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Catify Your Home: Enrich Her Indoor Experience- Zippy Pet

Amir Ali
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Latest posts by Amir Ali (see all)

Posted on March 21, 2022

Alright, cats’ Moms and Dads. Things are getting pretty serious here.  As you are all set to catify your sweet home to enrich the indoor experience of your furry friend. Kudos to you! 

Enriching the indoor experience is essential for the best of the health as well as the mind of your cat. Without a proper surrounding environment, it’s really difficult to satisfy a cat. 

People often complain to me (and other experts) about the behavioural issues that they are facing with their cats. Unfortunately, what they forget is to look closely at their homes from the cat’s eye. Often the very environment where the cat is living proves to be the actual culprit behind those problems.

Featured image for blog post how to catify your home

A study reveals that a lot of behavioural problems such as anxiety, scratching on furniture, refusal to eat food, aggression, inappropriate urination(not using the litter box), spraying as well as defecation in the house is because of the lack of enrichment opportunities indoors. 

So, being a caring cat parent you have every right to know how you can catify your home.

And, that’s why today, you and I will plan to make your home the best place in the world for your cat. 

What Exactly Does the Word ‘Catify’ or ‘Environmental Enrichment’ Mean?

Before I answer ‘why’ and ‘how’, let’s first find the answer to ‘what’.

The word ‘enrichment’ in itself is very vague because different people can take different meanings from it. Some may think about the safety of cats while some about entertainment. Some may see it as a strong social relationship with the owner and companion pets while others may see it as a change in the physical environment.

However, to ‘catify’ (or enrich)the indoor experience of your cat(s), the prerequisite is to clearly define what exactly the enrichment means with cats in context. I define environmental enrichment as:

“Changes or modification made in the physical and social environment; in the routine, activities and nutrition of cats in order to make them satisfied and happy in close proximity to humans in the indoor condition.”

In simple words, the idea here is to make changes in your home to make it more contentful for cats.

Should You Catify Your Home? 

So the question is why is it necessary to take all this pain of making changes to your home?  

Can’t you keep cats happy by simply giving them food to eat and a place to live? 

Well, the answer is, “No! You can’t”


Simply because they are cats. I have told you so many times before and once again I’m reminding you that cats are not like dogs or humans, or goats or rabbits or birds or any other pet that you have in your house. 

Cats have different instincts and different needs. And, their dissatisfaction will either directly or indirectly create health and behavioural problems. Which I’m sure you never want your cat to experience because you love her. 

So, what is the answer to your question…

…Yes, you got it right— You Must Catify Your Home.

Approaches to Catify Your Home

Till now we have understood the importance of environmental enrichment. But as said, catification doesn’t only mean buying some toys or furniture. Instead, it aims to make provisions to meet the physical, social, sensory, occupational and nutritional needs of cats as suggested by Irene Rochiltz in her research.

Hence, when we talk about to catify, we need to look at this from multiple approaches. Let’s discuss each of these briefly.

1. The Physical Environment  

The territory of a stray is a lot more than the house range of indoor cats. So, the first approach is to look closely at your home and see where you can make changes to satisfy her need for owning a territory. This may include increasing the horizontal and vertical spaces, resting places, as well as the designated areas for the elimination of waste. 

2. The Social Environment 

The next approach to catify your home is to look at the social needs of your cat(s). To provide the best care to cats, just ‘love’ is not enough. They need something more. So, as a cat owner, it’s necessary for you to have a knowledge of the basic cat behaviour and her social needs. In short, love and knowledge both are necessary to catify the social environment of your cat. 

When we talk about enriching the social environment., we primarily focus on strengthening the cats’ relationship with other pets and especially her relationship with humans.

3. The Sensory Environment

Cats have an incredibly developed sense of smell and sight. Sometimes they spend hours sitting on a window sill and watching the aesthetics.

What is even more superior is their sense of smell. They may have as much as 200 million olfactory receptors in their nose which is 40X more than humans who have just 5 million. Too bad for us that we often fail to address their sensory needs.

