Making your home cat approved

Cats and kittens alike have very finicky personalities.  We all know this, since we have and love cats.  But sometimes, you notice the odd behaviour which to you is not accepted but to your cat, the environment is simply not acceptable.  Here are ways to make your space more acceptable for your cat:

 The Great escape

If you have read my blog on “What personality does your cat have”, it is clear that each cat is different, but every cat has certain things that help them get and remain comfortable within their surroundings.  Remember, as much as your cat is little hunter, he is also prey if he had to live in the wild.  So there are ways that can influence his insecure behaviour, and ways to limit or eliminate completely this insecure behaviour.  In other words, create a space where your cat has many options to escape.  An example here would be, where their food bowls are situated, ensure that it is not in a corner, so that if they feel trapped in any way, they can escape easily from that situation.  Also make sure that you have plenty of opportunity for your tree dwellers to climb, be it furniture, cat scratching posts (Cat Trees) or even hammocks (I will post about DIY hammocks at some point; stay tuned). These all ensure that your cat feels secure, and has many options to get a way, from whatever it may be that makes them want to get a way.

Separate dining from litter boxes 

Your indoor cat only has one option for his toilet needs.  This being the litter box, that you, human, have set up for him.  The most important thing here is to ensure that his toilet and his food are never in the same room.  Think of it this way, would you have your meal whilst sitting on the toilet?  I don’t think so.  Neither will your cat.  Also ensure that you have enough litter boxes, one per cat, plus an additional one.  Right now, as I sit here, I am guilty of doing the total opposite.  I do plan to still purchase enough litter boxes for my three boys, but right now, they have to deal with two amongst the three of them. Cat behaviourist would be growling at me if they read this!  Don’t worry, it’s not a permanent set up, but, take my advice, the more litter boxes you have, the better.  Also ensure that your litter boxes are separated.  Cats like to feel that they’re spreading their scent, instead of having it all in one space.  This is instinctual, because in the wild, when they defecate, they don’t want to advertise that they’ve been, are, or are close to that area.  So that is one reason why they bury their jobs, and also you will notice that when your cat has been to the toilet, he will run frantically, in a somewhat playful manner, through your house.  The reason for this is because in the wild they try their hardest to get away from the area they’ve just marked, and the stench as we all know, can be quite overwhelming.  They don’t want to hang around there for another predator to track them down!  So, in a nut shell, spread the litter boxes around the house, keep them clean, away from their food and have enough for the amount of cats residing with you. 

Running water

Cats prefer to drink from water that moves.  I cannot tell you why, but I know for sure this is best.  It also helps with relieving fur balls, as the fresh running water is not sitting in a bowl housing all sorts of bacteria.  My three cats just love their water fountain.  It was great buy!  I have had mine now for nine years.  I’ve never had to replace the mechanism, I only need to buy the filters, which come in packs of three, and I change it every three months or so.  They absolutely love it!  I can tell you for sure because I have witnessed that once when I was cleaning out the fountain I put a normal bowl down filled with water, and Sancho would literally move the bowl, then take a drink.  This made a big mess, but he was adamant to have his moving water, and not still water!

Scratch that!

Our cats love to scratch, in fact, it is the one thing all cats need to do!  It marks their territory, as they have scent glands in their paws, and behaviourally this creates one happy, confident kitty!  (Must Suggested Read: Declawing - what you need to know).  I know that some kitties scratch unwanted surfaces, namely couches, bed bases and something even the curtains.  If you have enough Cat Trees, scratching posts, scratching pads, this will deter your kitty from scratching your beloved furniture.  Many people say that cats just cannot be taught or trained. Well, my cats know that they are not allowed to scratch on any furniture.  We would move them from where they scratched unwantedly straight to a scratching post.  Now my two big boys know that this is the only place they can scratch.  Also, don’t replace old scratching posts.  If they look tattered, or seem to be coming undone in some places, let it be!  This is what your cat loves!  It smells like him, it looks like he’s owned it, and it’s his!  Don’t keep replacing them, this will just cause confusion and/or insecurity.  By all means, bring more in, the more the merrier all round! 

The big game

Cats love to play, they love to stalk, they love to be in their instincts as if they were in the wild!  You cannot take this away from a cat.  Yes, they’re domesticated, and we love them so much, but at the end of the day they are hunters, they need to hunt, they need to stalk they need to catch!  How do you do create this for a domestic, indoor cat?  Easy, right?  Yes, you can do this with toys.  I find the best toys are those that really don’t cost any money.  My boys, for example, love simple things.  Sancho love string, he chases, stalks and even plays fetch when a piece of string is around.  Please remember, when you give your cat any string, make sure that it is thick enough for them to spit out, or it has something at the end of it. Reason being, cat’s tongues have hooks on them, which face towards the back of their throat.  So when they get something stuck on their tongues, it is very difficult for them to spit it out.  It simply hooks onto the tongue, and they are forced to swallow.  With sting, this can get digested and wrap around their organs, creating massive problems, and visits to the dreaded vet. Travis enjoys anything that is a box! He will play for hours inside a box of any size.  Scotch, well, he’s still a kitten, so he’s favourite right now are my hands!!  This will stop, however.  The trick is to distract him at this point by shoving any toy in reach when he chooses to chew on my hands while playing.  He is still learning the difference between playing and hunting at this point.  But it is up to me to ensure he understands right from wrong during play time.  Point being, ensure that your cats have as many toys as possible, especially indoor cats.  Suggested Read: DIY projects to make yours and your cats life a whole lot … more!

 

So, it is up to us to ensure the utmost comfort of our feline friends, to ensure their personalities match their environment, and vice versa. They cannot verbally speak to us, but the more time you spend with your little kitty, the more you’ll get to understand what he likes, dislikes, enjoys and what just frustrates him.  Your home can be a serene environment for both cat and human residents.  We are the ones with the thumbs, so only we can do it!

With love,
Kat

 

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