How to develop its space for living with a cat?
You may have noticed that cats love to climb in height, either on a table, a cabinet or a shelf. But do you know why? If the cat is mainly considered a solitary carnivorous predator, it is also prey to predators bigger than him. This survival instinct is still present and pushes most cats familiar to maintain the same reflexes as their wild cousins. This concept is fundamental if we are to understand the attitude of the cat that always tries to perch as high as possible, or failing that, to hide, either to monitor its space to eat, groom ….
A safe hiding …. is hiding in height!
Indeed, the cat chooses to itself the place that seems most appropriate to him to monitor its environment and thus control the inputs and outputs on its “territory”, and this location is high, ideally as high as possible and the junction of two walls to offer the best view possible. The establishment of several shelves of various heights from the ground up to the ceiling and, on at least one side of the house, the cat will respond to this need for security. As the use of cat trees of different sizes, and having different levels of caches.
Every day at the same time …. he makes his rounds!
Similarly, the cat is a very groovy animal and tends to conduct several tours recognition of his “territory”, and that every day along the outermost part of its space. These inspection tours are at the same time every day. Every object that is not in its usual place is inspected and marked as required by rubbing cheeks (deposit pheromones to specify membership). The less unusual objects or obstacles in the daily course of the cat, the less stressed it will respond to these developments. The ideal is to install a walkway in height, with shelves on the perimeter of the house or apartment and certainly do nothing to change places along the way.
Able to quickly hide …. this is important!
Indeed, for Security, the cat needs to be able to both control and monitor its environment, but also to hide quickly if necessary, whether the threat is real or merely perceived. The cat will feel safer in a smaller place, so many cats choose boxes to hide all kinds, including boxes too small for them. Multiply hiding in the house making sure that access is always easy and unobstructed for your cat and it will help him to be more secure, therefore more balanced and stable.
We will see more of these developments in the next article for more specific contexts (shop, pension, kennel, veterinary clinic …).
Anne-Lise Paul, TSA, canine behaviourist and feline
“Education of an animal,” Richard Beaudet, AEC Intervention Strategies in Zoothérapie, 2012
“All about the psychology of the cat” Joel Dehasse 2008