Catification is defined as creating an environment in one’s home that will appeal to the resident cats and meet their needs. Domestic cats need places where they can rest, climb, play, perch, and scratch. While most people don’t mind sharing their bed with their cat, they do object if Fluffy scratches the sofa.
A simple way to prevent such behavior problems is to buy or make a scratching post. Scratching is an instinctive behavior, and you can’t stop a cat from doing it. You can, however, provide Fluffy with an inexpensive alternative to your sofa. The idea behind catification is thus to keep both cats and their humans happy and comfortable.
The first step in catifying your home is to figure out what your cat likes. While all cats need a scratching post, not all of them like to climb and thus may not need a cat tree. Similarly, a cat may not need a bed of its own if it’s happy sleeping on your bed or sofa. Still, your cat may appreciate at least some of the following:
• Scratching post
• Modern cat trees
• Cat bed
• Perch for looking out the window
• Climbing shelves
• Exercise wheel
1. Scratching post or pad
This one is mandatory. A cat needs something to scratch to both satisfy its instincts and help it shed old claw sheaths. There is a large selection of scratching posts or pads around.
The main rules are to pick a material that the cat likes and to make sure that the scratching post is stable. No cat will use a scratching post that tips over or a scratching pad that slips and slides. Posts, for the record, are vertical, while pads lay flat on the floor.
2. Cat tree
Also known as a cat tower or kitty condo, a cat tree is a structure with a number of perches and hidey-holes built into it. Parts of it can double as a scratching post. Some cat trees will also have dangling balls or other toys attached to them.
Many cats enjoy climbing and many crave perches that will let them watch the world from on high. In fact, many cats feel safest if they can sit somewhere high up. A cat tree makes a better alternative to the bookshelf or kitchen cabinet.
3. Exercise wheel
Fans of Jackson Galaxy have probably seen these on TV. They look something like giant hamster wheels and are basically treadmills for cats. Exercise wheels are particularly helpful for young and very active cats. Most exercise wheels are four feet in diameter and have a 25-pound weight limit, so even a big Maine Coon can use one.
Unfortunately, exercise wheels usually do require some assembly. As for teaching the cat to use the wheel, that may be as simple as putting it in the wheel and having it chase a laser pointer or feather teaser.
4. Climbing shelves
This is an option for handymen. As the name suggests, climbing shelves are perches attached to the wall that are typically arranged in a way to allow a cat to traverse the room without ever touching the floor.
The perches are often at different heights, so the cat can climb up or jump down while navigating the shelves. Climbing shelves can also be combined with pieces of furniture that aren’t off-limits to the cat.
5. Perches with a view
Cats love surveying their domain from behind a window. If their favorite widow sill is wide enough to accommodate them, you’re all set. If not, consider a perch of some sort.
A cat tree near the window can do the job. There are also hammock-like perches that can be attached to the window. They come in a variety of sizes, and there are some that can support jumbo-sized cats like a Savannah or Maine Coon.
There are many ways to catify your home and thus keep your cat happy. Fortunately, they don’t all require a lot of money or work. Even a cardboard box or two can keep a cat happy.