How cat-friendly is your home?

What do cats need to be happy, safe and comfortable at home? Give your place a cat-friendly home makeover with our room-by-room tips for creating the pawfect pad.

If your cat could rate your home, would it bag five-star reviews? Or would she hanker after a few home improvements? (Fish pond in the lounge, anyone?). Whether you’ve recently welcomed a new kitten or cat, or you’d like to make things more comfortable for a long-standing pet, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to create a more feline-friendly environment.

Make your lounge cool for cats

If you haven’t already done the groundwork and pet-proofed your home, you may have learned the hard way that long curtains and lively cats don’t mix well. Many cats can’t resist shimmying their way to the top of your curtains, shredding as they go. Blinds (ideally the cordless kind) are a more cat-proof option, or keep long curtains looped back.

If your cat is a climber, consider providing alternative fun, such as a cat tree or climbing tower. Cats love a high vantage point where they can relax and survey their territory. Wall-mounted perches or hammocks are ideal if space is limited, or leave a high shelf free.

Cats would also excel at a game of Floor is Lava. Arrange furniture so yours can leap safely from one place to the next.

To deter sofa shredding, supply scratching posts or panels close to the scene of the crime. Not all cats take to these right away; impregnating them with catnip can make them more appealing.

If your cat spends a lot of time in the lounge, it’s a great place to provide toys and activities to keep her entertained, but varying these from time to time to stop feline boredom setting in.

How do you cat-proof a kitchen?

First the basics: block up gaps under cupboards or around appliances, so cats can’t squeeze in and get stuck. Keep cupboard and appliance doors closed, and always check for a napping feline before switching on a washing machine, tumble dryer or oven. Store chemical-laden cleaning products out of harm’s way, and wipe down surfaces with clean water after using them to remove any residue. Better yet, seek out pet-safe cleaning products or make your own.

Dispose of leftovers in a secure bin. Many human foods (such as onions, grapes and eggs) can be harmful to cats. If your clever-clogs cat learns to open doors and drawers, use child locks.

Dining areas for cats

The best place to feed your cat is generally a room with a tiled floor, in case of any spills. The same is true for where to keep litter trays. But note that cats are discerning diners, and would prefer you to keep their food and water bowls and litter trays as far apart as possible. Ideally, they’d dine and do their business in separate rooms (wouldn’t we all?) – but if that isn’t possible, try to keep at least 1-2m between each resource.

And remember, you don’t always have to serve food up in bowls. Puzzle feeders will stimulate their natural instincts – and it’s easy to make your own.

Cats in the bedroom

Your bedroom is often one of your cats’ favourite places to hang out: it’s quiet, it smells of you, and it’s full of tempting snoozing spots! Keep a warm, sunny windowsill clear, and they’ll watch the world go by for hours.

The top of a wardrobe, if accessible, can be another favourite spot. Put a soft blanket or cushion up there to provide another high-level hideout.

If you’re not keen on cats in the bedroom, keep the door closed and make sure your home includes other cosy sleeping places and hiding places. Nurseries should also be kept off-limits to cats.

Why do cats like bathrooms?

Bathrooms can be a surprisingly popular cat hangout. After all, they consider every part of your home to be their territory – so why not here? While cats may not enjoy taking a bath, they’re often intrigued by the sight and sound of splashing water. And bathroom tiles or ceramic sinks and baths provide a refreshingly cool surface for your cat to chill out on. Plus, chances are your cat loves following you to the toilet!

One top tip: keep the loo seat down when you’re not around. That way you remove all temptation for your cat to drink the water (dangerous if you’ve used bleach), lick a toxic rim block, or take an ill-advised dive.

The feline-friendly home office

As evidenced by many online videos, cats + office equipment = chaos! If you’re lucky enough to have your own home working space, it may be a good idea to keep it off-limits to pets.

If that’s not practical, make things as cat-friendly as possible with our tips for working from home with your cat. Remember to switch everything off when you’re done and close your laptop (unless you want that last document of the day re-edited by clumsy cat paws!).

How have you made your home more cat-friendly? And do your cats have any favourite hangouts? Let us know on Facebook (@PetplanUK) or tag your snaps on Instagram with #PethoodStories – we love hearing from you!

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