By Sandy Robins
Statistics show that cats that enjoy an indoors-only lifestyle live longer because they’re aren’t exposed to such outside dangers as traffic, animal abusers, predators and disease.
However it’s important to compensate for keeping them inside by enriching their lives with much needed mental and physical stimulation. A few simple decorating ideas can easily transform your home into a comfortable cat-friendly haven.
Cats love high places so make use of all the vertical space in your home. A nice tall kitty condo will give your cat her privacy and space. The latest cat trees are lofty, fabulously ornate structures. Some have features such as hidey-holes in the “trunk” of the tree with various snooze zones at various heights shaded by branches with silk leaves.pettreehouses.com. Where possible, position a cat tree or kitty condo near a window so that your cat can enjoy the stimulation of the passing parade.
You can further enhance your home with special feline wall shelves, ramps and walkways to help her enjoy vertical and overhead space. Learn from feline “interior designers” Bob Walker and Frances Mooney of San Diego, California who have built an aerial fun zone at ceiling height throughout their home with holes through the walls linking up these passages of fun thecatshouse.com. Other useful accessories are hammocks to hang in windows and special kit-in boxes for cats that love to hang out on your desk refinedfeline.com.
If you have the space, consider building a safe outdoor enclosure for your feline to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. Where possible, make it directly accessible from inside via a special cat door that can be built into either a door or a window. Make the area feline- friendly with a weatherproof climbing structure, and a comfy garden chair or waterproof pet bed. Many cats love to nibble on lawn and certain non-toxic plants. So consider planting a patch of lawn and a planter filled catmint, alyssium and other non-toxic grasses. www.cfainc.org
Cats are very private creatures so be sure to place their litter box in a quiet place away from high foot traffic areas. They don’t like an audience when they are doing their business! There are lots of items of furniture that enclose the litter box altogether. www.amazon.com You can also buy special litter box screens.
However, if you have a multi cat household, be careful before secluding the box too much as one cat may use this decorative idea to ambush and trap a housemate! It’s important to remember to scoop daily and to have more than one box if you have more than one cat. The bigger the litter box or boxes, the better.
Similarly, place food bowls in a quiet and very accessible place. Elderly cats as well as feline amputees will appreciate raised food bowls so that they don’t have to get down to floor level to eat. There are numerous fabulous designs for cats that will also look stylish in your home.
Consider a pet fountain for your kitchen area and place other water bowls in different rooms of the house. Remember to regularly wash them out and refresh the water. Because many cats are allergic to plastic, consider glass, stainless steel or ceramic receptacles. You can also purchase a stainless steel or ceramic drinking fountain Pioneerpet.com. esmartcat.com
Be cognizant of where you place cat beds in your home. Make sure they are not in line with draughty doorways and windows. Even if you have one cat, consider several beds in different places. Of course cats love to snooze on your favorite chair and on the bed. Elderly kitties that can no longer jump will really appreciate pet steps allowing them to access this favorite sleeping places. Consider lightweight plastic steps (www.petmate.com) or a set made from recycled corrugated cardboard (www.walmart.com) so that you are able to carry them around the house on kitty’s request.
If you view your home from a feline perspective and decorative it accordingly, it’s easy to enhance your cat’s lifestyle.