Friday, July 19, 2013

Catification – Creating a Feline Friendly Environment

By Julia Williams

You won’t find the word “catification” in any printed dictionary, and it’s even too new to be found in online dictionaries. I’m not positive, but I believe the term was coined by Jackson Galaxy, noted cat behaviorist and star of the popular Animal Planet show, My Cat From Hell. If you watch that show, you’ve probably heard Jackson tell the clueless humans “you’ve got to catify your house!” Jackson has also had a Catification Column on his website for at least a year, so if he didn’t create the term – and the concept – he’s certainly had a hand in making sure cat owners everywhere are familiar with it.

So what is this catification thing, exactly? “Catification is about creating feline-friendly environments that cater to a cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, rest, play, and own their space,” says Jackson. To catify your home means to provide adequate places that satisfy your kitty’s natural desires to either be up high if he’s a “tree dweller” or “down low” if he’s a bush dweller.

Jackson’s Catification Column is written by Kate Benjamin of, an online magazine for design-conscious cat people. It includes lots of terrific examples from cat peeps who have created feline-friendly environments in their own home, like the ultra cool kitty staircase pictured at right.

Although catification might seem to be all about the cat, it actually provides benefits to the human occupants as well. A happy cat is less likely to engage in undesirable behaviors, like making mincemeat out of your couch or carpeting. Which means that you get to have nicer things in your home and don’t feel the need to apologize to guests for your ratty décor (unless you happen to love ratty décor, wherein you wouldn’t be apologetic anyway.)

The goal of catification, then, is to enhance your cat’s living space with things that please him or her and that you find aesthetically agreeable – or at the very least, not hugely objectionable. Admittedly, if you have a high-brow design scheme, some compromises may need to be made. Not everyone is comfortable with “cat shelves” taking up one whole wall of their living room, but there are plenty of other ways to satisfy your cat’s need to seek higher ground – you just have to find something that works for both kitty and you. That’s a small price to pay for unconditional feline love!

Catification might involve getting some tall cat trees or window perches, installing a climbing wall or some shelves that lead to a catwalk (aka the Cat Superhighway), creating a kitty staircase that leads to their favorite high perch, building an outdoor enclosure (a catio), providing satisfying scratching solutions, and so much more.

For more tips from the experts on how to catify your home, check out the weekly Catification Column on Jackson’s website. Be sure to read the extensive archives – you’ll glean some purrfect DIY ideas that you can “steal” for catifying your own home!

Top photo by Mollye Knox
Middle photo courtesy of Jackson Galaxy
Bottom photo by Jennifer C.

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. That kitty staircase looks pretty awesome!

  2. I have been saving pictures from Kate's emails. My dad does wood working and some have said after seeing pictures "he should make you cat furniture". Sure - my dad would have a herd of COWS before he made cat furniture (so not a cat guy). However, this spring at the local pet expo he pulls me over - "have you seen the prices on these things?" "yep - which is why we don't have many at the house" "it's like $25 worth of material" "yep" "I could so do that" "yep"

    Now - all his wood working stuff is in storage....but oh the plans I have :)

  3. I sure wish we had some of those stair things at our place, they sure look fun!

  4. Great article! It's so important to give cats an environment that they can thrive in, and it doesn't have to be expensive.

  5. So cool to have a catified house!!

  6. Well too late for our house. All furniture is totlly ruined but it doesn't make any difference. No one comes here anyway, so it is just the Person and the kitties and the doggie. But those sound like some good ideas.

  7. I would love to have those "steps" if you will, on the wall.

  8. We want the mom to put some kitty shelves up for us. She said she would.

  9. I guess it was always a natural instinct with me, but long before blogging and catification, I have always provided my kitties with the ultimate high and low environment to satisfy their feline needs. It is wonderful that the concept has become so mainstream now - there are so many incredible items available to suit any decor and it really is fun seeing what people come up with for their beloved kitties!

  10. Wow, those cat stair shelves are amazing! We totally want to get some (we bet Moosey would LOVE them). :)


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