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Catify to Satisfy

As I sit and wait for my new family to appear here at the Second Chance shelter I have been considering what might help make the transition into a new home go more smoothly for all cats. I believe that the single most important thing is to properly prepare your home. Below are tips to create a safe, comforting and stimulating setting, without forgetting your own desire to have a well-designed living space.

The art and science of designing the perfect environment to accommodate your cat’s needs, as well as your own, actually has a term, “Catifying,” (you can learn more in behaviorist Jackson Galaxy’s books Catification and Catify to Satisfy). Preparation (all of which is very easy) varies depending on whether you bring home a kitten, adult cat or senior kitty.

When catifying for a kitten, kittenproof everything. This means removing anything that is potentially dangerous like loose cords or small objects that could be choking hazards. Create soft comfortable beds and cocoons that are easily accessible. Get a litter box with low sides and tip-proof food and water dishes that are also kitten sized. You’ll want lots of fun toys to help your new kitten learn how to hunt and play - try putting them in a decorative basket or bin with low sides so kitty can reach inside

When bringing home an older cat, you’ll need to accommodate the instinct to climb. Being up high helps cats get a better perspective of their environment. Remember, cats are both predator and prey in the wild, so this means they are constantly surveying their surroundings, looking for potential threats and dinner.

Start to catify by clearing off the top of a bookshelf and adding a non-slip surface, like a piece of carpet or a yoga mat. Then add a cat tree or a cat shelf leading to the new perch. When introducing your new cat to your home, show her the climbing area by leading her up with a toy.

Adult cats will also need to have resources like a litter box, food and water in an area of the home where they feel safe. Set up a room for your new cat with all of these items as well as beds, scratchers and toys. This room will be “base camp” for your new cat, providing a sense of security and territory.

Senior cats have a few special needs when it comes to catification. Create lots of cozy spots that are easy to reach. Seniors can’t always climb as high, so set up a sunny window perch with a soft bed, or consider adding a heated cat bed.

Depending on your senior cat’s mobility, add stairs or ramps to make it easier to climb up to the window perch or onto the sofa. Your senior cat will still need places to scratch and some toys to encourage staying active. Keep you senior comfortable and stimulated and enjoying the golden years.

My name is Hoot.  I am a one year young black female kitten. I was a frightened kitten when I arrived at Second Chance with my friend Owlet. It has taken some time for me to start trusting people again but recently I have been more curious and eager for human attention. I now feel ready for a new family and home, especially one that has been properly catified!

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at adoptmountainpets.org.

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