6 Ways to Brighten Your Cat's Day
A Room With a View
Give your cat a window perch so he can bird watch and keep an eye on neighbourhood happenings. Generally inexpensive and easy to install, a window perch offers instant environment enrichment and has minimal impact on your home décor. We like the Sunny Seat Window-Mounted Cat Bed ($25). It installs in seconds, mounting to glass windows or doors via industrial-strength suction cups that hold up to 50 pounds! Up the fun by attaching a suction-cup bird feeder outside the window to provide unbeatable, unending entertainment. (Just don’t place bird feeders too close to the ground—it leaves birds vulnerable to attack—and be sure to keep the window closed—a cat that is motivated enough can push right through a screen!)
As Michelle Nagelschneider, aka the Cat Whisper, notes: “In the wild, cats climb trees to escape predators and to gain a good vantage point to look for prey. The need to climb is so deep-rooted in your cat’s genetic makeup that he will seek out high places even in a home where he knows he is safe and well cared for.” Providing vertical perching space allows your cat to engage in this innate behaviour and encourages exercise by giving your cat somewhere to jump to. Easy ways to create vertical space include installing cat shelves—we love Catswall's amazing modular cat climbing wall (shopmeoow.com) —or Catty Stacks' cool, stacking cardboard climbers (pictured; cattystacks.com). Both can be easily reworked into different configurations to keep things interesting!
Have a nervous Nelly or a new cat that’s yet to settle in? A Feliway diffuser calms anxious cats, thereby helping to prevent unwanted behaviours like urine marking. Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone deposited by cats when they rub their cheek on objects creating a sense of familiarity and security within their environment. ($40 for a starter kit and 30-day refill, feliway.com) Also add a few drops of Bach’s Rescue Remedy to your cat’s drinking water. This natural stress relieving formula has been calming and relaxing both people and animals for more than 70 years ($21).
Establish a Group Scent
Have some tension in your multi-cat household? Establish a group scent by using the same grooming tool on each of your cats in succession. This helps your cats to bond. (We love the Pet + Me cleaning and massaging silicon brush, pictured; petandme.net.) Cats that get along tend to groom or rub up against each other, creating a group scent that helps them feel relaxed, friendly, and affiliated. So to promote a more social, friendly vibe amongst your cats, you can take on the role of social coordinator by brushing each of your cat’s heads and necks with the same brush every day (or better yet two or three times a day), then sit back and watch the tension dissipate—this simple fix really works!
Extend Their Space
Build a “catio,” aka an enclosed patio for your cat, allowing safe access to the outdoors. This is definitely a bit of an undertaking or investment, depending on whether you build it yourself or hire someone to construct it for you, but it’s like buying your teenager a car for her sweet 16—it’s the ultimate gift.
Let It Rain
Cats are thirst tolerant, meaning it can be difficult to get them to drink enough water. Help your cat hydrate by getting her a drinking fountain. Cats love fresh running water, so providing a drinking fountain is a definite win where your cat is concerned. Try the Watering Hole Automatic Fresh Water Fountain pictured ($27).