Know that cats use olfactory signs to communicate with the other cats. Also, they claim their ownership of objects, things and even other houses mated by leaving their scent. This is the reason why they knead, scratch and rub their bodies against poles, walls, other pets and humans mates. All such activities provide them with a kind of satisfaction. 

Hence, we make modifications to their sensory environment. Plus, we provide them with something extra(like catnip) with the aim to satisfy their senses and mind.  

4. The Occupational Environment 

The occupational environment simply means engaging your cat to save her from boredom and meet her predatory instincts. 

The life of the cat in the wild revolves around hunt-catch-kill-eat-rest. This is something that domestic cats have learned from their ancestors. This is something that runs in their blood and it’s instinctual. 

Unsatisfaction of instincts leads to sadness, boredom, aggression, change of behaviour and a whole lot of problems. 

So, in enriching her occupational environment we primarily focus on giving her opportunities to hunt-catch-kill-eat and help her Io release all the buildup energy and satisfy her instinct to kill.

5. The Nutritional Environment 

This approach is again linked with the nature of the wild cat but has still been found in domestic and pet cats.

The cats who are living in the forest rarely eat their entire prey at once. Instead, they eat a little and keep it in a safe place. They go and come back again and eat a bit more. That’s how they take nutrition. 

The same pattern is preferable for pet cats. However, it’s not possible and practical in the home setting to give small meals multiple times a day. Because you can’t stay at home all the time. Secondly, free-feeding is not recommended because it may lead to obesity.

So, in order to enrich her nutritional environment, we make provisions in a way that she can eat small amounts of food in small intervals.

Steps to Catify Your Home or Apartment

This Infographic shows you how to catify your home
This Infographic shows you how to catify your home

Now that you have understood the approaches to catify your home like a good student. It’s time to take action. Keeping in mind the above-mentioned needs we will plan to make modifications in our to satisfy the cat.

Step 1- Increasing the Carpet Area and the Reach of Cats

Mertens and Scha”r suggest in their research that indoor cats must have access to at least two rooms. Having access to more space becomes even more critical when you have more than one cat in your home. Therefore they should have enough space to maintain a distance(1- 3 m) among themselves. 

Step 2- Increasing the Vertical Spaces

Cats also prefer to perch at heights such as on rocks, branches and monitor their surroundings. This is something that they have been doing for centuries. It’s in their genes. Hence, they should be provided with vertical spaces such as cat trees, perches, wall-mounted steps, hammocks or anything else that is above most of the objects in the room where they cat sit and watch everything. 

There are a number of cat-friendly furniture available both online and offline to achieve this objective. 

Step 3- Providing Places to Rest and Enjoy Privacy

Cats need a place to rest and enjoy privacy. To achieve this objective I advise you to provide them with cat beds. The general rule is +1 bed to the number of cats.

Similarly, cats’ calming beds help anxious and reserved cats to cope with stressful situations. However, I advise you to adopt proper procedures to train your cat to live freely without fear. 

Step 4- Providing the Adequate Number of Litter Boxes

Having an adequate number of litter boxes is the right of every cat. Don’t make a mistake (like many other cat owners) by providing just one litter box to your cat. 

Choosing the proper litter box is a long procedure that requires trying different alternatives and then selecting the one that your cat prefers. 

Also, you have to place her litter boxes at different places in your home. The more litter boxes you have the better it would be for your cat. 

Another advantage of having more litter boxes than the number of cats is that it would mitigate the probability of inappropriate elimination. 

As a general rule, you should have one extra litter box on the number of cats in the household. Read the article Best Cat Litter Boxes to learn litter boxes management thoroughly. 

Step 5- Strengthening the Cat-Owner Bond

an image showing a man lying with white kitten

This is one of the most crucial steps you can take to keep your cat happy and content. Karsh and Turner claimed in their research that cats that have a friendly relationship with their father(or mother) are not only friendlier with strangers but also less stressed.

This proves that the happiness of a cat indoors depends largely on her relationship with the owner. The stronger the cat-owner bond; the happier the cat will be. Hence, you need to give special attention to building a healthy, trustful and loving relationship with your cat. 

