase. Bonus they can see the birds well for the bookcase!
Even if it means you have to de-fluff your favorite shirt leave the closet door open and do not disturb your cat when they have decided to hide. Maybe they are overstimulated or maybe they just need a nap, that is their time. If you do not have natural hiding spots consider a cat tree or covered cat bed. Sometimes even an older cat loves a new spots to hide and snuggle.
Early one morning I wandered into the family room and heard the familiar sound of one of our cats batting at their favorite ball toy. I was surprised when I looked over and saw that it was our fifteen year old lying on her side having a fun time. Even though she may not play as much as she used to, opting to sleep and lay in the sun, she still loved her play toys.
Make sure that you have a variety of toys available for your cats. These should include toys they can play with by themselves and toys that you can play with them.
Curb Overly Friendly Children
Even the friendliest cat (almost always) does not love being randomly picked up and a skittish cat may hide for a day after an encounter with your neighbor’s four year old. Set clear expectations for how any children, your own or other’s, should behave around the cats. The guidelines may depend on the cats but in general keeping children from chasing the cat, picking them up or any other unwanted advances is a good start to creating your cat friendly home. The people in the home are just as important to creating a home your cat loves as the things you provide!
I will admit I was not an immediate believer in the use of pheromones to calm your cat. But our cat-friendly certified vet uses them in their clinic so I decided to give them a try and they worked! Especially during stressful situations (too many people over at Thanksgiving or going to the vet) we feel that our pheromone diffuser helps keep our cats calm. We also spray our carrier during rare trips out of the house.
Consider a Friend
Some cats love to be alone and others just do not. When one member of our bonded pair passed away our living cat, Nemo, became obsessed with leaving the house. She was looking for a friend. So we got her two. We adopted a bonded pair and sure enough Nemo stopped trying to get outside and instead spent her time glaring at the new cats antics and occasionally giving them a snuggle. You have to know your cat, or a least make an educated guess, as to whether they would like another cat but if you spend a lot of time out of the house or have a very friendly cat then adopting another cat is certainly something to consider.
It is always important to create a warm and welcoming environment for your cat whether they are new arrivals or old friends. I hope these tips have helped give you ideas of how to create a cat friendly home environment!