The 7 Basic Needs of Your Cat
All cats have basic needs. Providing them will not only help ensure your cat's long-term health, but will also have a positive impact on their overall behavior and the degree of satisfaction they experience (we all know how important that is!). If these needs are not met, you may find that your cat feels stressed, anxious or even depressed. Making your house more "cat friendly" will promote a healthy kitty and healthy relationship between you and your loved ones (the furry kind). Listed below are a few things that an "ideal" house for cats may include.
One of the most important things for cat owners to understand is that cats DO NOT respond to force, but they DO respond to praise! Reprimands will only work if you catch your cat in the act. Punishment that follows an action by more than a few seconds won't stop them from doing it again. It may even cause him to be afraid of you or the surroundings. One highly effective and widely used method of training is called "clicker training". Positive reinforcement is another great training method to use. Use them properly in combination with one another and who knows...you may even be able to train your cat to back-flip!
2) Purrrsonal Space
Provide a room (or multiple!) they can call their own. Have a scratching/climbing post, a window to look out of, comfy materials to sleep on and some toys to play with. Having a private space for their litter box is important as well. Kitties love their personal territory!
3) Keep The Litter Box Clean
Cats are naturally very clean creatures and are very particular about their surroundings If their litter box is dirty, you better bet they know. A great habit to get into is cleaning your cat's litter box once in the AM and once again in the PM. It's recommended that you have 1.5 litter boxes per cat (3 litter boxes if you own 2 cats).
4) Scratch Pad
Give your cat something to scratch on to ensure they don't damage your things. Praise them highly when you see them scratch it to reinforce the use of it.
5) Climbing Spaces
Provide places to climb and look out of windows to help keep your cat(s) mind active, healthy and happy. If you're ambitious, you may even put a bird feeder outside of the window to keep them engaged.
6) Making Changes
Cats seem to prefer to feel like they are in control of their surroundings. They aren't too fond of changes, especially when abrupt. When/if you make changes in food, litter toys, etc., offer them in a separate container next to the familiar one so your cat can slowly transition more so on their terms.
7) Regular Vet Checks
Be sure to see your veterinarian regularly. In addition to providing preventative health care through regular check-ups, they also can help you troubleshoot any "issues" before they become problems.