You know that domestic cats are pride animals. They share a very strong bond and relationships with the member of their pride. But this is not only limited to species. When a cat lives indoors she sees humans as a member of her pride. So, when sees you as someone who belongs to her she wants to show affection and expect to receive the same from you. 

Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship with the Cat

1.  Take care of their needs of food, water, shelter and give them additional treats from time to time. 

2. Spending time with a cat as much as you can. 

3. Playing with your cat is significantly important if you want to build this relationship quicker and stronger. You must play with your cat for at least 30 minutes a day. It’s better and highly recommended to set at a fixed time and do it as a ritual because cats really like to do things as a ritual. Playing not only helps you to build a strong relationship but also help her to release her build-up energy and satisfy her instincts.

4. Taking care of her health and grooming needs is another important task that you must have to commit yourself to. If you have a long-haired cat brush her every day. For shorthaired cats brushing sessions on alternate days is ok. 

5. Apart from grooming, you can also pet her, allow her to sit in your lap and knead your tummy, chest, thighs. LOL. Yes, if she likes it then let her do it. 

6. Walking with your cat in the neighbourhood or on a beach by putting her on a harness and leash is another good way to give strength to the cat-owner bond. But don’t force her if she doesn’t like it.

7. Lastly, taking necessary steps to protect her from the aggressive stray cats, dogs and other creatures that may harm her.

All these steps will help you to win her trust and catify her social environment. 

Step 6-  Giving Her Opportunities to Satisfy Her Instincts and Senses

As discussed above, you should make provisions to help her satisfy all the senses in general and the sense of sight and smell in particular. You can make the following provisions to help your cat get sensory satisfaction: 

1. You must have at least one window in your house with transparent glass panes where your cat can sit and watch the outside world. 

2. Placing her tree beside the window is a great idea. This will help kill two birds with a single bullet. First, she can perch at height and enjoy being top of the world. Secondly, she can watch birds, other cats, dogs and anything that’s going on in the outside world. 

3. It’s instinctual for cats to mark their territories and objects with their scent. This is their way of telling the entire world, “Hey, this thing and place belong to me. I live here and you are in my territory.” Cats rub their heads, bodies, knead and scratch objects. Hence, it’s your duty to provide them with beds, scratch posts, condos and trees to help them get sensory satisfaction. Place the scratching post on the henry and exit and at places where she usually spends her time the most. 

4. Another way of satisfying the sense of smell is by giving them catnip and herbs that have similar effects. Not all cats feel attracted to catnip but 50 to 75 per cent of them do. I encourage you to have at least one catnip toy and dried catnip leaves in your home. 

5. Cats also differentiate among humans based on their body scent. Therefore, keeping your t-shirts or clothes is another good idea to give her a feeling that you are around. 

Step 7- Satisfying the Predatory Instinct  

Let’s recall the fact that cats are natural predators. They are truly a killing machine their body is made to hunt and kill. This instinctual behaviour of cats can’t be suppressed or ignored. If you ignore it sooner or later you are going to face the problem of excessive aggression. The only way to manage this is to provide opportunities where they can satisfy their predatory instincts. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t real prey. 

So, your cat needs interactive cat toys to release all this build up energy. Interactive toys as the name suggests are toys that a cat can interact with. The best kind of toy is where you are at one end and the cat at the other. A simple wand that has a string and feathers attached to it can work perfectly. Here are the reviews of the Best Interactive Toys in 2022 that you may read to choose the one that you like the most.

Step 8- Catify the Nutritional Environment

Thanks to so many devices and toys available online that you can make the simple boring mealtime into fun. There are feeders available that only gives out only a small amount of food at a time. Thus, your cat would have to use her intellect and work harder to get the food this may you can help her sharpen her mind. Secondly, these will help your cat to enjoy meals multiple times a day instead of eating upto the neck at once. 

The second option is to hide her food manually and then let her earn it by exploring the house. Again this will satisfy her hunting skills and keep her engaged and free of boredom.

The third heck is to provide her with some special toys which meet the purposes of play and nutrition at the same time. There are toys, wherein you can fill her treats so instead of eating treats by hand sometimes she can have them while playing with the toys. This heck will provide her with a reward as well as an opportunity to play and do a bit of exercise. 

