How to arrange your home for a new cat

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Bringing home a new cat? Congratulations! Kate Benjamin, cat design expert, has some tips on how to prepare your home for the new member of your household – whether it’s a kitten, an adult cat or an older four-legged friend.

A small kitten peers out the window. Photo ©anurakpong | Getty Images.


When you bring a new cat home, the most important thing is to prepare the environment so that he feels comfortable from the first moment he comes out of the cat enclosure. It is extremely important to create a safe, calming and stimulating environment, without forgetting your own desire for a well-designed living space. “Cat design,” as behaviorist Jackson Galaxy and I define it in our books Feline Design and Feline Design for Satisfaction, is the art and science of creating the perfect environment that meets your cat’s needs as well as your own. It’s really very simple, so please don’t worry! If you follow these simple guidelines, I guarantee that your new cat’s acclimation will go smoothly and without a hitch.

How to prepare your home for a new kitten

Kittens spend a lot of time playing to learn to chase. So provide plenty of toys for your little one to jump around on.Photography ©willcao911 | Getty Images.

When preparing your home for a kitten, you should cat-proof everything. This means that you should remove anything that is potentially dangerous, such as loose cords or small objects that could pose a choking hazard. Create soft and comfortable beds and sleeping areas that the kitten can easily reach. Get a litter box with low walls and tip-proof food and water bowls that are also suitable for cats.

The new kitten should have plenty of fun toys to pounce on as she learns to chase and play. Place the toys in a decorative basket or container with low walls so the kitten can reach in.

No matter how old your new cat is, close off crawl spaces, such as under beds and sofas, where she can hide. A cat who is in a new environment may want to hide. Therefore, offer her a place where she can do so – such as a covered bed – but make sure it is still accessible. You want to teach her to be part of the family, and hiding under the bed is not the best way to teach this.

How to prepare your home for a new adult cat

Your new cat will enjoy getting to know his new home by watching things from above.

Photography courtesy Kate Benjamin.

If you are bringing home an older cat, you need to consider their climbing instincts. Being high up helps cats get a better view of their surroundings. Remember, cats in the wild are both predators and prey, which means they are constantly watching their surroundings for potential threats and food.

Start by improving the environment for cats by clearing the top of a bookshelf and placing a non-slip surface, such as a rug or yoga mat, on top. Then add a scratching post or cat shelf leading to the new seating area. When you bring your new cat into your home, show her the climbing area by leading her up there with a toy. Kitty will enjoy exploring her new home by watching the action from above.

Adult cats should also have resources such as a litter box, food and water in an area of the home where they feel safe. Set up a room for your new cat that has all of these things, as well as litter, scratching posts and toys. This room will be a “base camp” for your new cat, giving him a sense of security and allowing him to determine his territory.

How to prepare your home for a new adult cat

The Cat Ball Hideaway cat bed is the perfect cocoon for your new cat to feel comfortable in.Photography courtesy The Cat Ball.

Adult cats have some special needs when it comes to home decor. In this case, create plenty of cozy spots that are easily accessible. She may not be able to climb very high, so place a sunbed with a soft bed by the window or consider adding a heated cat bed for your new adult cat.

Depending on your senior cat’s mobility, add ladders or ramps to make it easier for him to climb onto the windowsill or couch. Lighten any surfaces by covering them with non-slip material to improve traction. Your adult cat still needs scratching opportunities and toys to keep her active. Keep her comfortable and stimulated so she can enjoy her golden years.

No matter your cat’s age, make her bed more comfortable and less scary.

Mobile Pet Bed Sleepypod.Photography courtesy Sleepypod

Cats may be leery of the portable device if they only see it when they go to the vet. Instead of hiding the carrier, keep it outside by removing the lid or door and placing a soft blanket inside. This will encourage your kitten to use the transport box as a bed or cocoon on a regular basis, and when it’s time to go outside, the transport box will be a comfortable and familiar part of their environment. Some transport boxes convert into a pet bed, such as the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed.

This great pet carrier converts into a comfortable bed by simply removing the top, and it looks great in your home!

Kate Benjamin has been writing about cat design since 2007 and has co-authored two New York Times bestsellers with Jackson Galaxy: Catification and Catify to Satisfy.

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Preview image: photo ©anurakpong | Getty Images.

Tell us: what tips do you have for cat-proofing your home before you get a new cat? What’s the best way you’ve redesigned your cat space?

This post was originally published on May 1, 2018.

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