It probably comes as no surprise that most cats need some alone time.
A cat sanctuary, or refuge, is a place in your home that satisfies that need.
For your cat's well being, you should set aside a space in your already cat friendly home where your kitty can recharge her batteries, undisturbed.
Your cat will thank you for setting up this little kitty haven.
What's a cat sanctuary? It's simply a room (or area of the house) that your cat can use to rest, groom, play, renew, refresh, and relax.
The room should be warm, well-lit, and preferably have a window or three. Your cat can go there, and find a hiding spot or undisturbed area to sleep or play in, or lounge by the window.
It's important for your cat to have her own fortress of solitude. It's especially important if there are extra demands placed on your cat by other pets, children, or during times of change or upheaval in the house.
Cats with special needs or those that are recovering from surgery or have a chronic illness will also benefit from a quiet retreat with all the comforts.
Basically, for the most part though, we're talking about spoiling your cat. Spoiling your cat, of course, is all part of good cat care.
The sanctuary should have certain elements and items.
Once you've selected the room or area of the house for the retreat, then it's time to decorate it with all the goodies. There are a number of products that should be in the sanctuary.
The ideal sanctuary would include:
If there's a litter box in that area of the house, it's not necessary to have one in the sanctuary room itself.
The centerpiece and cornerstone of any cat sanctuary will often be a glorious piece of cat furniture known as the cat tree, cat condo, or kitty condo. These are sometimes collectively referred to as cat climbing furniture.
These usually consist of some sort of tower-like structure with one or more perches, which allows both climbing/exercise, and resting in a high, or at least elevated place (a kitty favorite!).
There may also be scratching surfaces built in. Some of these scratching surfaces are sisal, some are carpeted, and some are made of soft wood.
It's been said that encouraging cats to scratch on carpeted surfaces sends a confusing message because it feels too much like the areas you don't want your cat to scratch. You might want to keep that in mind when selecting a tree.
Some cat trees have hollowed out trunk areas to hide in, and some have toys built in as well. Dangling, fishing pole-type toys hang from various areas of the condo in case your cat wants to play.
An adequate supply of cat toys are essential to keep your kitty stimulated, release pent up stress, and provide exercise.
Cat Beds and Perches
Perches and beds by the window are great for allowing your cat a place in the sun, a good viewing spot, and a great place to rest, self-groom, and relax. Cats prefer areas without drafts, and, if you're in a cold climate, watch out for cold spots and poor weatherstripping.
If your cat tree doesn't have enough of a scratching area, or you have multiple cats, you'll want a scratching post or board as well. Vertical scratching posts provide a good stretching motion. Some cats like to scratch vertically, others horizontally, and still others will switch off. Consider all that when choosing your scratching posts.
Food and Water
Food and water bowls should be set up a good distance from any litter boxes.
A litter box nearby, but far enough away from food and sleeping areas may help to prevent inappropriate elimination problems. This box should be kept meticulously clean since it's near an area where your cat frequents.
If you'd like to make your home more cat friendly, there's an interesting book by Bob Walker called The Cats' House.
A scratching post turned into an entire house modification to please the kitties.
Make sure you get the full sized version of the book (hardcover) so you can see all the images.
And, speaking of cat friendly homes, check out this link.
Continue the cat sanctuary idea outside the house as well. Outdoor cat enclosures, sometimes called catios, or an outdoor cat house will allow your cat to experience the outdoors in safety.
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