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Why open plan homes are torture for cats

Friends

Many of us dream of living in a clutter-free open plan home – but such a move may not be popular with the family cat.

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File photo: In a home where cats are unable to easily hide, attention can cause the animals to develop "chronic negative emotions". Picture: Reuters

Cats are naturally antisocial animals that like having places to hide and explore. However, open plan home layouts remove many of these spaces, which leaves pet cats feeling exposed.

Living in this environment – particularly with other animals – can cause cats to develop anxiety or become aggressive towards their owners.

Dr Sarah Ellis, a feline behaviour specialist at the charity International Cat Care, said: "Humans often like physical interactions that are high intensity and for longer durations. Many of our pet cats find this need for high social interaction distressing." 

In a home where cats are unable to easily hide, attention can cause the animals to develop "chronic negative emotions," she added.

But Dr Ellis said there was no need for cat owners in open plan homes to move house or start putting up dividing walls – allowing your cat on worktops or pulling sofas away from the walls creates the hiding spaces they need to stay happy.

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