Design Tips to Make Kitty Feel at Home

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.

Cat-friendly Surfaces

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.

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17 Responses to “Design Tips to Make Kitty Feel at Home”

  1. 1
    Caroline

    I LOVE this post! Such great ideas. I especially love the tip about keeping the hair off the sofa by giving them their own bed. It will definitely cut down on it!

  2. 2
    bernie

    Can’t have too many strings, quilts, throws and donut-beds.

  3. 3
    DeKa

    Ooops! Nice, really, nice.

  4. 4
    Teresa Ann

    A place to call their own ?
    *giggles*
    The whole house is their own wether I like it or not .
    ^_^

  5. 5
    lillito

    did you make those 2 chocolate brown ‘swoopy’ shelves–they look quite nice. could you share either instructions, if you made them, or a source, if you did not make them.

    thanks!!

  6. 6
    jmuhj

    Wonderful ideas (many of which keep our home beautiful and inviting, too), still my absolute favorite wallpaper, and GLORIOUS cats, who are absolutely the most beautiful “accent” to any home!

  7. 7
    karen

    Just as I read, “Cats like to climb,” Peet jumped up on my desk and onto the window sill above. He is happily checking out the snow from indoors. (I’ll send you the pic!)

  8. 8
    brieanne

    i started giggling about the reward-for-scratching. ben sits there and goes back and forth all night, scratching then hanging there until i reward him with a treat, repeat until bedtime.

  9. 9
    anna

    I love this post too.
    I’m trying to accommodate my fluffy children in the interiors as much as I can. But so far there isn’t very much space in our apartment to start with, and there isn’t a huge budget either.

    A few things that have worked here for us (and the kitties):
    - As long as some furniture is old and ugly it can be ok for scratching. So far an ugly bed box and sofa have the scratch surface. If we replace the bed, I guess either the sofa will have to be of an ugly scratcable model, or it will need some scratchable things attached to it
    - Furniture covers! Small apartment and ugly, big sofa and black cats. Huge cotton sofa covers to the rescue. I’ve got one off white cover on the sofa, and a few lime green tinier covers for color on top of it. Looks much better and it’s definitely much easier to clean. And no worrying when the kitties want to lounge on the sofa.
    Furniture covers are awesome for the pet owners, and they are cheap too so you can change it by different moods
    - Every cat loves something different but so far all cats that have owned me have loved suitcases (and cardboard boxes) for some reason. I set two suitcases for kitty bed use, covered with soft additional blankets and a small sheep skin. That’s my boy’s favorite napping spot
    - One of my kitties has poor vision so we’ve had to blind cat proof the house. As little stuff lying around when possible (at least on the floor) and different surfaces should be clearly of different color (he can see a tiny bit of color)
    - One of their (and ours) favorite pieces of furniture is IKEA’s Expedit shelf. So half of the bookshelf is reserved for cat play

  10. 10
    Jenny

    this is very fun. somehow i missed the fact that you got another cat? i don’t know how that happened – who’s the new one? Ratso?

    Love this comment, “I think that cats are the most beautiful decorations you can have on any shelf!” – not only because i adore cats and would rather see them too but also because i hate clutter!

  11. 11
    SUSAN

    I HAVE LOTS OF PLACES FOR MY FOUR CATS TO CLIMB AND SNOOZE. I HAVE WINDOW
    CAT NAPPERS ON EVERY WINDOW. I ALSO HAVE TWO BIG CAT CONDOS. THAT IS
    PROBABLY ONE OF THE BEST INVESTMENTS. MORE THAN ONE CAT CAN NAP OR WATCH OUTSIDE AT THE SAME TIME. I ALSO PUT BIRD FEEDERS OUTSIDE IN TREES BY THE WINDOWS. THE BIRDS GET A TREAT, AND KITTIES GET ENTERTAINED.

  12. 12
    E

    My vowels have beds all over the house, but… I don’t sit in them, or sleep in them, so they are nowhere near as inviting as the chairs and bed. Now I just have beds ON the chairs and bed.

    I REALLY want to find your product review of those black waves that are attached to the wall. Any chance you can help me find them?

  13. 13
  14. 14
    ming

    good idea! I get stuff stuck to my buns sometimes, and mommy has to cut them out

  15. 15
    jacqueline munera

    great article as always!

  16. 16
    Louise

    This is a great idea. I will definately check out the site.

  17. 17
    Tickybox

    Under the section “Cat friendly surfaces” there is a half-circle window perch, sort of purple covered. What brand is that? I haven’t been able to find it anywhere on the site.


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