Home & Garden

5 things I bought because my cat now owns my home

How to make your housecat a better houseguest

Cat opening door Credit: Reviewed.com / Keith Barry

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Research shows that cats are mysterious, intelligent predators whose ways and behaviors don’t necessarily match up with how we humans see the world.

In my case, that means the adorable cat who is so happy to sit on my lap while I’m watching TV also turns into a terror who slams doors loudly while I’m trying to sleep. All those bad behaviors have a root cause, though—and, as long as a vet gives your kitty a clean bill of health—they can be easy to remedy.

These are products that I’ve bought for my own cat, Lucille. They help make for a happy tabby—and a happy owner.

My cat keeps slamming doors!

In the wild, cats are both predators and prey. That means they obsess over their surroundings, which could either be host to a tasty bird—or a hungry coyote. If your cat is exploring your house, it’s probably because kitty wants to make sure there aren’t any hidden treats or potential predators lurking behind closed doors.

Unfortunately, cats don’t have opposable thumbs, which means they often bat at those doors with their paws and nudge them with their heads—which can be an alarming sound at 2AM. If a cat doesn’t sense that a door can open, however, he or she will leave it alone.

That’s why I recommend these magnetic door catches, which are perfect for keeping cabinets shut—no matter how curious your cat is.

Cat Sleeping
Credit: Reviewed.com / Keith Barry

Sure, Lucille can sleep whenever she wants—but slamming doors keep me awake all night.

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My cat destroys my furniture!

There’s no way around it: Cats are going to scratch. The key to keep a cat from ruining your furniture, however, is by giving your kitty a place he or she wants to scratch more than your upholstery. If you’ve already bought a scratching post or pad that your cat ignores, don’t fret—different cats have different preferences. My cat prefers a flat surface, like this scratching pad.

One of the reasons a cat scratches is to keep his or her claws from getting too long—the way humans clip and file their nails. You should make sure you keep your cat’s nails trimmed, whether you do it yourself or bring kitty to a groomer. Whatever you do, never declaw a cat. The ASPCA has a good list of reasons why.

My cat won’t get into the carrier

I learned this trick from a great episode of NPR’s Fresh Air. According to feline behavior specialist Sarah Ellis, cats are creatures of place. Remember, in the wild, they’re prey—so the sudden appearance of a cat carrier can be alarming.

If you truly want your cat to get in its carrier for trips to the vet or groomer, leave the carrier out so that it’s a familiar part of your cat’s surroundings. Chances are, he or she might want to explore it naturally—or you can entice the cat inside with treats.

You might be more likely to leave your cat carrier out in the open if it’s a more attractive model. These USDA and IATA-approved bubble-window carriers get great reviews on Amazon, and look stylish, too.

Cat Scratching Leg
Credit: Reviewed.com / Keith Barry

Contrary to what Lucille might think, a leg is not a scratching post.

My cat’s litter box stinks up the house!

You’re scooping your cat’s litter every day, you’ve talked about kitty’s diet with your vet, and you’re adding deodorizer to the box—but your guests still make a face as soon as they arrive.

Or maybe you’re just squeamish about having an animal go to the bathroom in a tiny box inside your home—a home where you live, eat, and relax.

If you have the luxury of a spare utility closet, though, consider turning it into a cat’s powder room by adding a pet door. You can still store items on shelves above the cat box, but it will give an extra barrier to odors that you wouldn’t otherwise get if the litter box were out in the open.

Cat in a cardboard box
Credit: Reviewed.com / Keith Barry

Lucille is never bored as long as she's got cardboard.

My cat always drinks from the faucet!

When given the choice, a cat is going to prefer fresh water to standing water. That’s because cats can hear water better than they can see it—and, in the wild, standing water can often carry diseases.

You can break your cat of its sink drinking ways by refusing to turn on the tap no matter how much he or she cries. But reward kitty with a water fountain—one that always has a fresh, noisy stream of water that mimics a babbling brook instead of a muddy puddle.

This stainless fountain looks good, is easy to clean, and costs just over $35—which is a lot less than leaving your water running all day long.

Cat High Five
Credit: Reviewed.com / Keith Barry

It's true—cats and people can get along just fine! High five, Lucille.

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