Homes are designed around human use, but cats have different needs for their environments. Our furry feline friends, like their wild cat relatives, like to be up high. Cats are designed to leap and climb, and they love to seek higher ground to perch and plan their next adventure. Having their own territory off of the floor where they can observe their surroundings gives them a good vantage point. It allows for a safe place to relax and take a nap after they have burned some energy in a game of running, scratching and climbing.
VERTICLE SPACE ENHANCEMENT is an important part of enriching your cat's life with mental and physical stimulation. It makes your cat's life more fun, and it can also prevent many behavioral problems, such as scratching furniture, jumping on kitchen counters and tension between cats in a multi-cat household. Many behavioral issues are often a result of a cat's natural need to climb, scratch and play not being met. Many of our cats are becoming obese because they do not get the exercise their bodies need to stay fit. You can make a few simple and inexpensive changes to your decor to maximize space for your cat's new VERTICLE PLAYGROUND.
It is vital to your cat's health and vitality to provide them with a playful environment to compensate for the fact that most of our feline friends are strictly indoors. For many people, floor space is at a minimum, but if you look around, there is probably plenty of air space or even wall space you can utilize.
You could simply rearrange a tall piece of furniture like a dresser near a window so your kitty can sun itself and watch nature. Put a cat bed, pillow or basket on top to make it more comfortable and keep hair off your area. Make sure they can get on the piece of furniture without slipping. Space-saving shelves are also a good idea. An otherwise bare wall could be made into feline ramps and walkways enhancing your home's look with accent colors. Learn from feline interior designers Bob Walker and Frances Mooney of San Diego, CA who have built an aerial fun zone at ceiling height throughout their home. Check out www.catshouse.com. There are many websites to give you helpful hints if you look up "cat friendly homes".
A cat tree or kitty condo is a must for every feline's home. You can build one if you are creative with minimal costs. It's amazing what you can do with some carpet scraps, wood pieces, boxes, and even duct tape if you are on a tight budget. You can get ideas and wood patterns on line to help. There are also many sites to purchase cat trees of all different shapes, colors, styles and price.
You may have noticed your cat trying to give you hints already for some vertical space. Have you found books from your bookcase on the floor? How about that glass knick knack? Is it still together or in pieces? Oopps! As natural climbers, cats like to observe their surroundings from above. Vertical space is great to get away from the dog or the toddler in your house. Start observing. Your feline friend will let you know where they like to climb and where they like to sleep. Look for clues about their favorite places in the house as you begin your plan to GO VERTICAL.
Kim Hurley, Owner/Vet Tech
Cat's Meow Veterinary Hospital