5 ways to protect your cat and your home
Whether people domesticated cats or cats domesticated people is a debate best left to future generations. Cats are popular pets and it is easy to see why. Cats, like dogs, offer companionship, comfort, and amusement, but, unlike dogs, they don’t need constant attention and care.
While a dog may need to go out a couple of times a day, a cat can use a litter box. Dogs need exercise and rely on you to give it to them through walking and playing. Cats tend to amuse themselves and get the exercise they need indoors, without supervision.
Independence, not intransigence
That exercise can lead to damage and injury if your home is not set-up to cater to your cat’s actions. For example, if you get a cat that likes to climb, keeping porcelain knick-knacks on high shelves can quickly lead to porcelain shards all over the floor.
This is not the cat’s fault, of course. The intrinsic value of porcelain dolls goes right over their furry little heads. Owners who foolishly display said knick-knacks, in a setting that would tempt the most well behaved, are just asking for trouble.
Okay, maybe a little intransigence
Although never confirmed by science, yet supported by plenty of anecdotal evidence, cats enjoy playing with shiny, expensive and breakable objects as part of their hunter behavior. The nudge and shove small objects with their paws for practice on their prey, and never forget, cats are hunters.
Making sure your cat has plenty of interesting toys – that aren’t made of porcelain – will help channel this behavior into damage-less play, but cat owners should be aware that any small object in their home is considered fair game by their cat.
Other tips to make your home cat-friendly
Having plenty of interesting toys is good, other ideas include:
- Cat shelves and window perches. When cats aren’t knocking things over they will find other activities to keep them amused. Climbing and laying in the sun appear to be two of their favorites. Cat shelves give your pet a premade playground to climb and perch. Window perches give your cat its own place, free of breakables, where they can lay in the sun and watch the world outside of their windows.
- Scratching posts. Declawing cats can have negative results, but allowing your cat to keep its claws gives it an excuse to claw up furniture, bedding and anything it can get a hold of. Giving your cat its own scratching post will keep it happy and your furniture mostly intact.
- Window bird feeder. Cats are hunters and small birds are one of their favorite prey. Putting a bird feeder on your cat’s favorite window gives him his own version of the hunting channel.
- Cat caves. Just like the Bat-cave, but without the butler, the million dollars’ worth of computers and for your cat. No supervillains, either. Sorry.
- Training sprays. Training your cat doesn’t make the home friendlier to it, but it does make your cat friendlier to your home. Pheromone spray, such as Feliway diffusers, are training tools that will keep your cat from spraying or urinating where it has been sprayed. It is an effective way to protect valuable furniture and poor behavior in your cat.
Living with a pet is a series of compromises. Okay, not really. Compromising means that both parties give a little to change the outcome. Living with a cat is a series of surrenders followed by teaching your pet that its behavior has consequences.
Behavioral training, through the positive reinforcement of toys and treats, is the best way to learn to live in your cat’s new home. To be clear, you give your cat toys and treats and he or she changes your behavior.