By Julie Zeilinger
Huy Phan / Pexels
There’s plenty to do before adopting a cat, from buying the necessary supplies to prepping to introduce your cat to your home or any resident pets. But perhaps one of the most important is to cat-proof your house.
Cats require different things than other pets might to feel secure and get the mental and physical stimulation they need. For example, while dogs and cats both need daily exercise, dogs are often walked by their pet parents, whereas cats are more likely to have playtime indoors.
So when making your home more cat-friendly, you’ll need to invest in plenty of cat trees or shelves to cater to their climbing instincts, create hiding spots, and stock up on toys, scratch posts, and puzzles. To create a safe and comfortable environment for your cat, consider the suggestions below.
Natalia Tretiakova / Shutterstock
Provide plenty of vertical space
Cats love getting high above the ground — it makes them feel safe and allows them to observe their environment — so consider offering your cat a vertical space, such as a cat tree. Of course, you’ll want to create a cat-safe space, so if you allow your cat to perch on shelves or other high spaces in your home, make sure the structure is stable enough to hold your cat and not near anything that could cause them harm (such as electrical wires or other unsteady or breakable objects).
shchus / AdobeStock
Create hiding places for your cat
For your cat to feel safe, they may want to have a place they can retreat to, especially if they feel overwhelmed or are facing a challenging situation. To create hiding places for your cat, look for the quietest areas in your home and create a space that is ideally the right size for them and enclosed. You can also buy a cat tunnel or make an enclosure yourself (cats love cardboard boxes) — just make sure the space isn’t one your cat could get accidentally stuck in.
Chalabala / Adobe Stock
Offer multiple food and water bowls
Especially if you live in a house with multiple cats, it’s important to have multiple food and water bowls in your home — your cat should feel that they have safe, consistent access to these essential resources. Research also shows that cats drink more if their water is placed far from their food, so make sure food and water bowls are located in different rooms if possible.
Food and water bowls should be kept in the same (ideally quiet) locations, and if they must be moved, they should be moved gradually. The same goes for the litter box and beds — consistency and stability of their most important resources are crucial for cats’ wellbeing.
New Africa / Shutterstock
Keep your home clean and free of hazards
The saying “curiosity killed the cat” didn’t come out of thin air — cats are known for their curiosity, and it’s a pet parent’s job to make sure that curiosity doesn’t lead to danger. Cover electric cords, cables, and phone chargers so your cat isn’t tempted to chew them, and make sure any plants out in the open are cat-friendly. Be sure to keep cupboards, especially any containing cleaning supplies, secure, and make sure your windows are securely closed as well.
Cats are also very sensitive to smell, so while keeping your home clean is important, it’s best to avoid strong chemical smells (unscented cleaning solution is best).
Alicia Magnuson Photography / Stocksy
Play with your cat regularly
Enrichment is crucial to keeping your cat happy and healthy. Every cat is different, but most love to play — whether with you, with another cat, with toys, or a combination of all of the above. There are endless cat toys out there, and experts recommend using them to play with your cat for at least ten to fifteen minutes every day.
When playing with your cat, try not to be too aggressive — your cat should also feel like the hunter in your play. On that note, it’s important to give your cat the opportunity to catch whatever you’re playing with so they can fulfill their prey instincts.
How do I cat-proof my home to prevent accidents?
To cat-proof your house to prevent accidents, you’ll want to keep breakable objects out of reach and anchor unsteady furniture that could potentially fall if your cat climbs on it. You may also want to invest in a scratch post so your cat doesn’t scratch your furniture.
FAQ (People Also Ask):
What kind of furniture is cat-friendly?
Cat-friendly furniture is made out of material cats can’t easily scratch, such as microfiber. Unsteady furniture that could fall if a cat climbs on it should be anchored.
How can I provide mental stimulation for my cat?
What kind of bedding and sleeping spots do cats prefer?
Cats love soft, warm materials, such as blankets and pillows. They may prefer to sleep in a cat bed or on elevated surfaces.
Julie Zeilinger is a NYC-based writer and editor whose writing has been published in Marie Claire, Vox, HuffPost, Forbes, and other publications. She is also the author of two books: College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year (2014) and A Little F’d Up: Why Feminism Is Not a Dirty Word (2012). She is the mom to Baloo, a two-year-old Bichpoo and foster mom to dogs via Badass Animal Rescue.