Living with Your Cat
Cats can be therapeutic life-savers for their owners, or destructive terrors that cause excessive stress. Learning to coexist with your cat takes time and commitment. Like any human relationship, living with a cat requires compromise and understanding. And cats are some of the most misunderstood creatures out there.
A lot of owners make the pricey mistake of buying cat furniture and toys that never get used by their cats. Then they make the incorrect assumption that their cats are just too fussy and are impossible to please. These same cats are usually the ones who end up driving their owners insane due to behavior issues, like scratching the furniture. A happy cat makes for a happy owner. So let’s take a minute to see how a compromise can be reached.
What do Cat Owners Want?
Cat owners want to have happy, healthy, well-behaved cats. Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as that. Cat owners also want their homes to be clean, uncluttered, and attractive to other people. A person’s home is their private habitat which is generally designed to bring them comfort and peace of mind. Now, let’s throw a cat in the mix.
What do Cats Want?
Cats need food, water, and shelter to survive. But not unlike children, cats want your attention and affection. They want their home to be ideal for cats. Cats like entertainment, hunting, playing, hiding, and being up high. Whether they think of you as their master or a fellow cat, you are an integral part of their world.
So where’s the middle ground? Knowing that your cat craves attention, it’s in your best interest to give it to them, on your terms. Set aside some time in the mornings and when you come home from work to play with your cats. Be engaged. Use an interactive toy and focus your attention on them. The alternative is to wait for them to demand your attention by doing something they shouldn’t. Cats want your attention, and while they’d probably prefer the positive kind, they’ll take whatever kind they can get. Think of it like your cat is throwing a temper tantrum for being ignored. All it takes to mitigate some of the bad cat behavior is a little bit of quality time and one of our recommended interactive cat toys.
Now that you have a routine established for spending time with your cat, consider making some adjustments to your living area. Cat owners can usually identify all of their cat’s bad behaviors. Assuming your cat’s poor behavior isn’t due to lack of attention, we can identify some solutions for the two most common owner-complaints.
Understanding Cat Behavior
Problem: My cat is always jumping up on the kitchen table and counters where they don’t belong
Why do cats do this? Cats like being up high. It’s natural for cats to climb trees in the wild to get the best vantage point for hunting prey. Safety is another reason cats prefer to be off the ground.
Solution: So here’s what you can do. Get a cat tree, a cat walk, or cat shelving. Provide your cat with an acceptable means of getting up high. Make sure to place it in a room where you spend a lot of time. That way you can keep an eye on your cat and they can keep an eye on you. If you can place it near a window in the same room, that’s even better! If all of the cat furniture is hidden away, you really aren’t doing a good job of sharing your space with your kitty.
Problem: My cat is scratching my furniture
Why do cats do this? Cats scratch for many reasons. They do it to stretch, condition their claws, and to mark their territory. Scratching is a normal cat behavior. Contrary to what some owners might believe, your cat isn’t destroying your favorite couch because he hates you.
Solution: Give your cat something to scratch that is more appealing than your couch. There are hundreds of different cat scratchers on the market to choose from. Check out our top picks. Here’s the critical part- place the cat scratcher in the same vicinity as the furniture that was getting scratched. If there are multiple rooms where your cat is scratching up furniture, add more cat scratchers. Now your cat can take ownership of the scratching post instead of the couch. Win – Win.
All of this might seem like a bit much if you’re new to cat-ownership. As a veteran cat owner, I can assure you that the reward of having a happy housemate is absolutely worth the effort! After all, your cat didn’t really get a say when you brought them home to live with you. The least you can do is acknowledge their unique kitty needs and be as understanding as possible.