Home improvement tips: Make your home cat-friendly

Let’s face it—cats may make wonderful pets, but they can also wreak havoc on your furniture, rugs and drapes. But before you break out the plastic furniture covering, take heart. You can help minimize damage caused by your feline companion with these simple home improvement tips for cat owners.

Tip #1: Create Vertical Spaces

As anyone who has watched Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell series knows, some cats are more comfortable when they can view the “lay of the land.” If your cat is acting out, it may be that your home doesn’t have enough high up, vertical spaces for your cat to relax in. This can cause your cat to feel anxiety, and as a result, they may take this anxiety out on furniture, and even you. Solve this dilemma by incorporating cat trees, vertical shelving and cat stairs throughout your home. You will notice a marked difference in your cat’s behavior if they have a space they can call their own.

Tip #2 Put a scratching post and lounge near your couch or chairs

Do your cats scratch at your couch? You aren’t alone. Cats need to sharpen their claws—it is normal cat behavior. Instead of hiding your furniture under plastic and blankets, try putting a scratch lounge and scratching post in your living room, near your couch and rug. The post will discourage your cats from scratching the furniture by providing an alternative for vertical scratching. A scratch lounge will keep cats from scratching rugs by providing an alternative for horizontal scratching. These simple additions to your home will ensure that your cats have an outlet for their natural needs, while keeping them distracted from the furniture.

Tip #3 Make windows cat accessible

Cats love looking out windows—especially if they are indoor cats. Give them a healthy dose of “cat TV” by creating places for them to perch that give them a good view of the front or back yard. If your windows lack a ledge for your cat to sit on, consider putting a bench along the bottom of a low window (they can even serve double duty as storage units/reading spaces for you). Or, if the window is high up, incorporate shelves that allow the cat to perch and look out.

Tip #4 Buy cat-safe house plants

House plants may seem like a beautiful and harmless addition to your home, but if you have pets, you need to know which plants are toxic and which are actually safe. Some plants are very toxic to cats—such as aloe vera and asian lilies. Cat-safe plants include bamboo palm, chamaedorea, cliff brake, duffii fern and holly fern. For a complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants for cats, visit the ASPCA website.

Tip #5 Schedule regular play time

The more energy you your cats expend through play, the less likely they are to use that energy destroying furniture. This activity also has the added benefit of strengthening the bond between you and your cat. Flyer toys are great for cats with a strong hunting instinct. They resemble fishing flyers—usually a pole with a string and a feather attached to resemble a bird in flight.

When it comes to home improvement, it’s important to remember all of your home occupants, including your cats! By giving cats alternative ways to expend their energy, you’ll see less damage to your furniture, and happier cats in general.

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