6 Ways I Rearrange My House (and My Life!) Around My Cats


I’m a cat guardian, and I bet there are lots of things you do around the house (like I do) in service of the cats. These adjustments and modifications become so automatic that I don’t even think about them — usually. Some are small. Some are klutzy (you’ll see what I mean). Some are in the name of accommodating cat behavior and for their care. Some are to make our lives easier! Here’s what I do.

1. I make the bed right away

This is a good thing. I don’t even let a cat in the bedroom in the morning until I’ve made the bed. (We keep the cats out of the bedroom, because we’ve found we get much better sleep.) But as you all know, a cat loves an unmade bed. If I left the bed unmade and let the cats into the bedroom, they’d all be snuggling and nesting into the bed, and I wouldn’t have the heart to move them. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, and it sure makes me happy to see my cats so happy. However, my mother instilled in me a compulsion to make the bed … and my unmade bed really bothers me. (I don’t care about others’ unmade beds — really!) So I make the bed, and then I open the door. They still love the bed, but I think they love an unmade bed much more.

2. I fold the laundry fast if I don’t want cats all over it

This is probably familiar to a lot of you. Laundry comes out of the dryer (or off the line in the summer) and goes directly onto the bed. (There’s no place in our house to let the clean laundry pile up except the bed.) If I don’t want cats nesting and digging in it, well, then, it has to get folded fast. Another good thing. The cats are great indirect taskmasters.

3. I don’t share homemade cookies with those outside the household, though I’d really like to

This one bums me out! We have a great rural mail lady who has to drive through all kinds of crappy weather just to give us our mail. I like to give her something homemade for Christmas and I like to bake (though I bake a lot less now that I am eating Paleo-style). Still, there are others in the house who eat baked goodies with flour. I worry about cat hair (even just one!!) landing in the cookies. So I generally don’t share homemade goodies. I did break down and make cookies for the mail lady this Christmas. She’s an animal person herself and has a large house dog, so maybe, just maybe, it will be okay.

4. I leave the garage door up slightly for the feral cat, even (well, especially) in subzero temps

Our garage is not heated, but it does attach to the house. When it gets to 30 below zero (which has been common lately — UGH) we generally button up the house as tight as possible. But there’s been a feral (I think) cat living in the garage this winter. He seems to be doing very well with this arrangement, so we leave the garage door open just enough for him to crawl in and out. I couldn’t live with myself if I denied him entrance in such extreme weather.

5. I step gingerly around the cats so as not to wake them by the fire, even as I feed the fire

The cats in this house LOVE the fireplace. To feed the fire, we have to step gently and gingerly around them, while they slumber as if they would never wake up. Sometimes, it’s a tricky process. There’s not a lot of room, you don’t want to step on a cat, and you’re dealing with fire. There have been no accidents, but it would be easier if we just moved the cats. But we can’t stand to deny them their pleasure!

6. I painstakingly replace window screens by hand, over and over and over

I bet a lot of cat lovers will relate to this. This had not been an issue for many years, but the two youngest cats (especially the youngest cat) loves a good screen climb. I am actually amazed he hasn’t done more damage. I have, in the past, taken time to replace screen mesh in the frames that hold the window screens. And it does take time! But if I don’t do it, we’ll pay the price with mosquitoes in the house, come summer, and there’s nothing worse than mosquitoes torturing you in your own house.

How do you rearrange your life around your cats? What do you do so that your cats are comfortable? Share your stories 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 a short story collection about people and place. 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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