Pets

How to turn my condo cat-friendly?

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 6th, 2017 12:52 pm
Tags:
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 12, 2006
1382 posts
261 upvotes
North York

How to turn my condo cat-friendly?

About 6 months ago, I met a wonderful girl who owns and cares for a 5 year old "special needs" cat. Allergic to everything, she keeps her home super clean all the time to the point where it's like a clinical lab. Never opens windows, constantly mops/sweeps floors of any debris. She changes clothes when she enters her home, just so that nothing "outside" would contaminate the area and affect her cat.

So I've never owned a pet of any kind before. And I would like to get to the point where this girl will live with me. She loves her cat, and I could never ask her to get rid of her cat. Which means that I will need to turn my home cat-proof. I currently live in a condo unit with lots of windows and not originally furnished with a pet in mind. I've a few concerns and would love people's opinions on what I can do to make it work.

1) I have a shelves (ground-level) with cubby holes and such. TV stand with lots of game consoles/wires all at ground level and easily reachable by a cat. Do I basically need to replace all these shelvings / TV stand with something with doors?
2) My unit is a corner unit with lots of glass windows and faces west. So in the afternoon, when the sun shines in, it can get incredibly hot. How should I deal with this? I know I can't open the windows as the cat can't handle all the noise and dust from the outside.
3) I guess I'll need to sell (or dump) existing furniture and buy climbing trees and make space for the cat.

I feel like this is a monumental task I have to do to convert my home and so overwhelming that I don't know where to start. But those 3 points are probably my top three concerns. I'd love for any advice from people who've gone through similar transformations for their homes.
4 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 22, 2005
18594 posts
3704 upvotes
Thornhill
Hi, I recently "catified" my condo when I adopted two kittens. Though a 5 year old cat won't be as curious, they will still sniff, lick and bite new things and their surroundings.

1. Yes, keeping things in covered boxes or cubbies with doors/lids are useful. Cats like dark cramped places so they will try to get in places they shouldn't. They'll try to get behind appliances, under couches, behind desks. They will also jump onto things so you can't just keep things off the table. Valuables need to be placed really high up or behind doors/cases. They will paw at random things, be it on the floor, table or counter.

2. Cats like looking out windows, I bought a window hammock that suction cups onto the window and the cats are there often to nap. I don't get much direct sunlight (I face east) so I can't help you there.

3. You don't need to trash what you have, unless the cat has allergies to it. If trained properly, cats wont destroy your furniture as long as it has multiple places to scratch and stretch. Climbing trees are nice to have for sure, it will keep them off tables and counters. Basically if they go on your counters, table or shelves, give them something even higher and they'll gradually move there. A lot of commercial cat trees are beaverpuke (MDF board) and aren't stable, but good cat trees are expensive. There are tons of DIY cat tree ideas from modifying furniture to just installing shelves on the wall.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
May 9, 2006
9885 posts
912 upvotes
coriolis wrote:
Dec 1st, 2017 6:19 pm
Hi, I recently "catified" my condo when I adopted two kittens. Though a 5 year old cat won't be as curious, they will still sniff, lick and bite new things and their surroundings.

1. Yes, keeping things in covered boxes or cubbies with doors/lids are useful. Cats like dark cramped places so they will try to get in places they shouldn't. They'll try to get behind appliances, under couches, behind desks. They will also jump onto things so you can't just keep things off the table. Valuables need to be placed really high up or behind doors/cases. They will paw at random things, be it on the floor, table or counter.

2. Cats like looking out windows, I bought a window hammock that suction cups onto the window and the cats are there often to nap. I don't get much direct sunlight (I face east) so I can't help you there.

3. You don't need to trash what you have, unless the cat has allergies to it. If trained properly, cats wont destroy your furniture as long as it has multiple places to scratch and stretch. Climbing trees are nice to have for sure, it will keep them off tables and counters. Basically if they go on your counters, table or shelves, give them something even higher and they'll gradually move there. A lot of commercial cat trees are beaverpuke (MDF board) and aren't stable, but good cat trees are expensive. There are tons of DIY cat tree ideas from modifying furniture to just installing shelves on the wall.
I bought one of those window hammocks too, but my cats ignore it. It's strange as they love staring out the window and love hammocks. Also cats can be destructive, but don't mean to be. My cats know not to scratch my leather couch, but they will scratch it when they are chasing each other around the house.

