Cats have specific resource needs for their environment. They are basic needs and can be simple or advanced, as long as they are appropriate for the cat.
Fresh food and water, litter boxes, scratching, climbing and hunting opportunities, relaxation and comfort are some of the primary needs of cats. It's not only important that they have these resources, but that they are readily and safely available. The more cats are within an environment, the more resources will be necessary. Cats will share, but they would rather not. If there is only one resource for multiple cats, there is a risk of guarding and ambushing at that location. This is true regarding food, water, cat trees and even litter boxes. Multiple resources will facilitate harmony among cats.
Placement of resources is an important factor. Be mindful when placing resources. Put on the "cat's point of view" thinking cap. The locations should be varied, but safe. Resources near appliances can startle pets and keep them from returning, which will deny the cats their need. Many people believe if pets need the resource, they will obtain it regardless, but that is not the case. If a pet perceives a threat, it will be avoided! This causes particular problems when cats avoid food, water, scratchers or litter boxes.
As well, similar resources should not be combined in one location, but rather, spread about the environment. For example, it is agreed that cats should have one litter box per cat, plus one. These litter boxes should be placed in several different locations. Placing them next to each other, in a cat's mind, creates one large litter box. In this instance, kitty may decide to urinate elsewhere. This same principle holds true for all resources, food and water areas, bedding, scratchers, etc..
Easy access to resources will ensure they are used as well. Along with easy access goes comfort with the area. While deliberating the location of resources such as cat trees, for example, realize the vertical nature elevates cats out of activity at ground level. Because cats often enjoy solitary time, it doesn't mean they are rejecting family. Cats are part of the family and do enjoy "hanging out." Offering cat furniture in family areas is an excellent way to accommodate these needs. The same holds true with cat scratchers. There should be many in the home, in family and sleeping areas at least. Think of the appearance of a well used look of a scratcher as a badge of honor for yourself. Your kitty prefers this magnificent resource as opposed to the hardwood or furniture in the home! So display it, don't hide it. If hidden, kitty may not frequent the area to use it.
Hunting opportunities are essential for cats. Interactive play is the gold standard as an outlet for this behavior. However, there may be instances when that's not possible. Substituting food puzzles or kibble and toy hunts allows the hunter to use scent and vision to locate their "prey." Again, spread these games throughout the environment requiring kitty to expend physical as well as mental energy.
Of course, kitty needs comfortable areas to relax too. Cat trees can offer the perfect solution. If kitty is allowed to share furniture in the home, placing soft blankets or bedding on choice pieces will entice kitty to use those particular areas. Cats love the warmth offered by a sunny spot. Creating an inviting site near sunshine would be much appreciated by kitty (This is not an option for Sphynx cats). Kittens and older cats, for example, have less muscle mass than adults and generate less body heat. If there is no sunny spot available, electrically heated bedding, self heated bedding and even bed warmers are available to provide warmth for their comfort.
Providing the required resources, and in sufficient number and locations, leads to an enriched environment. An enriched environment alleviates boredom, fear and loneliness, etc.. When kitty lives in a balanced mental and physical state, there is less opportunity for unwanted (by humans) behavior to arise. Equilibrium can be achieved with careful consideration of kitty's needs and placement of resources within the home.