Looking at a cat is like looking at the fire, it is always enchanted.
What should a cat have in your house to be happy? Well, I have many cats and I like to observe their elegant movements, their silences and mysterious habits. They also observe us, of course, but how do they see us? Probably, they see us like a mother. The famous ethologist Giorgio Celli says that cats are childish because they project on us the image of a big mother.
As good mothers, we have to worry about offering them a pleasant, safe and stimulating environment. Open spaces have everything they need, but if your cats are often inside your home, here are the seven elements that can make them happy.
First of all, just a couple of premises:
- Fortunately, the standard cat does not exist. Each has his own personality, his habits, his fears and his tastes. Lino, a beautiful cat who lived with me for sixteen years, slept only in flower pots while Topo, my gray cat, stood only high on the perches. I’ll tell you some general rules, but remeber: the perfect place should be designed on your cat’s personality.
- Many say that the cat ismore attached to the place than to the owners. That’s not so true. My favorite ethologists and scholars are all in agreement that cats can love us, even if they are less explicit than a dog. However, their place is very important, for sure.
1 – The Cat Scratching Post
When your cat is in the garden, he scratches on tree trunks. If you do not have an oak tree in the living room,your furniture may be scratched. It is a necessity: the claws grow continuously and must be maintained at the right length.
Why does your cat need to scratch? Because his claws are not only used for hunting and defense, but for grip and balance. In addition, scratching is a method that your cat uses to mark the territory and thus claim your sofa. An important enrichment, in short, is the scratching post: a wooden support with a rough or grooved surface that allows the cat to be “manicured”.
There are countless types, sizes and materials of scratching-post (wood, rope, felt and so on). The scratching post should be stable, well fixed on the ground. What is more, there are many models similar to toys, useful and appreciated. In short, the scratching post can help a lot, especially if your cat does not have access to the outside world.
2 – The cat litter
3 – Cat forniture and cat walls
Aunt Angiolina has an unknown number of cats and when I am there, a good pastime is counting them. There are a couple on the sofa, one on the sill, four on the top of the sideboard, one on the fridge and a triad on the beam of the fireplace.
Every cat likes to stay high. The furniture, in short, with the shelves at different heights, can be chosen by cats according to their tastes. Also, I really like indoor cat trees: they are structures that simulate miniature plants, with shelves at different heights. Also, cat walls are very good: a combination of wooden boxes and shelves attached to the walls with cushions and toys.
4 – Water bowl and food bowl
It seems obvious, but it is not. The cat bowl for food must be wide and low, because cats hate any contact with their whiskers. Also, water bowl should be in a different place, away from the food bowl.
Also, every cat needs its own water bowl and food bowl, as he do not like to share. One last trick: cats have a more powerful sense of smell than dogs, so, wash bowls frequently. This also protects their health, preventing them from forming molds or dangerous germs.
5 – The cat shelter
Open a cardboard box and… your cat will not be able to resist: he wil go inside. Everyone knows that cats love boxes. The reason? As predators, they love hiding places where they can surprise their preys. Also, cats are preys as well: that’s why they always look for shelters. Boxes also work against stress: when your cat feels in danger or uncomfortable, a beautiful dark shelter is what he needs. There are shelters of all kinds, but even a cardboard box is fine.
An open washing machine may seem the queen of boxes: sheltered, dark, slightly elevated, sound-insulated and thermo-insulated. Deadly danger. So, if you have a cat, always keep the washing machine closed.
6 – Cat toys
Your cat thinks you are a big strange mother. And mums… always provide toys! The cat, in fact, needs to have fun and train. He is instinctively attracted to the movement and when he plays, he simulates the hunting. The classic ball of yarn is perfect: it has the consistency, the size, the weight of a mouse… and it has a tail too!
7 – Your garden
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Frederick always says that the term “domestic cat” is an oxymoron. In fact, the cat is a free, explorer animal. Even if your cat spends most of your time at home, if you have a garden, offer him the chance to go outdoors to climb, play and hunt.