Water fountains can be really effective for cats that are reluctant to drink water from their bowls directly. Running water encourages cats to dring it. Also, these fountains have filters and activated filters to keep the water fresh, clean and free of odour. 

Steps to Catify a Room 

By now you already knew how to catify your home or apartment in general. But let’s ZOOM IN and catify a specific room for cats. So this is the room where your sweetie is gonna spend most of her time so you need to put some extra effort to catify it. Let’s not beat around the bush and explore all the possibilities

Step 1- Choose the Right Room  

This image shows an empty room with a window

Before we start doing any modification in the room, the first step is to choose the right room itself. The right room ft catify is the one that has a window with glass panes where your cat can sit and say hello to the passersby.

Step 2- Make a Cat-friendly Corner

Next, we are in the room. Replace anything which you have placed in front of the window with a cat tree. Your cat would probably be going to spend most of her day perching or resting on this tree.

Step 3- Add More Vertical Spaces

Apart from the cat tree, your cat needs some extra vertical spaces like wall-mounted steps made of shelves, a hanging shelf or condo, a counter or a simple ladder placed against the wall.

Step 4- Cover the Surface with Carpet Tiles or Rugs 

Things like carpet tiles and rugs provide some extra traction and help your cat to jump from one platform to other without getting slipped. Cover the floor with a carpet. All these things are not just for safety and decoration purposes but also to soak the scent of cats to give them a feel this is her kingdom and she’s the Queen here. 

Step 5- Place a Litter Box at One Corner

Your cat can have a nature call anytime. Therefore make sure that she has a litter box right there in the room. If you have just one cat one box is enough if you have a multiple cat household place at least two.

Step 6- Place an Automatic Cat Feeder and a Cat Fountain

I have already told you the advantage of automatic cat feeders and water fountains. So, there’s no need to mention them again. Just place them in a different corner so that there will be a safe distance between the litter box and the feeder and fountain.

Step 7- Place a Cat Bed

Place her Bed inside the room anywhere you want. I also advise you to sprinkle some catnip in her bed and place your t-shirt that has your scent in there. Purrr-fect!

Step 8- Time to Place Some Toys

Now that you have done everything to catify the room, the last step is to place her favourite toys. Interactive toys are not good for this purpose. It’s better to place some catnip toys and remote toys which your cat can be alone with. 

If you have done all this, Thumbs up to you! You did a great job!

Steps to Catify Your Backyard

So have decided that you are not gonna stop there. And, you can’t catify the entire world, so you want to rectify your backyard too. Okay, cat daddy, I understand how much you love your love. Do this to catify your backyard: 

Step 1- Cat Proof Fencing

Safety is immensely important. So the first step is to make your backyard’s fencing cat proof so that your cat won’t go beyond the safe distance. Secondly, it would restrict the other cats and dogs from invading your cat’s territory. 

Step 2- Install a Cat Pen or Enclosure 

Cat pens and enclosures are the cats’ playgrounds. It also works when you don’t have safe cat fencing in your garden. Just leave your cat in there and the enclosure will protect her from the bully stray cats.

Step 3- Place a Cat Tree

Normally, people have shrubs in their garden and cats love to perch on them. But if you don’t have them then you cat place an artificial cat tree in the backyard. It would be great if it has a built-in condo.

Step 4- Install a Hammock

Another thing that cats love to sit on is a swing. You don’t need to go too fancy. Just a wooden platform or tyre hung with ropes and pole support can work.

Step 5- Install Some Wall-Mounted Wooden Steps

Providing some extra vertical spaces to cats where they can walk on without touching the ground is also recommended. Cats love to walk at elevated platforms and jump from one platform to other. Wooden steps or ladders are either mounted with a wall or placed on the floor become a speed-highway for cats.

Step 6- Save the Cat From Snakes

Having a snake in the backyard may risk the life of your cat. Therefore, you must thoroughly check your garden and backyard that it must not have holes and burrows from where the snakes can enter. If you find them, close them completely with plaster. Also, you may seek the help of the Forest Department to shift the snake to a safe place if you have it in the garden.

