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5 Ways to Provide a Secure Environment for Your Cat

I've used these tips to help an insecure cat become happy and adjust to our household.

Catherine Holm  |  Mar 12th 2014


Have you ever noticed a difference between a secure and an insecure cat? There’s a lot we can do, right in our own living space, to ensure that our cats are secure, content, and happy. Many of these solutions are simple and don’t cost a thing. In fact, I’ve used most of these strategies regarding behavior and environment to help a nervous and insecure cat gradually become happy and easily adjust into our household. You can, too.

1. Provide hiding places

Cat love to hide! I admit until recently, I probably took the warning that hiding was a bad thing too seriously. Yes, it can indicate problems if a cat is hiding. But sometimes they just need the security of knowing they have a safe and quiet space. And if you have a multi-cat household, they may need personal space or a break from the other cats.

Hiding spaces are easy to provide. Cats love to be under a bed, and my cats really seem to like that we have a dust ruffle on the bed. It gives them an extra feeling of hiding, and they can also play with each other under the material, or play with toys. Closets are great hiding spaces (just take care that a cat doesn’t inadvertently get stuck in a closet), and dresser drawers are a great place as well, if you don’t mind your cat among your clothes. Also, in our small living space, I often use an open cat carrier. The cats love to go into it — it seems to serve as a little room. They’ll nap in the carrier for quite awhile. If you have cats who love to snuggle with each other, they might even share a cat carrier in this way.

2. Provide height

If you’re a cat lover, you know that cats love height, and they love to look down upon their surroundings. So if you can, give them that opportunity. Even if you don’t think you have places in your living space that provide height, you’d be surprised. Cats are very imaginative. I have seen cats leap on and balance on the tops of doors, walk the catwalk over kitchen cabinets, and perch on top of a folded treadmill.

3. Provide places to burrow

Does warm laundry or an unmade bed come to mind? My cats love to snuggle under piles of material and busily make biscuits. If you don’t mind the cat hair on your sheets or don’t mind an unmade bed (my husband minds hair on sheets, and I mind an unmade bed), then leave the bed unmade and let the cat have some fun! Or leave piles of clean laundry out somewhere for your cat to burrow into. Cats are smart, too — even if you make the bed, they often like to burrow under a quilt or a layer of the bedding. It’s another way of hiding and playing.

4. Maintain routines

Cats love it when things stay the same, and I believe my cats feel more secure with a routine in place. So I try to stick to it, though life happens, and it doesn’t always stay the same. I try to feed them at the same two times every day, and the furniture often stays in the same place, though that’s more a function of a small living space than attention to a cat’s routine. If you can keep something consistent about your cat’s daily life, she’ll be secure in the fact that she knows that certain things usually stay the same — you’re usually around, she usually gets fed about the same time, etc.

5. Provide love

This is the best guarantee of security that there is, and it’s easy and good for us all. Give your cat unconditional love, good treatment, good care, a secure home, and a forever home, and your cat will be one of the most secure cats on the planet — in so many ways.

Are your cats secure or insecure? Have you helped your cats become more secure in their living space? Do you have tips to share? Please share in comments!

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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.

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