You don't have to turn your home into the Wild Kingdom but you may have to make some concessions to keep your feline friends safe, healthy and safe.
We must provide a variety of effective feline-oriented toys, puzzles, tunnels, etc. which keep cats active, happy and stimulated. Felines are very prey specific so it is helpful to learn whether your cats prefer ground prey (mousers) or prefer flying prey (birders) to ensure your cats have the kind of toys which mimic their prey preference. Fortunately, there are lots of cat toys on the market, but unfortunately, many are not effective and some are not even safe. I will be happy to send you my approved list of cat toys and suggestions about where to buy them if you will email me.
Cats must have adequate space to do their hunting and it must be done on flooring with traction, on a large rug or a long runner. Without traction, they often become frustrated with hunting. It's kinda like driving on ice when cats try to "play" or "hunt" on slick flooring. Because cats spend time on our floors, we also must keep clutter to a minimum. Clutter has been proven to be bad for our physical and mental health by raising our stress hormone cortisol level and can even lead to anxiety, stress and depression. It seems to have a similar effect on our feline family too. Clutter can also be a fire hazard and contribute to excess dust and mold.
Since cats need several safe places, ALL cat homes need at least one tall, heavy-duty, sturdy cat tree with an extra-thick base. Ledges need to be curved and large enough for lounging safely. All scratching posts on cat trees, or elsewhere, need to be at least 30-36" in height to provide cats adequate room to get their daily necessary shoulder stretch and meet their need to scratch. If floor space is limited, you can install sturdy cat ledges on the walls to provide safe places. Cats also enjoy cat "caves" or even boxes in which to hide and feel safe.
Keep your cats' powder room area clean! Scoop at least once daily and use extra-large, open-style litterboxes with unscented litter. Enclosed litterboxes are like a porta potty! Watch out for those artificial scents in most cat litter and in scented plugins which are very harsh on feline lungs and can contribute to asthma in cats (and us too)!
Cats need at least one, but preferably two, high-intensity "playtime" work outs per day. (Think cardio!) Our precious indoor cats have the same instinctive need to hunt as the outdoor cats have and outdoor cats spend 4-6 hours per day hunting. When indoor cats don't have an opportunity to safely meet their need to "hunt" with playtime sessions on a regular basis, unwanted behavior problems often arise, particularly aggression.
Think Zen Den……….but no candles with wicks! Listen to light classical, light jazz or whatever you like--even cat music by David Teie--with your cat and try to follow your cat's example and RELAX. Focus on and savor all the pawsitive things in your life, especially your 4-footed feline friend(s) who are always there for you!
posted on 4/15/2020