Spring Living: Enhancing your Cat’s apartment life
Those of us who keep cats in our apartments are often looking for ways that we can enhance their enjoyment of the space and keep them occupied throughout the day, from exercise to keeping your feline friend safe no matter what floor you’re situated on.
With spring coming up, there are some extra things to consider too, for instance you might want to cat-proof your balcony if you have one, so they can experience the outdoors.
Here, the pet care experts at Catit will show you some tips for how you can make your cat’s apartment life as luxurious as possible this spring, and keep them active too.
Keep them active
Cats are very comfortable spending lots of time napping and being cosy, but they do need mental stimulation and exercise too. There are lots of ways that you can keep them active inside an apartment, and many require less space than you might imagine. Climbing frames, shelving, and other fun features that make use of vertical rather than horizontal space are fantastic options for keeping your cats happy throughout the day, even when you’re not around. Scratching posts can also keep your four-legged friends away from your furniture while satisfying their urge to scratch. For more stimulation, you can also place their cat tower, tree, or bed near a window so your feline can watch birds and nature through the window. This is not only fun for them, but keeps their mind active.
Make sure to explore lots of different toys to keep your cat entertained and take a minute between your work and social activities to play with them and spend time with them yourself. Many cats enjoy the interaction with their owners as much as the game itself, so build time into your day to think of new activities that you and your feline friend can enjoy together. Using interactive toys offers a way to keep your cat occupied while you’re out, too, and can help mentally stimulate them. Some that you could choose from are treat dispensing puzzles, spinning toys, and toys with different textures. Remember that it’s important to play with your cat for at least two sessions of between 15 and 20 minutes per day, but longer is fantastic if you have the time.
Keep water away from food
In smaller spaces, it can be tempting to keep things condensed, and you might find it convenient to put your cat’s water bowl close to their food. However, cats won’t drink from water bowls that are close to their food bowls, as this seems instinctively unhygienic to them. Food can also be spilt into the water more easily, and many cats refuse to drink this water until it is changed. To encourage your cat to stay hydrated, you therefore need to keep these two away from each other. Consider placing your cat’s food bowl in the kitchen, and their water bowl either in the living room, or on the opposite side of the room if you have an open plan living and kitchen area. A cat water fountain is a great way to ensure that your cat has constant fresh water, and this also avoids you having to change it as often.
Likewise, consider where to keep their litter box so it’s not too close to their food or water bowls, as again this can seem unhygienic to them. Setting up your cat’s space to accommodate for their needs will ensure that they are as comfortable as possible, and the smaller space doesn’t matter. You can also give your cat some additional privacy by getting them a hooded litter box.
Cat-proof your balcony
If your apartment has a balcony, consider cat-proofing it so that your cat can venture outside and enjoy the spring sunshine themselves. When allowing a cat onto a balcony, it’s important to make sure that it is secure and they can’t escape from it, to prevent them falling. The first thing you’ll need is some balcony netting, which can form a protective barrier around the balcony to keep your cat safely inside without disturbing the view or flow of the fresh air. To protect the sides of your balcony, you can also use fencing.
You’ll also need to cover the top of your balcony, and you can do this by draping the netting across it. This will prevent your cat from jumping over the side and falling. You can buy specifically made pet netting that is designed to keep your cat from straying. Remember that however cat-safe your balcony is, you should still supervise your cat whenever they are on the balcony and not leave them out there alone.
Offer your cat a private space
Although cats can be very social creatures, they will often want to be solitary, and enjoy the quiet and some home comforts. If you have space, offering your cat a private area of their own can be a gamechanger for making them feel at home. This way, when you are entertaining people, your cat can choose whether to participate, and enjoy retreating to their safe space if they get overwhelmed. This can also aid in promoting good behaviour in your cats as felines often bite or scratch when they become overstimulated from too much play, socialising, or petting.
Your cat’s space can be the corner of a room or a closet to themselves, depending on how much space you have available. Try to include a closed bed that they can go inside to relax, so they have a cocoon to retreat too. You might also want to close it off from the surrounding room with a partition. Whatever you choose, your cat is sure to appreciate having a little corner to go back to.
“Keeping a cat entertained in an apartment might seem like a lot of work, but if you build time into your day to keep your feline friend active, stimulated and loved, it can be immensely enjoyable. As spring is approaching, you might be thinking about cat-proofing a balcony, but you can also speak to your building managers or neighbours about cat proofing any small communal outdoor spaces too.
“Cats are inquisitive creatures, and will often seek out food and drink, as well as any other items of interest, if left to their own devices. Keeping them occupied with interactive toys can help solve this. Lastly, many cats enjoy drinking rainwater when outside, and all cats prefer running water as this gives them the impression that it is fresher and cleaner. So, having a running water fountain is a great way to simulate this for your cat and encourage them to stay hydrated, which may prevent or alleviate many common health issues.
“If you want to see whether your cat is indeed exploring, playing with their interactive toys, and making use of the space you’ve set up for them, a pet camera can be a great addition to your home. For times when you are busy working in another room, or out and about, these offer a way to take a look at what your pet is up to and can show you what their favourite toys or pieces of cat furniture are.”
- Paul Trott, Marketing Manager at Catit