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How to Prepare Your Home for a Kitty: 14 Tips From the Pros

Bringing home a cat is an exciting time for the family. They provide laughter, companionship, and can even teach little ones about responsibility. However, preparing your home for a kitty can bring about some uncertainties and renovations to ensure your cat is well taken care of and comfortable in your home.

To help you get started, we reached out to 14 cat experts, from Seattle, WA to Ottawa, ON. Here is their best advice on how to prepare your home for a kitty.

1) Vertical space is key for cats

Using vertical space in your home is a great way to prepare your home for a kitty because it provides an additional territory and safe space for cats to climb and relax on, which is natural for their species. You can achieve this by adding cat shelves, cat trees, and clearing off safe spaces on top of cabinets and bookshelves for cats to climb to. Bonus points for securing a cat bed or mat for optimal relaxation on a high perch. – Cat Advocate

2) Leave cat furniture in communal spaces

Cat furniture is meant to be a jungle gym for cats to expel their energy – something to swing around on, scratch on, and sleep on when they are all tuckered out. As cats are also part of the family, cat furniture needs to be placed in the area of the house where the family spends time. Cats love to hang out and keep an eye on things. – Purrniture

3) Install a sensory garden

Prepare your home for a kitty by creating a space for your cat to be a cat. You can install a sensory garden for your cat with pet-friendly edibles like wheatgrass and catnip to roll in and nibble on, as well as putting brushes and different textures on corners for scratching and rubbing on. Your cat will thank you, and your furniture and plants will too. – Pet Harmony Team

4) Provide your cat with some much needed stimulation

Whether your new cat is from a breeder or rescued, they still have a lot of wild instincts. Help your cat adjust to your home by providing trees in the form of upright scratching opportunities and plenty of high vantage points. You can also simulate fresh water with a water fountain and allow them to hunt for prey using wand toys and puzzle feeders. – Pawsitive Reinforcement PA

5) Prepare your home for a kitty by creating a safe zone

Whenever you are preparing your home for a kitty, the homeowner is responsible for ensuring the transition is as smooth and stress-free as possible. Because cats innately like to spend some time by themselves to decompress, especially in new environments, a safe zone should be set up in an easily accessible, but particularly quiet and private area, such as a comfortable, high-sided bed in your bedroom. – Dr. Spano of Behavior Vets of NYC

6) Let your kitty climb

Climbing comes naturally to cats and should be part of their daily exercise routine. Cats satisfy this instinct to climb, so if you're not lucky enough to live in an environment that has opportunities for climbing, a cat tree is the perfect substitute to have when preparing your home for a kitty since it's similar to a cat's natural habitat. – Hicat®

7) Purchase an additional litter box to prepare for a kitty

However many cats you have, have that many litter boxes plus one when preparing your home for a kitty. This will help keep any territorial or abnormal behavioral issues with urinating and defecating down to a minimum. – Dr. DeMarco of GoodVets

8) Invest in furniture that compliments your home decor

If you care about the design of your home, you'll likely want to invest in a cat tree and scratching post that'll complement your home décor and last for years to come. All cat trees and scratching posts are subject to wear and tear, so it's essential to find a brand that offers replacement parts, keeping your cat furniture looking great in your home and 100% functional for your kitty. – Mau Pets

9) Give your cat floor to ceiling options

Some kitties prefer to stay on terra firma, and more daring kitties reach for the sky. When preparing your home for a kitty, give options with accessible cat-safe shelves and multiple bed options on the floor. – Behavior United

10) Cover up small areas your cat can get into

Spaces such as the small space with wires behind your TV or entertainment center, behind your washer and dryer, the sides or back of your refrigerator, and under your recliner can be very dangerous for your cat. One space that we miss is the open space above the toe kick where base cabinets come together in the corner of your kitchen or bath. Kittens can get in and behind the toe kick board, so you can prevent this by stuffing a towel in the hole or covering it with cardboard to save your cabinets and your new kitten. – For the Love of Cats

11) Kittys love cardboard boxes

When preparing for a new kitty, always keep empty cardboard boxes strategically placed around your home – my two cats, Elliot and Olivia, love spending time in them. Pro tip: Add blankets or small toys for a cozy space. – Harris Baker, Chief Feline Officer – Catfluence

12) Let your cat bond with spaces in your home

Even when you have your space wonderfully prepared for your new cat, you can expect there to be a transition period. Cats bond to their spaces first (even before they bond to their humans), so moving into a new home can be temporarily stress-inducing. You may want to offer flavorless CBD oil on treats or with their meals until they realize that they have been fortunate enough to end up in their new home. – All The Best Pet Care

13) Control odors by providing your cat a secluded space

Cat litter presents unique challenges like odor and mess control to homeowners. It is important for homeowners, especially families with small children or other small pets, to provide your new kitty with its own space that is separate from curious toddlers or treat-hungry dogs. A secure, window-mounted cat apartment with litter tray is an easy to install extension of your home, preserving valuable floor space in the home and moving the odor and mess of litter safely outside. – Kitty Kat Flat

14) Spend time with your cat

Challenge yourself to be a better cat lover by doing something with or for your cat every day. As you prepare your home for your kitty, you can include small activities, like letting them sniff each item as you put groceries away, bringing safe things from outdoors inside for them to check out, playing music or kitty TV, napping inside your boxes or more involved like testing out food and toy preferences, clicker training, catnip bubbles, or food toys. It doesn't have to be much, but your efforts can really change your cat's life in incredible ways. – Jones Animal Behavior