Although our cats have free run of our house all day long, we created a “cat room” where they spend their nights (when we’re either sleeping or away). Their cat room has fresh water and food, a litter box, beds and boxes, scratchers and toys, and everything they love. They all love this room and going here at night has become a part of their routine – they actually go to it of their own accord at night when I call for them.
WHY WE HAVE A CAT ROOM.
When we first moved here, I wanted to help our furry family members acclimatize to our new home so we turned a spare room into a “cat room”. This created a contained environment with all their favorite things to give them a place that smelled and felt familiar to them. For the first day after we moved here, I kept them in this room only to familiarize them with the sounds/smells of our new home without being overwhelmed. Then every day after that I’d let them out short time (with supervision), increasing the time each day to expand their comfort with the new house while giving them a safe, familiar space to return to (which they often did) if they needed reassurance. After about a week, they were fully acclimatized and we gave them free run of our house during the days, though we still return them to their cat room each night.
Since they loved their cat room so much, I decided to keep it set up up as “their” space and I always put them in here at night and/or if we go out (which is rare considering we work from home) because when they’re in their cat room, I know they’re in a safe environment. This also means they can’t get into anything they’re not supposed to when I’m not around, reinforcing our house cat rules and training methods.
Every time I put them in their room (usually at night before bed), I also always give them their soft food at the same time so they love the routine of going to the room and it’s always a positive experience.
NOTE 1: If you are adopting new kittens/cats, keeping them in a separate room for the first day(s) this way is also a good idea. Ultimately the idea is to slowly introduce the new element (whether its cats/kittens to a house, or a house to cats/kittens) to make the transition smooth and stress-free. More details here.
NOTE 2: I did not “decorate” this room — the cats decorated it in a sense because they chose all the things inside it. So I didn’t try to make it look pretty, I just kept it full of all the things they love most.
This is the litter box we have: white version: Amazon | dark grey version: Amazon | pearl version: Amazon. This litter box style is small, minimal and simple, domed to contain litter spray, and very easy to clean.
- We have one litter box on every floor of our house. It’s very important that litter boxes be easily accessible for the cats (the easier to access, the great chance of preventing accidents) so be sure it’s placed somewhere logical, consistent, and easy for them access. The general rule should be one box on each floor, unless you have a ranch home, then maybe do a few around the house.
- I clean all the litter boxes once a day. Since I scoop the boxes out daily, it takes less than 30 seconds to clean each box. I use a self-clumping litter that sticks to their business as soon as they do it and also eliminates any odor. Ultimately, the cleaner you keep the box, the less odor there is. I don’t use self-cleaning/robot boxes because it’s so easy to clean them in person and also, in my opinion, the litter boxes I chose are visually prettier and more minimal, and also much smaller.
- I don’t try to hide them. Yep, you read that right. I just tuck them into corners where they won’t be noticed. Again, it’s very important that cats are easily able to find their litter boxes, so I keep them easy-to-access and unhidden. I’m not sorry or ashamed of them. The simple fact of life is that everybody poops, even cats. I don’t hide our bathrooms, so I also don’t hide theirs. My way of visually minimizing them is by choosing such a simple and dare I say “pretty” style of litter box (this is the style we have: Amazon) that is both small and a similar color to our walls.
FOOD AND WATER.
We feed our cats an allergen-reducing kibble called LiveClear (link: Walmart | Petco). We have 5 cats and also have cat allergies, so this is one of the many ways we reduce allergies. More details here.
We keep fresh water and bowls of dry kibble always available for them both in their room, and also on the main floor of our house. I free-feed them dry kibble because, since they’ve never known what it’s like to go hungry, none of them overeat and none are territorial around their food.
They also have a continuous water fountain (Amazon | Walmart) in our mudroom – I keep it there because it has a tile floor so it’s easier to clean spills since Chai loves to play in the water with his little paws lol.
Finally, they get 1-2 packs/cans of wet food daily per sibling set. Every time I put them in their cat/kitten rooms, I give them a can of wet food to share between each sibling set so they usually get this at night. But if I put them in their room mid-day for any reason, I give them an extra can then too so the amount they get depends on my need for them to be in their rooms but it averages 1-2 cans/day, per sibling set. Wet food is essentially a treat since their main diet is their kibbles, so since none of our cats are territorial around food or ever actually hungry, they are always happy to share the wet food cans between them.
The cardboard boxes and shipping paper items in this room rotate all the time depending on what we have on hand at any time. Whenever we get a delivery I put the boxes out for them to play with and if I notice a particular one they really love to play with, then I put it in their room until they get tired of it. This makes sure that they always have something in their room that’s new and different and fun.
Be very careful that you always remove any tape, staples, twine, string, or small bits from anything you give cats to play with. Also, never give them normal paper (like printer paper). I only give them the soft crinkly paper used to stuff shipping boxes, and only if it’s in a large piece so that they don’t eat it.
Their “cat tree” was a DIY we built right after we adopted them out of lumber, plywood, and carpet. They love it and play/climb on it all the time and it’s a great place for them to scratch. If you’d rather buy one, here are some options: Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon.
I keep 2 cardboard scratch pads (this is the one that I like best because it’s so simple: Amazon) in here and have 2 on every floor in our house. They love them and usually opt to scratch these over other things in our house as long as they have access to them. You can also sprinkly cat nip on them for added fun!
The metal tree collar (Home Depot) is something we actually never used for Christmas and I was originally intending to return it but Chai fell in LOVE with it so I gave it to them and he loves to sleep inside it. I think he feels like it’s his little castle.
The closet in this room is Matcha’s favorite sleeping spot. I keep one door permanently shut to create a little nook and the other door open. Inside I have a decorative bowl she loved to sleep in as a kitten and still loves but she kinda can’t fit into it anymore because she’s a big kitty now so I also have a plastic storage bin with a blanket in the closet nook that she inevitably actually sleeps in after realizing the bowl isn’t comfy enough. She picked the storage bin herself from the basement. She just started sleeping in it so I gave it to her. But I leave both the bowl and bin for her because I know she loves them.
This is not not in any of the pictures because I don’t actually have it in their room, but I thought I’d mention it anyways. One of our cats’ favorite toys is this little step-stool (Amazon) simply covered with an old bedsheet. We have one of these stools on every floor of our house for convenience anyways, so all I have to do is cover one of them with a sheet to make the cats’ day! This literally keeps them entertained for hours so I’ll often set it up for them in a random part of the house for them to have fun with. It’s small enough to not cause much visual clutter (plus if you have a white stool and white sheet, it’s a pretty minimal look) and since there are only 2-parts to it, it’s easy to clean up.
HEALTH & SAFETY
- Our cats are spay/neutered. This is best for their healthy and prevents territorial behavior.
- Our cats are indoor only. This is best for their safety and longevity.
- Our cats are NOT declawed! Declawing is an horrific, inhumane, barbaric, out-dated practice that is thankfully banned/illegal in many places. Please never EVER declaw a cat!
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