Steps to Catify a Balcony

Let’s suppose that you don’t have a backyard and have a small apartment with already lots of furniture so you can’t do many changes in the interior or maybe you don’t have permission from the landlord to drill walls or anything else. And, now you are thinking about to catify the balcony. So here’s what you can do: 

Step 1: Cover the Balcony with a Grill

The first step is for the safety of your cat. You need to cover the balcony with a grill so that your cat won’t jump out from it or go to nearby apartments. 

Step 2- Cover the Floor with a Carpet or a Rug

Just like we did in the room, here also you should think of covering the floor area with a carpet. This step is not a must but is preferable. 

Step 3- Place the Litter Box

Catifying the balcony is especially important when you have a small apartment and you are dealing with the odour that comes from the litter box. 

But, remember, catifying a balcony is not an alternative to litter box management. Primarily, the odour problem is because of the poor management of litter boxes. 

Step 4- Hang a Scratching Mat or Place Scratching Post

Providing posts to cats is a good way to save the furniture. Also, they scratch to leave mask and their scent. Hence, we shall place a scratch post on her balcony. 

Step 5- Plant Some Catnip or Cat Grass in a Pot

Next, I want you to plant some fresh catnip in a pot. You already know how much they are attracted to it. Planting it in a pot will make it happy and does no harm to it. 

Step 6- Cardboard Box

Cats are crazy for boxes is a fact. But unfortunately, those boxes don’t look good in rooms but you can keep them on a balcony. It won’t look too bad and make your cat happy. However, if you are too concerned about the look then you can place a cat bed instead of the box. 

Step 7- Place a Cat Tree or a Hammock in a Corner

Cat trees and hammocks are such versatile pieces of furniture that they can be placed anywhere, in rooms, in gardens and even in balconies. So go ahead and place either of the two on your balcony too. 

Step 8- Install Some Perches at the Wall

The last tip is to install some perches on the wall at a different height. There is a huge range of purchases available offline and online. So you can choose the best product that places you and fits in your budget. 

Vertical Spaces Ideas for Cats

1. Cat Trees 

Cat red come in all sizes and budget options. If you have just one cat and you are on a tight budget then you can buy a simple single tier cat tree with a hammock or condo. On the other hand, if you have a multicat household and budget is not a concern then there are many unique trees are available for you in large sizes. 

2. Wall-Mounted Perches

You can install the wall-mounted perches at different heights to increase the options for your cat. Also, these perches will give a modern look to your cat’s room. 

3. Hanging or Wall-mounted Hammock

Another great option or I can say an alternate to perches is a hammock. You can buy a wall-mounted hammock or a hanging hammock depending on your preference. 

4. Cat Activity Scratching Shelves

Cats’ activity shelves provide your cat with an opportunity to have fun and exercise at the same time. You just need to mount them on a wall and you are ready to play with your cat. Install them; take a cat wand; start playing and see the happiness in the eyes of your cat.

5. Wall-mounted Steps 

The next great idea is to add some steps to the wall. You may either ask a carpenter to do it for you, you may make DIY steps yourself or you may buy some ready-made steps that just need to be fixed using a drill machine. Here’s \a cool wall-mounted step that I found on Amazon.

 6. Wood Climbers 

An alternate to wooden steps is a wood climber. You know how much cats like climbing. So instead of being like a ladder(which is in the case of wooden steps), these climbers resemble a hanging bridge that can be mounted on a wall. Rest, your cat knows all the possibilities that it can bring. 

Catify to Satisfy

Let’s wrap this up. That was my take on how you can catify your home. Here I tried not to share just 2-3 tips to add to your furniture but to look at the topic from a broader perspective by giving equal importance to the social environment, nutrition, sensory satisfaction, safety and instincts I hope that after reading this article you have developed a deeper understanding of environmental enrichment for cats of in simple words catifying your home.

But, as you know, there are lots of other cat parents who are struggling with behavioural problems with their cats or worried about their happiness. So, it’s your duty now to help them know all these tips and hecks by sharing this post on your social networks(only if you liked it). If you still have questions, I have a comment section for you or you may mail me directly.