Second Chance: Catify to Satisfy

Second Chance: Catify to Satisfy

As I sit and wait for my new family to appear here at the Second Chance shelter I have been considering what might help make the transition into a new home go more smoothly for all cats. I believe the single most important thing is to properly prepare your space.

Below are tips to create a safe, comforting and stimulating setting –  keeping in mind your own desire for well-designed, comfortable digs.


The art and science of designing the perfect environment to accommodate your cat’s needs, as well as your own, actually has a term: “Catifying.” (You can learn more in behaviorist Jackson Galaxy’s books :Catification” and “Catify to Satisfy.”) Preparation (all of which is very easy) varies depending on whether you bring home a kitten, adult cat or senior kitty.

When catifying for a kitten, kittenproof everything. That means removing anything that is potentially dangerous like loose cords or small objects that could be choking hazards. Create soft comfortable beds and cocoons that are easily accessible. Get a litter box with low sides and tip-proof food and water dishes that are also kitten sized. You’ll want lots of fun toys to help your new kitten learn how to hunt and play – try putting them in a decorative basket or bin with low sides so kitty can reach inside.

When bringing home an older cat, you’ll need to accommodate the instinct to climb. Being up high helps cats get a better perspective of their environment. Remember, cats are both predator and prey in the wild, so this means they are constantly surveying their surroundings, looking for potential threats and dinner.

Start to catify by clearing off the top of a bookshelf and adding a non-slip surface, like a piece of carpet or a yoga mat. Then add a cat tree or a cat shelf leading to the new perch. When introducing your new cat to your home, show her the climbing area by leading her up with a toy.

Adult cats will also need to have resources like a litter box, food and water in an area of the home where they feel safe. Set up a room for your new cat with all of these items as well as beds, scratchers and toys. This room will be “base camp” for your new cat, providing a sense of security and territory.

Senior cats have a few special needs when it comes to catification. Create lots of cozy spots that are easy to reach. Seniors can’t always climb as high, so set up a sunny window perch with a soft bed, or consider adding a heated cat bed.

Depending on your senior cat’s mobility, add stairs or ramps to make it easier to climb up to the window perch or onto the sofa. Your senior cat will still need places to scratch and some toys to encourage staying active. Keep you senior comfortable and stimulated and enjoying the golden years.

My name is Hoot. I am a one-year-young black female kitten. I was a frightened kitten when I arrived at Second Chance with my friend Owlet. It has taken some time for me to start trusting people again, but recently I have been more curious and eager for human attention. I now feel ready for a new family and home, especially one that has been properly catified!


Dogifying your home is a whole other topic. Maggie, a 1-2 year-old female American Staffordshire Terrier, suggests just filling it with lots of treats and chew toys and people to play with… Maggie has not met a human or dog she doesn’t want to smother with kisses (after getting over her initial shyness). She walks well on a leash and plays well with other dogs and is super adoptable material.

Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is  San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.

Michelle & Wallowby

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.