Whether you're a lifelong cat owner or a total newbie, you'll want to make sure your feline friend is happy and content in their home environment. So here are a few tips to help.
Food and water bowls. Make sure your cat's food and water bowls are set apart from each other, as cats prefer to eat and drink in separate locations to avoid cross-contamination. If your cat feels their food and water are too close, they may eat or drink less than they need to. Cats like peace and privacy at meal times, so place bowls where they can't be disturbed or watched by other cats when they're eating. Ideally, they need space to sit behind the bowl, with their back to a wall, so they can survey the area. This will help them feel safe at meal times.
Litter trays. Even if your cat toilets outside, you should keep a tray in the house, just in case of bad weather, or if they get nervous due to other cats in the area. Like humans, cats need privacy when they toilet, so place a tray in a quiet part of the house, away from any windows or doors, and especially away from any food or water bowls. Make sure there is plenty of space around the tray to ensure they can get in and out easily, and have space to dig if they wish. Make sure the tray is accessible at all times, not in a closed-off or cluttered room.
Scratch posts. Scratch posts are great for helping cats with their claw maintenance.They also help to distract from your furnishings. If your cat does scratch the furniture or carpets, cover up any damage and place a scratch post near where they like to scratch, so they have a convenient alternative. Other good places for scratch posts are near to cat flaps, as scratching helps cats mark their territory with their scent glands. Next to their bed is also good, as cats often like to stretch out and have a scratch after they snooze.
Beds. Whether your cat has a fancy shop-bought bed or a blanketed cardboard box, it needs to be placed in a quiet, private part of the house, away from busy or noisy rooms, like the kitchen. Cats like to rotate their sleeping areas, so make sure there are plenty of options for them around the house.
Hiding places. Cats like to hide away when they're feeling scared or stressed, so make sure there are plenty of options around the house for them. Cardboard boxes are ideal for making home-made forts and are easy to move to different areas of the house. Cats also like to perch up high to survey their surroundings, as it helps them feel safe. So they'll appreciate access to high shelves or climbing trees, and putting a bed up high for them if possible. Just make sure they can get up and down safely and easily to avoid potential injury.
The golden rule for cat care is to ensure your cats have one resource each, plus a spare for the household. So if you have one cat, you’ll need two food bowls, two litter trays, two beds and two scratch posts. If you have two cats, you'll need three of everything. This is so they can't block each other's resource.