Enjoy this second of four posts that focus on de-stressing your cat’s life. A cat with less stress has fewer behavior problems and better overall health!
You may think you have the coziest, safest home for your cat…but don’t forget cats think differently. Like wildcats, the domestic cat brain is programmed to want the least confrontation and threat possible, whether they are in the jungle or on the couch. Any risk of a predator that could taunt or injure them poses a serious risk to their survival, so they avoid this at all costs. This can explain their change in behavior when in a veterinary clinic where they naturally feel terribly threatened and fearful. It also explains why they may retreat when even the friendliest person visits their home. Providing that feeling of security and safety is particularly important in multiple cat households.
What can you do to keep your cat feeling safe?
Provide plenty of hiding spots in the home. Cats love homemade “tents”, boxes, or even snuggling up in their cat carrier. Having their carrier as a source of comfort in the home is highly encouraged, so when they travel or come to a veterinary clinic they are comforted in it. Often we will even take off the top of the carrier and examine the cat while they stay in it.
Climbing and perches. Cats love to get high! Think of a jaguar perched in the treetops looking down and feeling confident and safe. Providing comfortable safe areas above cabinets, on shelves, or on high cat trees makes happy cats. There are endless ideas for cat shelves and stairs that can be tastefully incorporated in a home to give even more options for cats. Don’t forget to always have an exit route when cats have high shelves, so a shy cat can easily get away if a person or threatening cat approaches from one side. A high perch at the top of a window is a purrfect option to satisfy multiple needs and senses of a cat.
Safe, secure cats are more confident and less stressed about the threat of confrontation. Help out your kitty by evaluating his environment and strategizing a number of places that he can hide out or stand guard at.
Building shelves and stations, and finding other ways to keep you cat feeling safe at home is a great way to bond with your cat. Once you recognize their innate thoughts and sensitivities as “wild cats”, you can be more in tune with your special feline friend!