Things to do:
1) Get rid of any aloe plants, lilies, chrysanthemum, etc (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/24-com ... -pets.html) or if your have chocolate lying around like in a candy bowl. These are poisonous to cats.
2) Get a cat tree. Preferably a tall one. This is a cat's safe haven. Also one with sisal rope for scratching. There are alternative solutions that take up no space. Like coriolis mentioned, do some reaserch. You'll find simple DYI solutions that are cheaper than buying commercially made cat trees (which tend to fall apart quickly).
3) Slowly acclimate your cat into your new house. Keep them in just one room and then slowly open up the rest of your house. This is more for home owner, you might skip this with a condo. OR first just use your bedroom and then open up to the rest of the condo. You should also brings as much of the familiar items with the cat like toys, cat tree, food bowl, etc. The more familiar items, the easier it is for the cat to get used to the new surroundings.
4) Get rid of anything that can tip over and break easily. Cats love nudging things off tables. It would suck to come home and see your favorite mug shattered.
5) Food, water and litter placements. I didn't know this myself, but these things should all be in separate locations. The litter is obvious as who wants to eat where they poo? But having the water separate from the food is another thing that cats prefer.
6) Proper cable management. If your cat is anything like mine, they love chewing on wires. Keep the wires out of site and you won't have a drawer full of useless chargers like I do. Also being a gamer, you don't want to put your consoles in an enclosure. They can over heat rather quickly if you do. Any shelving is fine, just bundle the wires behind the TV. Maybe use cable covers. As for controllers, get those charging docks, so you don't need any micro USB cable to charge devices. Also get a wireless headset if you use one. I should note, this is more of a kitten problem than an adult cat... but mine are 9 and still do this.
7) Use lavender scented air freshener. It's calming for cats.

Don't worry about too much light. Cats love to sun bathe.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 2, 2003
1439 posts
357 upvotes
Beautiful B.C.
Not all like the dark and many like a lot of heat. In the summer in the Okanagan (where it's usually 40-50 in the summer) both our cats will choose to sit in the front window during the day when the sun is pouring in. This is the hottest place in the whole house. And one of our cats likes to burrow under the bedroom covers, while the other doesn't care about sleeping in the dark at all.

Also, my general experience is that cats like high places and a variety of them. You spoke about a lot of shelving. I would suggest making an upper shelf (particularly one overlooking the window) accessible to the cat. And put something comfy up there, like a large pillow or folded blanket. If you do that, make sure it's secured with string or something so it won't fall down. If your shelves aren't high currently and you're thinking of getting something different, I'd suggest something high with a flat top shelf for the cat. Another place we use as a high place is on top of the fridge with a folded blanket. One of our cats likes to sit up there and supervise kitchen activities. We also have a walk-in closet with high shelves along the perimeter. We have a ramp covered in carpeting leading up to the shelves and the cats often hang out there also.

Ditto to what JoeyJoeJoe said about litter, food and water placement. For us, it's litter in the bathroom, water in the bedroom and food in the kitchen. And get rid of all the plants JoeyJoeJoe listed. And make sure to get at least one cat tree, as JoeyJoeJoe also said. We have one of those and also use those recycled cardboard cat scratchers because one of our cats is *obsessed* with cardboard and paper and this helps to focus that obsession.

And at this time of year when small, whole nuts are available all over, keep in mind that most cats love, love, love to chase small nuts like hazelnuts. If you buy just a few in bulk, they're cheap as dirt. Although you'll need to retrieve them frequently from under the stove and/or fridge.
"So let it be e-mailed - so let it be done!"
Member
Aug 13, 2006
271 posts
23 upvotes
1. Some cats are crazy about cables, some are not. I have cables everywhere and they don't care for it. My cats only like headphone cables, hair ties, and rubber bands so I go out of my way to hide them. Pay attention to your gf's cables and see if they are out in the open and have chew marks. That should give you an idea of the cat's habit.

2. Cats love sunny spots so it will probably be happy (unless her special needs makes her sensitive to it). For your comfort, I suggest getting curtains (blackout curtain, etc.) to keep the room temperature comfortable.

3. Agree with other posters. Keep your furniture unless it disagrees with the cat. If it becomes an issue, you could always use her furniture once she moves in. Tree is nice to have but not a must. More important is to have scratching post since cats have natural desire to scratch. I suggest that you only buy cat-related accessories after consulting with gf as cat owner typically know what their cats like and don't like.

4. No holiday decorations. They will become chew toys and barf.

5. Toilet lid needs to be down.

Btw, kudos for being so thoughtful and proactive.

Top