How I Made A Room To Share With My Cat
Tip: Your Cat's Favorite Room Is Yours, So Share It!
If you have one or more cats (I have 3) that spend the greater part of their lives living with you indoors, you might have wondered if making a room of their own, with all the amenities, would be a good idea. I decided to share a room with my cats, and let me tell you why.
Since few of us have homes large enough, or a room to spare, and since most cats tend to want to be where we are, this I would think would be a waste of space and effort. In most cases, their own room would get little use. Instead, I have found that making a room specifically that you share with your cats works best.
My Sophie Photo By SophieOlsonI have some ideas that will help you and your cat share that space happily.
Cat Rule: My Room Is Your Room
Choose Your Cat Room Wisely
Cats have rules, and one that is hard and fast is that wherever you spend most of your time, sitting or lying down, that is the place they like to be. So, in choosing the room, or area, that you want to become their main hangout, keep that in mind.
Blanche Giving Me The Look by SophieOlson
Thinking an isolated area off the laundry room or in the corner of the basement or attic will work is not an option, unless you happened to prefer that place yourself. (In that case, go for it!)
I share a house, and outside of the commonly shared rooms, I have 2 rooms that are "mine". I choose the smaller of the two for my bedroom, and the larger for my "play/work" room. I made that choice after taking both my needs and my cats needs and habits into consideration. This is my checklist for the cats:
- A window with a sash to sit on to watch the birdies!
- Room enough for a comfy chair to nap on!
- A large enough closet for a litter box, with privacy if you please!
- Provides enough space for several kinds of cat napping options including your chair that you will provide them (it's a cat thing)
If you can fill those requirements, besides your own, which in my case included room for a TV, the computer desk that I am chained to, a few storage type cabinets and room in the closet for tools/junk, then you have a perfect candidate for a cat room!
Décor For The Cat Room
No, Not Kitty Pictures On The Walls
Once you have satisfied your cat's basic needs in the room, you can add to their happiness, which is the main reason for your existence, with carefully chosen items of cat décor.
My Greta by SophieOlson
Depending on the amount of space you have, and your Masters...I mean your cats preferences, you can choose from an array of common household pieces as well as bought items to brighten their lives.
Common favorites of my cats are:
- Those little plastic rings that come off of the milk jug when you open them. My cats like it when I immediately toss it far and high with a flourish. It's a "oh boy, toys!" moment for them.
- Small, very small boxes with the tops taken off. My largest cat enjoys contorting herself into these, and while I keep a few around the house, the one she likes the best goes into THE cat room. Have you noticed that the room we "share" is now called the Cat Room? It's the way it is.
- Shoelaces, long ones or several tied together to make them long. Keep one handy whenever busy in the room, so one hand can twirl it in the air to their delight while you have the other free to use the TV remote, computer mouse, or hold a book. A must have.
- Cat Scratchers. You should have these in all living areas where you spend time. There are rituals that must be attended to and from my experience, scratching when entering a room with people in it, is one of them. A judicious application of catnip on the scratcher top now and then will also keep your cat in good physical shape, as the affect is usually some wild bouts of exercise followed by a good nap.
- Toys that they can attack and easily move. This is important! Toys that can't be batted around are useless! (Except for Mr. Fluffy that you never see played with yet somehow manages to move around the house)
- Toys that hang off things, like doors, chairbacks, ceilings, etc. These require a little more effort, but do get used, if only for a paw slap as they walk by to show it who's boss. (It's helps with their self esteem).
- Soft Throws. A must for napping! Keep your cats comfy all year round (they love the heat!) or they will stalk around the house and pester you until you scream, "WHAT DO YOU WANT??".
The best placement of a throw in the cat room is on your lap.
Not The Cats, Yours!
Fung Shue is a delightful way for you to re-invent your living spaces and feel good about life!
My Sophie Photo By SophieOlson
For your cat, Fung Shue is a swear word, and can mean nothing but torment. (If properly used, it can also be a great behavioral modification tool, if you have the stomach for it).
Yes, you must change your cat room furniture around occasionally, if only to uncover lost toys and little dead creatures they brought in to play with, then forgot about.
However, it's important to make a big deal about the change to the room to them. Say things in a happy sing-song voice like, "Look! Here's your blankie!", and show them some of their toys (not the dead ones) and pat everything they love so they will know their universe has not gone into a FREAKIN' BLACK HOLE for cryin' out loud!
Sometimes my cats wander into the room while I am moving things around and I stop and ask them their opinion on where I should put something. I try to be inclusive. You don't have to do this, it's purely optional.
Have treats handy in case of difficulties. A beer or a glass of wine usually does the trick for me.
In the end, if done carefully, compassionately and not too often, your cat will feel almost as you do by the time you get done.
The Multi-Cat Cat Room
It's All About Territory
If you have more than one cat, as I do, you know that each has their own personality and therefore, needs. You must take each into consideration when planning your cat room to avoid conflicts!
Pea and Sophie Photo By SophieOlson
It can be just little things, like identifying which items or pieces of furniture are favorites of each and making sure each has something they love in the cat room. If you have issues, as I do, where one cat takes over the others favorite chair, or sleeping spot under the nice warm lamp, etc., then other measures must be taken. I usually start an intervention saying in a loud serious voice, "Hey! Stop That!" then ask the offended cat if she is okay, and then point at the offender (it's always the same one, of course, the brat) and say "Bad Girl!". You could pay a lot of money to learn that kind of behavioral training from a Cat Therapist, but I am giving it to you free!
Now, let's talk about the litter box in multi-cat households. Because I have 3 cats, who rarely will go potty outside (I have witnessed them running into the house to use the box on a nice day), I use 2 large boxes. These are "sweater sized" and fit perfectly side by side in the closet in the cat room. I make sure that I always leave both sliding doors to the closet open just enough for quick entry and get away. I know sometimes they will make a real stinkeroo and can't get out of there fast enough! Also, sometimes the "brat cat" will sneak up on one of the other cats while she is trying to go to the bathroom, and will ambush her. It's sad really, I guess I didn't raise her right. Anyway, the entry exit again allows for a quick retreat!
So, remember to be thoughful and like with children, spread the love around! Also, keep lots of air freshener handy!
Patty Cake Cats - It Always Ends This Way
Funny Video, enjoy!