Making your house cat friendly

Your home and the items within it are perfect for your needs, but will need some changes to make it suitable for a feline inhabitant

Kitten peeking through a new toy house

Cats and humans share many of the same requirements of housing; safe, warm surroundings, somewhere soft to sleep, somewhere clean to eat, somewhere else clean to go to the loo, and somewhere for entertainment. Our habits and the way we do these things are rather different though, so you will need to make sure your house is as cat friendly as possible.

Safe areas for your cat

Cats like to have areas they can hide in, even if they rarely use them. The best places are warm, small, and with just one opening such as cupboards that can be accessed from behind. Your cat may find its own place, but if there is nowhere suitable you can purchase a 'cat cave' or 'cat tent'.

Sleeping areas for your cat

Cats will usually find their own favourite spots and may not want to use the expensive bed you bought for them! If there is a quiet room with a spare bed in it, this often becomes a favourite spot. If there are no obvious places, put a bed in a quiet corner of a room. Sometimes a cat will prefer the living room and will happily sleep in a safe corner with the added protection of its owners nearby, other cats will prefer to sleep away from its owners.

Cat "lookouts"

Cats naturally like high spots as it allows them a better view of what's going on, as well as being out of the way from attack. Chairs, cabinets and window ledges are ideal, and you can also purchase cat 'trees', which are effectively raised platforms for climbing and jumping on.

Cat Toys

Whilst playing with your cat is good fun, it is also important exercise, and your cat should have some means to exercise itself. Providing toys, especially ones which present some sort of puzzle or treat reward are perfect for this. If your cat does not seem to play with any toys try hiding a few treats around the house to encourage hunting activity.

Scratching areas

Scratching posts or scratching mats are picked up fairly quickly by most cats and are used to keep their claws in check as well as for stretching. Cats need to scratch and if they do not have something like a scratching post, they will start using chairs, curtains, and carpets. Cats like to have a stretch after sleeping so placing a scratching post near a sleeping area will help to encourage its use.
Cat eating potentially toxic roses
If these flowers were lilies, this cat could soon be in big trouble

Poisonous substances

Cats are very inquisitive and will be on the lookout for any new places to explore - a new cupboard door left open is perfect for investigation. As you would with children in the house, any chemicals or medicines should be out of reach. As cats clean themselves with their tongues, anything they get on their fur may be ingested. Be careful with your choice of houseplants as well, plants such as lilies are toxic to cats and although they cat may not eat them, a simple brush passed followed by a clean might be enough to ingest a toxic dose of pollen.

Feeding area

A feeding area can be anywhere as long as it is away from the litter tray. Most owners find the most natural place is in a corner or the kitchen where spilages can be easily cleaned up and the food source is nearby.

Toilet area / litter trays

Cats are quite clean animals and sleeping or eating in the same place as you urinate or defecate is of course not acceptable. Whilst de-odourisers can be used, cat litter trays will always be a source of smell so they are best kept in a quiet corner out of the way. Cats will not appreciate being watched whilst doing their business so a private location such as a utility room or under the staircase is best.

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