Hi everybody! Molly from Cat Behavior Solutions here, with your Bonding Tip of the Week. This week’s bonding tip is: give your cat choices.
From time to time, you’ll have needed to confine your cat to keep them safe or out of the way, whether it’s in a crate or in another room in the house. Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable that makes your cats feel? It’s because cats need choice, they need the ability to explore where they want to explore, within reason, of course.
Why are choices important? Well, giving your cat choices gives them confidence. By now, you know how cats work—they’re the kings of the castle, the queens of the court. They like to have control over their environment, and the basis of that is having say over what you do, and don’t, want.
An example of giving your cat choices is providing multiple beds. For instance, Pico famously has his wall bed above the back door, but he also has a bed in our bedroom and in each of our offices. There are beds all over the house so he has choices.
This becomes even more important in a multi-cat household. Let’s say there was only bed in the house, and it was the favored one. Imagine cat number two comes along and says, “Well, I want to be sleeping up there.” With only one bed to choose from, the competition might create some bullying between your cats.
If you have a multi-cat household, giving your cats choices always means multiplying the resources. I always say: have more resources than you do cats. If you have two cats, you need at least three favorite sleeping spots. You also need multiple scratching posts. Pico has one in the living room and another one just like it right next to my desk, plus a horizontal scratching post in a different room.
Pico has lots of choices, because choice feeds confidence. And when your cat is confident, they’re going to be much, much more comfortable in the environment that you provide them, and therefore more willing to bond. Don’t you feel more comfortable when you have the ability to choose, too?
Now to your friends, giving your cat a bunch of choices is going to look like spoiling them—and that’s okay! It’s great to spoil your cat. So spoil your cat with choices this week. Until next time, keep calm and purr on.
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