I’ve lived with cats my whole life, and I’ll confess that for a lot of those years I didn’t think much about environmental enrichment. It didn’t seem like the indoor-outdoor kitties of my youth needed any extra accommodations indoors, but as I began taking care of my own feline companions — and providing them with an indoor-only lifestyle — I thought more seriously about their environment. Here are five things I’ve learned about how you can make your multicat home a place your feline companions will love.
1. Give your cats a place to climb
A tall tree or tower can make your cats’ day. More than one tall tree or tower will make them absolutely delighted. The best way you can expand your feline friends’ territory and ease their stress, especially if your home is small, is to give them vertical space to occupy.
2. Honor your cave kitties, too
As cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy says, some cats are tree dwellers and some are bush dwellers. Give your kitties some options for when they just want to relax in a cave of their own. That cave doesn’t have to be a purpose-built cat perch. This temporary cave I created is nothing more than a large skirt around the bottom of my Christmas tree, and a pillow on the shelf under the end table on which the tree sat.
3. Follow the "one litter box per cat, plus one" rule
I’ll confess I didn’t take this very seriously until last summer. I’d never had any problems with having one litter box per cat and no more — and sometimes I even had only two boxes for my three cats. But when I moved to a larger apartment and adopted a new cat, it was pretty clear that bathroom politics were a major source of stress (and inappropriate urination). I finally broke down and added a fourth box, and it was amazing how quickly the inter-cat problems got sorted out.
4. Be sure you have adequately sized snuggle spots
If you’re fortunate, you have at least two cats who love to snuggle together. Provide beds large enough to accommodate both of them, and if you can’t do that, give them a special place on a piece of furniture. Before I bought a bed big enough for Thomas and Dahlia, I set their favorite blanket on the back of my futon couch. They spent many loving hours together on their "purple fleecie."
5. Create comfortable sun-puddle dozing places
I’ve never known a cat who didn’t love to rest in a pool of bright sun rays beaming in through a window. Even on hot summer days, you can still find a cat happily frying his brain. Your cats will love you if you make sure there are multiple places where they can enjoy sun puddles, especially if they can follow the sun as it crosses the sky.
What have you done to make your home a multicat paradise? Please share your suggestions in the comments!