Cats make wonderful companions in homes. Cats can be very independent; however will often form strong bonds with certain people or pets that are within their environment. There are many ways that we can help make their home entertaining, help support natural behaviors such as scratching, and ways to help ensure continued use of their litter boxes.
Cats can have normal instincts to chase and play with anything that moves! To help prevent unwanted behaviors, it is imperative that their environments are enriched as much as possible. This can include “hunting” for food or use of food-balls, having at least 3-4 toys always available (and rotate different toys monthly), and regular playtime with their human companions. Being able to look outside windows (perhaps at a bird feeder) or having a kitty tv can further make their homes entertaining. It is important to encourage play with acceptable toys or substrates. It is best to avoid using your hands or feet as “toys” so they do not inadvertently scratch or bite anyone in the house.
Scratching is a natural behavior for all cats; it is done for nail maintenance, scent marking and visual marking. The location of the post is extremely important, as cats may prefer to scratch on something near the front of a couch rather than behind the couch. Sometimes, just a change in where a scratching post is located can make a cat very happy and safe while preventing any unwanted furniture scratching. Cats can also be very particular about substrate preference and you may need to try a variety of scratching posts (different substrates, horizontal and/or vertical) options to determine their individual preference. Sometimes, adding feliway or cat nip to the desired scratching post can help attract cats to use that particular area. Double sided tape may also be needed to deter cats from using any loved furniture if they have already started to scratch at it. Remembering to regularly trim nails can also be important in helping minimize unwanted destruction, and sometimes soft paws can be used as well. If there are any persistent problems with unwanted scratching, let us know so we can help!
It is important to provide easy access to litter boxes for all kittens and cats. If a cat that is previously trained to use the litter suddenly starts to have inappropriate urination or defecation, let us know as this may indicate that we need to evaluate your cat. There are many medical reasons that can cause inappropriate elimination in adult cats as well as behavioral causes. Remember, if there are multiple cats in a home, it is best to have one more litter box then the total number of cats. Any trained cat may stop using a litter box that is too small, dirty or in an area that lacks privacy. We recommend scooping daily, changing litter weekly and scrub/disinfecting the box on a regular basis.