Creative Redecorating in Your Cat’s House

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You can take a cat out of the wild, but, as even the most serene Persian will confirm, you can never entirely take the wild out of a cat. Cats scratch, climb, chew, and mark for reasons that make perfect sense to them. What sometimes seems like destructive, defiant behavior to us is normal, natural behavior to our cats.



But no matter how well we understand that fact, it’s still distressing to see kitty climbing the curtains or getting tangled up in the mini-blinds. The answer is not to try to overcome your cat’s essentially feline nature — that’s just not possible. Instead, creative redecorating is the key when your cat just can’t resist treating your home like the jungle.



Vinyl vertical blinds are unclimbable and virtually indestructible, and are just right for the feline who thinks there’s a pot of catnip at the top of every curtain in your home. Climbers also appreciate a tall, multi-level cat tree, so they have something safe to climb on.



Cat trees are great for scratchers, too. To make sure your furniture is not as tempting as the cat tree, substitute “scratchable” materials with fabrics and substances that are not as appealing to kitty. For example, replace wood furniture with cast iron and avoid wicker furniture, which just looks like a giant scratching post to most cats. Replace rough fabrics with smooth ones, too. (Smooth fabrics will trap less cat hair, too, making them easier to vacuum clean.)



And while you’re choosing a new couch, do consider kitty’s color. Dark fabrics never work with a white cat, and cat hair blends in nicely with many patterns.



Then, make sure you provide scratching posts made just for kitty, and that you put them in places she’ll want to go. (A scratching post in the basement is hardly worth marking!) Make sure the posts you buy are tall enough for your cat to reach up and get a good stretch. If your cat is also clawing the carpet, she may like a nice horizontal scratching pad, too.



What if kitty enjoys scratching and shredding the toilet paper? For a few dollars you can buy a plastic toilet paper cover that snaps on over the roll, but still enables you to unroll the paper.



If your cat likes to chew electrical cords, it’s more than just a nuisance, it’s a danger. Try installing wide baseboard moldings, fixing them to your wall with long strips of Velcro. Then you can run the cords along your wall under the moldings, and the moldings are easy to get off and put back on if you want to move the television or replace a lamp.



For cats who like to raid the trash for both food and toys (you never thought that used piece of dental floss counted as a toy, did you?), simply switch to covered trash cans. There are a variety of attractive designs that come in all sizes, with lids that swing closed, pop up, or snap on.



For your salad-loving kitty, put your plants out of reach, perhaps hanging them from a ceiling hook. Then, grow some cat grass for your cat, and put it in a place that’s easy to get to. If digging in the dirt is a problem, place stones, pinecones or sheets of tin foil on top of the dirt in your plant pots. When all else fails, switch to silk plants — which are a lot less trouble!



Finally, no matter how many expensive things your cat turns into worthless junk, remember that cats don’t act out of spite or anger or malice. They act like cats, and sometimes cats are just animals.

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