Important Things to Know Before Owning a Cat, Not Found in Cat Care Books

Important Things to Know Before Owning a Cat, Not Found in Cat Care Books

Living with a cat can be unexpectedly challenging, which can be quite sad.

To avoid such situations, it's important to understand cat behaviors and habits, and provide a comfortable indoor environment.

This time, we focus on cat behaviors, habits, and creating a suitable room environment, summarizing things you should know before owning a cat.


Table of Contents

1. Cat Behaviors and Habits You Should Know Before Owning a Cat
∟1-1. Cats Prefer to Be Alone
∟1-2. Cats Like High Places
∟1-3. Cats Are Picky
∟1-4. Cats May Suddenly Run Around at Night
∟1-5. Hunting Instinct Does Not Disappear
∟1-6. Claws Sharpening Can't Be Stopped
2. Preparing the Environment for Welcoming a Cat
∟2-1. Height is More Important Than Area
∟2-2. What Area is Needed to Live With a Cat?
∟2-3. Redecorating Can Cause Stress
∟2-4. Keep Things Tidy and Don't Decorate Much
∟2-5. Many Things in the House Can Be Dangerous for Cats


1. Cat Behaviors and Habits You Should Know Before Owning a Cat

We've compiled surprising cat habits and common behaviors based on actual experiences of living with cats.


1-1. Cats Prefer to Be Alone

While many people keep multiple cats, in reality, cats are not suited for living in groups.

Unlike dogs, cats don't form packs and have a lower social nature because they prefer solitary activities and are territorial.

However, they can coexist with other cats if there's a perceived benefit, especially with relatives or cats they grew up with from kittenhood, including other animals and humans.

Even as adults, they can live together peacefully if they have enough food and a safe place to sleep.

For multi-cat households, adopting sibling cats or starting with kittens together is recommended.


1-2. Cats Like High Places

Cats love to climb high places for three main reasons:

  • ・Less chance of encountering predators and being attacked
  • ・Ability to survey surroundings for safety
  • ・To assert dominance over other animals

High places are less accessible to large predators and offer better awareness of approaching threats, making them ideal for cats' protection.

This also serves to demonstrate strength to other cats sharing the territory.

Additionally, high places have fewer pests like fleas and ticks, and for domestic cats, they provide exercise opportunities.

Cats have evolved to live in high places, so it's an instinctive behavior. Providing cat trees or safe climbing spots is recommended.


1-3. Cats Are Picky

Cats have distinct likes and dislikes. They won't use a bed or litter box if they don't like it, ignore toys they don't prefer, and won't eat food they dislike, even if they are hungry.

In short, their preferences are everything. They won't consider how much you thought about their needs. Remember, they are experts at disappointing their owners.


1-4. Cats May Suddenly Run Around at Night

Cats sometimes run around the house suddenly at night, referred to as "nighttime races" among owners.

This behavior may be to relieve insufficient exercise or frustration and stress.

This can lead to sleep deprivation for the owner and complaints from neighbors.

To avoid this, ensure regular exercise and stress relief for the cat.


1-5. Hunting Instinct Does Not Disappear

Cats, originally hunters, still retain their hunting instincts, even as pets with ample food.

When playing with toys, they exhibit hunting behaviors like pinning down with front paws, kicking with hind legs, and biting.

Even cats without hunting experience instinctively exhibit these behaviors.

This instinct can be problematic if directed towards owners, family, or other pets, as cats have sharp claws and teeth.

That's why it's advised not to play with cats using hands or fingers. Always use toys to play with cats.

Since it's an instinct, stopping them from hunting is impossible and suppressing it can cause significant stress. Allow them to express this instinct through play.


1-6. Claws Sharpening Can't Be Stopped

Cats sharpen their claws, an essential weapon for hunting, as part of their instinct, making it impossible to stop.

Forcing them to stop can cause stress and lead to other behavioral problems.

Claw sharpening also serves as a stress reliever and a way for cats to mark their territory with their scent.

If there are places where you don't want them to sharpen their claws, use protective sheets or sprays with scents cats dislike.

Of course, don't forget to provide appropriate places for them to sharpen their claws. Having multiple scratching posts is advisable for cats to sharpen their claws whenever and wherever they want.

2. Preparing the Environment for Welcoming a Cat

To live comfortably with a cat, it's important to understand their behaviors and habits and provide a suitable indoor environment.

Also, aiming for a safe indoor environment for the cat ensures a peaceful coexistence.


2-1. Height is More Important Than Area

While a certain amount of space is necessary to live with a cat, having places for vertical movement is more important.

As mentioned earlier, cats love to climb high. Ideally, there should be spots higher than the human eye level.

Providing a cat tower is an easy solution, but if there's no space, rearranging furniture to create climbing paths is also recommended.


2-2. What Area is Needed to Live With a Cat?

The required space for living with a cat is about 20 square meters per cat and one person, roughly equivalent to two 6-tatami rooms.

For multiple cats, add an extra 10 square meters per additional cat.

Also, ensure there are hiding and resting spots for the cat during visits or when it wants solitude.

Providing a private room for each cat is ideal for ensuring their privacy.


2-3. Redecorating Can Cause Stress

Cats are sensitive to environmental changes, making room redecorating a potential stressor.

After welcoming a cat, avoid major redecorating and keep furniture movement to a minimum.

If unavoidable, like replacing broken appliances, rubbing new furniture or appliances with a blanket or towel that has the cat's scent might help.

Cats are less anxious around items with their scent.


2-4. Keep Things Tidy and Don't Decorate Much

Cats easily climb high places and can't resist touching intriguing items.

Therefore, when living with cats, it's fundamental to store valuable items in closed boxes or drawers and not decorate high places with items that could be problematic if knocked over.

Also, keep items that could be harmful if ingested out of reach, especially string-like objects, which are particularly dangerous.


2-5. Many Things in the House Can Be Dangerous for Cats

Common items harmless to humans can be dangerous for cats.

This includes plants. Cats, evolved to consume meat, have limited resistance to plant toxins.

Lilies, for example, are extremely dangerous. Even small amounts of lily flowers, leaves, stems, pollen, or water from a lily vase can be fatal.

Onions, garlic, and leeks are also known to be harmful. With over 700 plant species considered dangerous for cats, avoiding plants indoors is the safest strategy.

Store vegetables promptly in the fridge to prevent exposure.

Additionally, be cautious with strong-scented items like aromas, fabric softeners, and perfumes, as they can also be hazardous for cats.


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