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Millions of people cannot imagine life at home without their cats. Cats make wonderful pets, bringing their own unique personality into a home and providing companionship to their owners.

As great as cats are, millions still enter animal shelters every year. According to the ASPCA, roughly half of the 6.5 million companion animals that enter United States animal shelters each year are cats. And while figures are thankfully on the decline, hundreds of thousands of those cats end up being euthanized. Local animal shelters are home to many cats that would make great pets, and prospective cat owners are urged to visit such shelters to find cats that would make welcome additions to their homes.

For those who find cats to take home, the following are a handful of ways to make a home as cat-friendly as possible.

• Take stock of appliances that pose as safety risks. Certain appliances pose potentially significant threats to cats’ safety. For example, International Cat Care notes that open washing machines or tumble dryers, particularly those with warm clothes inside, may be too tempting for cats to ignore. Unsuspecting homeowners may close the doors to washers and dryers, trapping cats inside, or even turn the appliances on without recognizing the cats are inside. Always keep doors to such appliances closed, and check to make sure cats are not inside before using these appliances. Paper shredders and work stations with lots of wires also pose a safety risk to cats, so make sure these appliances and areas are inaccessible.

• Watch how cats behave around cat flaps. Some cats respond positively to cat flaps, while others do not. Cat flaps also may invite other cats into a home, which can upset your cat and make it vulnerable to attack. While some cats may want the freedom a cat flap allows, others may be on edge around the cat flap. Let cats’ behavior dictate if you will keep the cat flap or not.

• Watch how cats drink water. International Cat Care notes that the presence of water near food may deter some cats from drinking enough fluids. That’s because cats naturally hunt for food and water separately. Some cats may be fine if food and water are in the same bowl, but if you notice your cat is ignoring its water bowl, try placing it elsewhere in the home to ensure your cat gets enough fluids.

• Provide high but safe resting places. Cats want to rest and observe their surroundings from on high. Don’t deter cats from resting in such places, but make sure they’re positioned in such a way that they can safely get down when they want to.

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