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Playful kitten exploring toys and cozy spaces in its cat-friendly home

Create a cat-friendly environment for your new feline friend

Kittens are extremely curious and energetic animals with boundless energy. Creating a safe and enriching environment at home will cater to your kitten’s playful side, provide much needed physical and mental stimulus, and positively impact their health and development for the rest of their feline life. Genetic studies show that domestic cats are only partially domesticated, which means that several traits of their wild ancestors are still present in our feline companions.

As most cats live exclusively indoors, they need to be provided with an engaging environment that simulates the mental and physical stimulation that they would encounter outdoors. Cats that do not have outlets to express their instinctual behaviors can vent their frustration through destructive behavior such as house soiling, or they could become overly stressed, resulting in poor health outcomes.

Here are some important factors to consider while creating a cat-friendly environment at home:

Cats crave privacy

Cats are solitary and independent animals, which is why it’s important that your cat has access to their own space. Cats have evolved to avoid and hide in the wild, and therefore seek a private and secure place to hide in or retreat to. Boxes, perches and cat condos are examples of safe spaces where indoor cats can feel safe. Your cat may also act aloof with unfamiliar people, which is normal cat behavior. Don’t force them to mingle with new people if they don’t feel like it, as it may take them a while to accept them as part of their social bubble.

Toys and playtime

To satiate your cat’s natural hunting instincts, ensure that you provide plenty of toys for your cat to engage with, and rotate the toys regularly so they don’t get bored. Scratching is a natural cat behavior for cats, so make sure your cat has access to good quality scratching posts so that your furniture is spared. Playtime with your cat is really important for their mental and physical health - playtime ensures that they don’t gain excess weight, and provides the necessary stimulation to keep their brain active.

Content cat lounging in familiar environment

Stick to a routine

Cats love routine and familiarity, and can often be stressed out with big changes and new situations if they’re not introduced slowly, and your cat isn’t given enough time to get used to them. It’s best to adhere to the same routine every day with your cat. Try to keep feeding times the same every day. But although cats like familiarity, you will still need to provide them with new objects and toys to explore and engage with so they don’t get bored. Leave empty cardboard boxes out for them to play around with before you recycle them to give your cat a bit of amusing entertainment.

Safe & clean home

Tidy and safe home environment for cats.

Cats are extremely curious creatures and will explore everything that they can physically access. While this behavior shouldn’t be discouraged because it’s just a normal cat instinct to explore, you must ensure that they can explore safely. Anything that may make your cat ill, or could potentially injure your cat, should be locked away securely so your cat can’t reach it.

If you have indoor plants or a garden, make sure that all hazards are removed and pay close attention to the flowers and plants grown there because flowers like lilies, daffodils and tulips are poisonous for cats.

Cleanliness is also very important for cats, so it’s necessary to regularly and properly clean out the litter box, food bowls, water bowls, and the general areas that your cat frequents.

Providing your kitten with engaging enrichment opportunities helps prevent stress and discourages the development of abnormal behaviors. Growing from a kitten into a cat in an enriched environment with the right amount of physical and psychological exercise supports the overall well-being of your cat at all stages of life.

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