Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending the BlogPaws conference in Nashville and perusing a seriously awesome display of all things cat – The Cat Style Lounge – curated by the amazing Kate Benjamin of Hauspanther.
Anything and everything from Indiana Jones style cat bridges to swank floating shelves and even cat yoga mats – yes, our furry friends need to work it out too!
All of these items were not only super stylish and could make your home look great, but they also provided essential spaces and enrichment for cats. As we mentioned in our Newsletter* this month, this is particularly important within any multi-cat environment. We do highlight this specific issue quite often and you may be asking yourself why.
The answer is rather simple, I promise!
In the end, it boils down to one incredibly basic natural relationship: predator/prey. It’s immensely common in all animals and can even be seen in humans – the prey feels threatened by a predator and has an instinctual reaction to either hide or defend itself.
But we are talking about cats here, right? How does this apply to our feline friends?
Cats, as it turns out, have roughly two main predators in life and no, one of them is not the vacuum (though my two would beg to differ). Surprisingly, the two predators or threats, as they see them, are canines and primates. Yes, you did read that right; humans are considered a natural predator for cats.
Now, before anyone questions my sanity, I’m not insinuating that all humans are threatening; however we do control a great deal in regards to a cat’s habitat, which means we can, in fact, make them feel threatened. For example, in the last paragraph I made a joke about my cats being afraid of the vacuum. I control the vacuum, my cats see it as a threat, therefore, I am a predator in their cute fuzzy little brains.
How then, can you provide a safe and enriching environment to ensure your cats feel safe and confident within their space?
- Ensure that there are higher places where your cat can perch. It is important for cats to be able to look down upon dogs and/or people to get the lay of the land and observe their surroundings. As a rule of thumb the higher the better! You can accomplish this at home by ensuring there are accessible perching spots such as cat trees, window perches, or a wide chair/couch back will do in a pinch. If your cat is older or has issues with jumping up on things, provide them with a staggered route that allows them to get to a higher spot, but on their own terms.
From a veterinarian’s perspective, placing any cats in upper kennels and any dogs in the ones below, is an easy way to ensure all clients are as comfortable as possible.
- Provide your cat with places to hide. Ensure your cats have a safe spot in your home, particularly if there are multiple cats or if there is a threatening situation such as other pets, houseguests, or new family additions. There are no hard and fast rules as to what this space needs to be, it just needs to fit a cat and allow it to hide from any perceived threat. Some good spaces include cat tents, closets, and every cat’s favorite – the box.
For more information on the needs of indoor cats, please take a look at the Indoor Pet Initiative from The Ohio State University and our Board Member, Dr. Tony Buffington.
Curious about the awesome items we described from BlogPaws or interested in finding a stylish piece that benefits you and your cat? Look no further than Hauspanther.
*Have questions about your cat that you would like us to answer? Please submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to give you the info you need! Answers are automatically featured in our Newsletter each month!