#BetterWithPets: Is Your Home a Purrfect Habitat? #spons

By far, the most pawpular part of Purina’s #BetterWithPets Summit in NYC earlier this month was the cat habitat, complete with lots and lots of adorable cats and kittens.

But it wasn’t just about getting to pet cute kittens. It was to demonstrate that your cat’s emotional wellness and his habitat are inextricably linked. Catification isn’t a cat lady fad; it’s an integral part of your cat’s health.

Cats are most often surrendered to shelters for one of two reasons: inappropriate scratching and inappropriate elimination.

However, it’s important to understand the “why” behind these issues. You can resolve them before having to trade in your cat.

Cats are Gonna Have Cat Scratch Fever

Cats have a natural driving need to scratch, both to keep their claws sharp for hunting and to mark their territory. Even declawed cats will go through the motions of scratching.

The solution is to provide permissible surfaces for scratching like this sisal rug featured in Purina’s Catlandia cat habitat:


(Do I get points for playing with this kitten for a half hour yet resisting the overpowering urge to smuggle him home?)

And, you need to recognize that each cat has preferred scratching styles. Some prefer horizontal surfaces, some prefer vertical. If your cat has a preference for vertical scratchers, consider walling a room with sisal, as in this example (this wall was PAWSOME!):

sisal-wallOK, so I know that’s not practical for most homes, but one can dream!

Providing a variety of scratchers in different areas of the house can help, too. I liked this wall-based one:


ASIDE: Despite having survived a wallpaper removal nightmare in our recent home renovation, I was thoroughly in love with this kyoot wallpaper and would paper any room with it if the hubs gave me the go-head (which ain’t gonna happen). 

Here’s a closer look:


Scratching styles can encompass a preference for different surfaces. Presented with a sisal wall, your cat may head back to the couch. So maybe that cat prefers carpeted type surfaces. Or try cardboard or wood. Once you identify the purrfect surface for your cat, it’s easy to get her to switch from furniture or carpet to the scratcher using catnip or catnip spray.

Solving Pee Problems

The second biggest reason cats are surrendered is inappropriate elimination — most often, peeing outside the box. First, ensure the litter box is kept clean, and that there are a sufficient number of boxes for all of your cats: one box for each cat, plus one. Five cats, six boxes.

If the litter box doesn’t need to be flushed, take your cat to the vet. It could be a life-threatening UTI or blockage.

If your cat is deemed healthy, make sure the box is not in a noisy, high-traffic area. Cats like privacy! And, they should be positioned around the periphery of the house, similar to the way cats in the wild prefer to poop in the outside perimeter of their territories rather than where they eat.

Like the scratchers, cats have litter box configuration preferences:

Litter type: If clay litter isn’t working for your cat, try an alternative, like Tidy Cats Pure Nature, which is made from cedar, pine and corn.

Box Size: If you have a plus-sized cat, the box may be too small. Try a jumbo-sized litter pan. Or a room sized one like this one Dr V is trying out:


Litter Smell: Cats are sensitive to smell, so if you are using a litter with a fragrance, try fragrance-free.

Box Type: Using a covered box? Try an uncovered one. Sometimes in a multi-cat household, cats can feel trapped inside covered litter pans. It’s hard to do your business when Tripper is outside, giving you the “hurry-up-already” or “once-you’re-done-I’m-gonna-pounce-on-you” look.

Mom, I’m Bored

Cats are not low-maintenance animals. Left to their own devices they can get into all kinds of trouble. It’s important to play with them and provide activities that can keep them occupied when you’re not around.

Provide areas where your cats can climb high and enjoy their natural inclination to observe without being observed. If you have the space, this is an ideal configuration:

better with pets habitat design

Or, try a playhouse:


It featured lots of cubbies in which the cats could hide and stalk, lots of sisal for scratching, and fresh cat grass and catnip!


Cattipper’s Paris Parmenter was so in love with this little black kitten

Lighting in this cat environment was kept low and was LED, determined by Purina scientists to be optimal for cats. The cats here were all purrfessional actors, including one that’s soon going to be in a Roomba commercial. All were obviously happy with the habitat despite the raucous crowd of CCLs vying for their attention.

#BetterWithPets Promotes Emotional Health and Wellness

#BetterWithPets is an ongoing program of Purina’s that demonstrates the company’s research prowess (it’s not just about food and litter) and devotion to enriching the bond between pets and their owners. This is the third one I’ve attended, and I always come away with a renewed love for my furry charges, and an evangelistic zeal for spreading the word that life is indeed Better with Pets.

Read more of Mousebreath’s experience at #betterwithpets.


THE FINE PRINT: Purina sponsored Mousebreath’s attendance at #BetterWithPets. 


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Category: Featured, Lifestyle

About the Author ()

Mousebreath Magazine is an award-winning online magazine that celebrates cats and the cat-centric lifestyle. Editor Karen Nichols is a popular conference speaker and writer, whose current project is The Cat Scout Handbook. She is also the denmaster at CatScouts.com.

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