Most think that cats are pretty self sufficient, but in reality they have needs too. There are five basic environmental needs that cats in general require. Those are a safe place, multiple/separate key resources, play/predatory behavior, social interaction, and provide an environment for their sense of smell. Cats need these things so they behave properly and are not stressed or bored and lash out. The behaviors can include inappropriate urination, aggression, scratching, biting, and other unwanted behaviors.
The first is important so if the cat feels scared or threatened he can have a safe place. This should have 2 entry and exit points and most prefer it big enough for only them and off the ground. Examples of these “safe” places include cardboard boxes, cat perches, carriers, or hidden beds. Each cat in the house should have its own safe place away from the others.
The second factor is to reduce competition and stress on the cats. These resources are litter boxes, food, water, sleeping areas, scratching areas, and play areas. Each cat should have his space to do all these activities.
Play and predatory behavior is part of the cat’s natural habitat and is important so the cat isn’t stressed or bored. Cats need to hunt this can be replicated using a feather wand, mouse, or other toy. The cat needs to “catch” the prey often to prevent frustration. Using food and rotating the toys can add more to play time and keep the cat engaged.
Figuring out if your specific cat loves human interactions such as petting, brushing, talking, or playing is important so that he is provided what he needs from you. If a kitten was well socialized during 2-7 weeks of age, most likely he will love human-cat interaction. It is important not to force this behavior if the cat isn’t responsive and also with new people in your house.
Cats use smell very readily to evaluate their surrounding. Smells that offend the cat can make the cat have the unwanted behaviors mentioned above and can even cause stress related illnesses. Cats rub on pieces to release their scent pheromones from their face and body onto the target item. Feliway can be purchased and used on new items and old items to make it a comfortable place for your cat to live.
By providing the necessary environmental factors for the cat in your house you can provide a safe and happy environment for your cat to live in. This will help eliminate unwanted behaviors and illnesses.
Photo of my personal cat Mr. Wilson