Cats need environmental enrichment, particularly if they are indoor or apartment cats. Without it, they can easily become bored, frustrated, and stressed, which can lead to a variety of behavioral issues like inappropriate toileting or aggressiveness, for example.
However, it’s not always easy to find environmental enrichment that’s also pleasing to the eye. Many commercial cat trees are eyesores and don’t fit in with the average modern decor that cat owners may have. Plus, if you live in a small space, you may be reluctant to add more bulky furniture inside it. But don’t worry, there are plenty of hacks you can use to incorporate your cat’s needs into your home decor, all the while saving and even creating more space. Here’s how!
1. Make the top of your closets your cat’s special space
Firstly, you need to optimize the space you already have. Think of all the cabinet and closet tops you have and that you’re not using! Your cat could make these spaces their hiding and lookout spots, so use them to your advantage!
Place a comfortable cat bed on top of every high closet and/or cabinet in your home. Make an access to each of these beds, either by mounting shelves onto the wall, or by placing furniture strategically so that your cat can use it to reach the top of your cabinets.
2. Turn mounted wall shelves into a cat jungle gym
If you have some empty wall space - use it! This will increase the space your cat has to explore, provide them with excellent physical exercise opportunities, and help them to feel safe.
Buy any shelves that can be mounted onto a wall and that would be both large and sturdy enough to hold a sleeping cat. Once you’ve installed your shelves, you can glue pieces of carpet or rug on them to make them more comfortable for your kitty.
Of course, don’t use these shelves as storage space - if you do, they’ll be too cluttered for your cat to use. Remember to also place them strategically so that your cat will easily be able to access them all. You must place them in a sort of “stepping stone” style so that your cat can easily go from one to the other without injuring themselves.
3. Transform a cube compartment into a cat hideout
Cats need to be able to hide if they feel nervous or unsafe. Remember, animals have a fight-or-flight response to situations, and if they can’t flee, they may lash out! Give them the opportunity to hide away so as to avoid any nasty confrontations.
If you have cubic shelves at home, use them to your advantage. Empty out one of the shelf spaces (preferably one higher up) and put a cubic cat bed inside. Now your cat has the perfect place to sleep and hide!
4. Turn a step-ladder into a lookout and scratching post
Scratching helps your cat to mark their territory, keep their claws in tip-top shape, and stretch out their muscles. As for lookouts, they can provide terrific opportunities for mental stimulation. Step-ladders are useful to have in the home, and they’re also very easy to convert into furniture that can satisfy both of these needs for your cat.
Glue a piece of rug or blanket on the top of your step-ladder so it’s a comfortable place for your cat to sit or even sleep. Tie rope around the steps to make it into a multi-level scratching post. You can even attach a little dangling toy to the ladder for your cat’s enjoyment!
You can still use the step-ladder when you need it, and place it by a window when you’re not using it. That way your cat can use it as a lookout to watch the birds outside!
5. Transform your coffee table into a cat hammock
Cats spend most of their time sleeping. But if you’re in a small space, they might not have much choice of where to sleep, which can be quite stressful for them. You must provide them with as many sleeping spots as possible, and creating a hammock for them is a great way of doing just that!
Get a piece of fabric and secure it to the legs of your coffee table. That way your cat will have a comfortable place to rest - and it won’t take up any extra space!
6. Transform a simple cabinet into a private cat toilet
Cats like to have a quiet space to do their business, and an enclosed, private cabinet is a perfect way to provide them with that!
Of course, you’ll have to install a cat flap or opening on the side of the cabinet so your cat has easy access to it at all times. If the cabinet has multiple levels, you can use the bottom level for the litter tray, and the upper levels for storing the litter and cleaning utensils.
You can still use the top of the cabinet to store things - so it’s not a waste of space, and at least, it looks a lot prettier than a litter box!
7. Turn your window or balcony into a catio
Just like us and any other animal, cats like to be outside. They like to smell new smells, get some fresh air, and watch the birds flying in the sky. Providing them with an outdoor enclosure is a great way to mentally stimulate them.
Secure protective netting around the sides and top of your balcony so that your cat can’t jump off of it. Special cat netting is very thin and discreet, so it’s not too much of an eyesore, especially if you style your balcony or windowsill with some wooden shelves or even plants and flowers. Depending on what type of outdoor space you have, you’ll need a drill and some knobs and screws to get started. Then you can let your cat out to enjoy the outdoors anytime!
Did you like any of these ideas? Will you be trying any of them for your cat?