How to Catify Your Home

LAST UPDATED MON 27 APRIL 2020

This article is written by Pet Circle Veterinarian, Dr Carla Paszkowski, BVSc (Hons).

Is your home cat-friendly? No matter how small your living space, there are so many ways you can 'catify' your home to ensure the best use of space for your cat.

The notion of 'catifying' your home is really all about making your home comfortable and reducing stress for your feline resident. For cats, almost all behaviour issues are either caused by or exacerbated by stress. Problems often seen in stressed cats include urinary issues such as cystitis and urine spraying, aggression, excessive vocalising or hiding, destructive behaviours, over-grooming and hair loss, and reduced appetite.

These problems can be extremely frustrating for cat owners. The following tips will help to make living in an apartment with your kitty as stress-free as possible.

1. Go Vertical

In a small living space, it's impossible to expand your cat's territory horizontally. The only option is to go upwards.

This is great for cats, who are naturally inclined to climb and explore different levels. The more levels a cat has access to, the larger they feel their territory is.

You may wish to use a cat tree. These often provide multiple levels for your cats to explore, with the added benefit of providing surfaces and posts for them to scratch.

Window beds are also available now which act as shelving high up on a window. This allows your kitty a resting place high up with a view.

Best Cat Furniture

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2. Provide somewhere to hide

Cats naturally seek out hiding places when frightened or stressed. Even if your cat isn't prone to stress, it is always good to provide a number of nice hiding places for them.

Of course, most cats are happy to hide in an old cardboard box. However, there are a number of stylish and attractive hidey hole products that both you and your cat can be happy to have on display in your apartment. Tunnels provide a hidey place as well as a fun place to play, while igloo-style beds provide a warm area to sleep as well as the comfort of a shelter.

Best Hideaway Products

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3. Ensure a clean litter system

In a small indoor space like an apartment, used litter can stink up the whole home very quickly. Choosing a litter tray with an enclosed hood can make a big difference by keeping odours in.

It is also important to choose a litter that works for you and your cat. An odour-neutralising litter is good for a small apartment, and a clumping litter can help save on time and maintenance. Clumping litter absorbs waste and forms clumps, which means that all waste can be removed in its entirety, leaving behind only clean litter. This eliminates the need for regular full litter tray clean-outs.

For those who really don't like cleaning up their cat's waste, there is a self-cleaning robotic litter tray available now, which does the work for you.

If there are multiple cats in a household, you should always provide one litter tray per cat, plus one extra. For example, two cats will need three litter trays, and four cats will need five litter trays.

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4. Provide a Smorgasbord of Toys

Unlike dogs, cats don't need to be walked to stay stimulated and healthy. Instead, cats require regular play as a form of exercise and mental stimulation. Providing lots of toys in your home will help keep your kitty stimulated, fit, and happy.

If you work from home and need some time to yourself, it can be helpful to buy interactive toys such as an automated laser pointer or window teaser toys to keep your cat entertained when you aren't around.

Also, don't forget to provide plenty of scratchers so your kitty doesn't damage your furniture!

Best Interactive Cat Toys

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5. Keep Water Fresh

Just like us, cats prefer to drink fresh water and require clean water daily.

If cats don't like stagnant water in a bowl, they won't drink. This can lead to dehydration and can potentially worsen urinary or renal disease. It is therefore ideal to encourage cats to drink water regularly.

Cats are drawn to running water due to their instinct to find fresh, non-stagnant water. There are a number of Cat Water Fountains available which keep the water moving and cool. While these are great for all cats, they are particular important for cats with any history of urinary disease (such as crystals in the urine or a bladder infection), kidney disease, or diabetes.

Best Cat Water Fountains

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6. Help them 'Chill out, man.'

Cats really are delicate petals. They are very prone to stress and anxiety, and the smallest things can trigger their nerves - from a new cat in the neighborhood, to visitors, to a new piece of furniture. You can help de-stress your kitty with a Feliway Pheromone Diffuser, by providing catnip around the house, and even by growing some cat grass.

Read more about reducing anxiety in our article How To Decrease Stress in Cats.

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