As you probably know, my cats are my kids, and I know that a lot of Moderncat readers feel the same way about their own feline companions. To celebrate this special bond, the folks over at Petside.com have organized a special Pet ‘Net Family Event, bringing together pet bloggers to highlight the many ways we include pets as members of the family. For my contribution, I’m going to share some of my favorite design tips for making kitty feel right at home, because it’s her house, too! Please feel free to leave comments with your own tips and make sure to visit Petside.com to read some of the other blogger entries about how pets are an important part of our families.
Cats climb. That’s just what they do, so I try to accommodate that need by giving them cat-friendly, designated climbing zones. There are all sorts of pre-made cat shelves available for sale, or you can create a simple DIY shelf with items from a home improvement store. Adding carpet tiles or felt pads helps to keep kitty from sliding off and it creates a nice soft napping spot. I try to place the cat shelves close to places where I usually sit, like next to the sofa and the dining room table. With the proper training, kitty will choose to sit on her shelf and keep away from the bookshelves.
Adding a glass top or a sisal mat with a non-skid backing to already existing surfaces makes them safe and welcoming to kitty. I also keep surfaces clear of too much bric-a-brac to avoid unnecessary accidents. I think that cats are the most beautiful decorations you can have on any shelf!
A Place to Call Their Own
Kitty will appreciate a special bed that she can call her own. If you want to keep the cat hair off the sofa, then provide lots of napping spots that are attractive to cats, like cardboard loungers, soft cave-like beds, and cat trees.
Accommodating Natural Instincts
Other natural instincts for cats are scratching and playing, so it’s important to provide them with the appropriate items to accommodate these needs. Provide lots of different scratching surfaces and take the time to train kitty by rewarding her when she uses the scratching post. Keep in mind that some cats prefer different kinds of scratching surfaces. Some like to scratch vertically while others prefer horizontal surfaces. Also, different materials will appeal to some cats. Try cardboard, carpet, sisal, and other natural materials, like wood and cork.
I keep the cat toys in big bowls around the house so the cats can go over and pick out a toy to play (see Dee below doing just that). Sometimes it helps to rotate the toys — put some away and when you take them out later they will be like new. And remember, kitty really wants to spend time with you, so make sure to have plenty of interactive toys and spend some quality time every day playing with your furry family members.