Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in October 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in October 2019.
Cats are a bundle of joy, so make sure you give them the best life possible and make yours easy with these clever life hacks.
Please feel free to share this article with your fellow cat-loving friends and family!
1. Teach your cat to the give their paw
It's not just dogs that can benefit from learning this trick, it will also help reinforce your relationship with your cat. Grab some treats, let your cat smell them then open your hand up again without any treats.
Issue the command for the paw - you may need to gently encourage this to happen - and when they do it, give them a single treat. Repeat this a few times and do it every day for a few days.
2. Wrap your furniture legs in twine
Does your cat love scratching up your furniture and floors?
If your kitty has a favourite piece of furniture that they like to get their mitts on, make it more enjoyable for them to scratch AND save your furniture from being ruined with some twine. Simply wrap it tightly around the legs and let your kitty go wild.
3. Suck out cat hair from every crevice
As you'll know, cat hair gets EVERYWHERE. Places you didn't even know fur hairs could gather, it will gather. Use a squeezable sauce bottle top at the end of your vacuum attachment to clean all those nooks and crannies.
4. Entertain them for hours with a home-made cat puzzle
With just a cardboard box, you can make a fun, interactive toy for your cat.
Simply cut out some shapes, add a ball, and you're good to go! You want to make it hard enough that it's a challenge, but not impossible!
5. Prevent your cat from unrolling the toilet paper with citrus
Simply tuck in the loose paper in one end of the tube - you can even clip it in place with a bulldog clip if you need to.
If your cat continues to unravel and shred your toilet paper (bad kitty), give the area around your toilet a spray with a citrus scent. Cats aren't big fans of oranges or lemons so this will keep them for getting up to mischief.
6. Create a stylish cat house
Pick up a cube storage unit, and place some bedding inside and on top for a simple yet stylish cat house.
7. Build a DIY vented litter box
If you're handy with DIY and you're sick of the smell of cat turd in your home, this project is for you! Check out the video above for inspiration on how to make one that best suits your home.
8. Dryer sheets are your best friend
If you own a tumble dryer, pop a dryer sheet in with the load and it will pick up those cat hairs from your clothes. This little trick is good for those emergency situations when you discover the jumper you want to wear is riddled with cat hair, but you might wish to also keep some in your car to pat yourself down if you find some strays.
9. Invest in an automatic hoover
These nifty automatic hoovers clean your home for you and can even be set on a timer. Don't be fooled by their small size though, they're powerful devices that can pick up dirt, dust and pet hair from most carpets and wooden or laminate flooring - clever! You won't regret investing in an iRobot, it'll even keep your cats entertained...
10. Make a cat toy from empty toilet roll
Take an empty loo roll and stuff it with treats before folding the cardboard inwards on both ends to make a cheap and cheerful cat toy that your kitty will love trying to get into.
Speaking of toilet rolls, if you collect a few you can make an interesting toy by placing lots of rolls into an empty shoebox...a must for inquisitive kitties.
11. Make a hammock under your dining chair
If you're tight on space, create a tiny hammock for your cat. You'll need an old pillowcase cut to size and some velcro strips or carabiners to provide sturdy support, depending on how heavy your cat is.
12. Easy pour cat food
If your cats just can't wait for dinner to be served, decant their dry food into a plastic pouring jug for easy pouring at mealtimes.
13. Make your own DIY cat tent for them to hide in
You can build your own cat tent with some basic items that you'll already have at home. Using wire coat hangers make a frame like a tent, with two hangers crossing each other over the top (see video above) and place an old t-shirt over the frame. The hole for the head will act as the perfect entrance to your cat's very own tent. They won't thank you for it, but hey look how content!
14. Create a peek-a-boo cat bed
If your cat loves to hide then this hack has their name on it! Simply buy two material cat baskets then stitch them together. If you can't find any with a dip then simply cut out a half circle on each bed before stitching up.
15. Prevent whisker stress & sickness after feeding time
If kitty eats too quickly, serve their food on a large shallow plate. This means it will take your cat longer to eat and will hopefully prevent anything coming back up again. If you place the plate on a raised box, this can also prevent 'whisker stress' - a problem that occurs when they rub against the bowl too much.
16. Make them a bed of grass
Most cats LOVE grass so, if yours do too, make them their very own bed out of artificial grass to chill out on. This is also a neat idea for anyone that owns a house cat, and would like to bring a bit of the outdoors in.
17. Clean up accidents with vinegar and baking soda
Harsh cleaning chemicals can be harmful to cats so try using home-made solutions when you need to clean up cat pee. Vinegar is excellent at killing bacteria, so put it to work.
- Mix 1 and a half cups of warm water with a half a cup of vinegar.
- Saturate the patch and leave to soak for 3-5 minutes.
- When it's dry, take out another natural cleaning wonder: baking soda. Sprinkle the area with baking soda and leave it to soak up any bad smells for 30 minutes to 1 hour then vacuum up.
18. Keep your cat off surfaces with double-sided tape
If you have a precious cabinet or brand new armchair that you'd like kitty not to get their claws on, invest in some double-sided tape from your local hardware store. They'll soon learn to avoid these areas as they'll think there will be something sticky on it.
19. Create a scratching post collage out of carpet samples
Simply pick up some carpet samples from your nearest store, ideally short and twisted with a coarse texture. Then glue them into a piece of wood, an old shelf or similar discarded bit of furniture will be fine. You cat will have a great time scratching away at all the different surfaces.
20. Grow your own Catnip
Cats get high on catnip, and researchers have found it's perfectly safe for them. Grow your own catnip plant at home and bring it out every now and then for them to revel in. Seeds are available online, and can be planted into an indoor plant pot or outside in the garden. Be careful as you may attract all the neighbouring cats too!
21. Add green tea to the litter box to reduce odour
What's that smell? Sprinkle some green tea leaves into your cat's litter box and it will help suppress bacteria growth and help prevent any bad odours getting even worse.
22. Deep clean their collars
When you're giving their toys a clean, don't forget to clean their collars too. They harbour a lot of dirt, grime and bacteria so make sure they're kept fresh and clean. Depending on what they're made off, you can scrub them with a toothbrush using a sprinkle of baking soda and warm water or pop it in the dishwasher or washing machine.
23. Keep baby wipes on hand when cleaning up cat vomit
EHT reader John brought this to our attention recently, saying 'Baby wipes are brilliant for cleaning cat vomit'. Definitely worth a try! Baby wipes are great for a quick clean up, so always keep a pack to hand.
Thanks for reading! If you're a cat owner with some handy tricks up your sleeve, please feel free to share in the comments below.