Cat proof my house

Clothes Moths

User satisfaction studies suggest that opinions on cat-friendly rugs vary widely. Interestingly enough, results do not only show discrepancies on various kind of rugs, but also one specific rug may evoke contradictory experiences among different types of users.

cat scratches and destroys rug

Sigh. My contribution to the topic Back To School: practicing my academic English on saying “I think this rug is not cat-friendly, but my cats disagree.”

 

A cozy cat bed DIY

I must be crazy that I spent so much time and effort on catifying our apartment: it’s actually very easy to make cats happy.

Apparently, cats love uneven surfaces with bumps. So instead of hanging on the sofa as such, Tessa really appreciates when I give her two pillows.

Cat prefers cup-shaped beds

It’s important that the “lower” pillow is next to the backrest. That way, she gets a cup-shaped bed on three sides: the backrest, armrest and the difference in height between the upper and the lower pillow.

how to arrange pillows the way cats like them

Tessa: Hello? Good for you that you’re so full of yourself, but the most important feature of a bed is actually privacy!

cat is annoyed because I take too many pictures

 

Kamikaze Catwalk

Tessa here. Mom was so happy when she read all your compliments on our Catwalk. She sure did a good job, BUT I want to point out that I’m the chief designer!

Here’s Mom’s original version: two wall shelves, connected with some sort of weird bridge. Kajsa was very interested. Many of you know that we call her the Queen of Indecision as she’s very careful and needs a lot of time to make up her mind.

This picture is Kajsa in a nutshell: she stands on 3 legs, moving one foreleg forward, pretending to take the next step…

… only to take her paw back.

And forward. And back. And forward. And maybe, or maybe not, go one step. She was standing there for over an hour, moving her foreleg back and forth, until she decided that it’s not safe to walk on this bridge. At least for now. After a small break, she can continue with her decision-making progress for another hour.

Our human doesn’t take Kajsa’s indecision issues seriously as Kajsa always needs a lot of time to make up her mind. When she finally left the lower shelf, it was my turn to inspect Mom’s work. (Sigh. It’s not only our human who’s running out of patience when it gets to indecisive cats!) I had a look at the bridge, put 1 foot on it, and knew immediately that it won’t carry me. I left. Done.

When Mom saw me turning away, she knew that she’d have to come up with a different solution. So here’s what you saw yesterday: 3 wall shelves.

What did I say? I’m the chief designer! Ok, Mom frames it slightly differently, “if kamikaze cat is concerned about the Laws of Physics, it has to be really dangerous”, but the result is the same. I’m the chief designer. Now, where’s my paycheck?

 

I spy with my little eye

I’m still amazed that our “cat prison” is so unostentatious. Of course it’s not invisible, but I guess that many people passing our house have never noticed it.

catproof your balcony with an invisible net

Keep in mind that our balcony is at the center of attention on this picture. I first wanted to show the exterior wall as a whole, but didn’t feel comfortable displaying our house. So you’ve to take my word that our balcony doesn’t really stick out if you don’t focus on it.

The net is actually really invisible, but you can see the poles. I originally wanted to buy adjustable metallic poles, but I’m glad I listened to Karin from the Catio Tales who advised me on getting wooden poles. Metallic poles are not only more expensive and visible, but also harder to work with. I did pay a little extra to get high-qualitative wood: the poles are designed for fences and will thus withstand snow and rain (famous last words?). I paid about 70 € ($80) for the wood.

 

Curtain Call

Mom finally got herself to do one of the last tasks after moving to a new place: to sew curtains. I don’t really understand why she postponed this for so long, but then again, we all know that humans are screwed up. Chasing threads was great fun, and of course I was also in charge of quality assessment! My job was to control that her stitches withstand all kinds of strains.

And then … something unexpected happened. I found the love of my life! I don’t really know what got into me, but the material of these very curtains was one of most delightful things I’ve ever touched with my paws.

I suffered from serious separation anxiety when Mom hang the curtains. I would often stand on my back legs, gently scratching my curtains and even give them some bities. Mom got so fed up felt so sorry for me that she eventually gave in and bought the same curtains one more time – just for me!

Oh yes, life is good now. This was a well-working compromise: I leave Mom’s curtains in peace, and get to snuggle with my own curtains the way I like.

 

Our new catio !

Catproofing the balcony of our new apartment was very tricky.

It’s relatively easy to cat-proof a balcony when you’re not living on the top floor: in most cases, you only need to lattice the distance between the handrail and the balcony above. And best of all – you can actually buy adjustable poles to fasten a cat net without drilling! Simple, effective and surprisingly cheap. (I had no idea that it was so easy and cheap to secure standard balconies, so I thought that some of you may find this information helpful)

We faced several challenges: first, we live on the top floor, so our balcony doesn’t have a roof. Second, I wasn’t allowed to drill holes into the outer wall. And third, but not last: a 10 cm gap (for snow / water) between the floor and the handrail. Plus some smaller problems which are too complicated to explain here. Thank you “Äiti” Karin, for your help – she actually designed our catio!

The basic design is a cuboid of wooden poles. I fastened the net with a staple gun to the poles. The frame itself is secured with cable tiers to the ceiling.

Picture credit: Wikimedia Commons

I put under each corner clothespins to allow water running underneath the bottom poles.

The white wall is attached to the exterior wall of the house with small joints – perfect for cable tiers!

I also had to secure the white wall because of this 10 cm gap between floor and wall.

The clothes rack was a perfect opportunity to attach the upper pole to the wall.

I paid about 150 € for the material (not including tools and transportation). I took my time to choose the wooden poles: it’s often more expensive and very time-consuming to buy cheap wood because you need to protect it with waterproof paint. I recommend fence material as fences are typically designed to resist the weather of your region!

Please pay attention to different sorts of cat nets – you need a material animals can’t bite through. I wrote “animals” instead of “cats” for a reason: even if your cats don’t have teeth, you’ll still need to protect your net against squirrels and other animals!

I’ve no idea how I succeeded, but I actually build the catio all by myself without any help (apart from the design). You’ll need a power drill and staple gun to save a lot of time and nerves.

 

It’s the user, not the system

Sigh. Any construction relies on its user’s mental capacity and on the constructor’s foresight.

I’ve now replaced the basket with a cardboard box. I fastened the box with nails to the white shelf, and it has stayed on its place (at least until now). Cardboard isn’t of course the best material for nailing, so I’ll invest in a wooden box if this doesn’t work out.

Are you ever done with cat-proofing?!? (Not 100% sure if I really want to hear your answers and stories to this question… hehehe)

 

Catify your hat rack! DIY

We live in a 45 m2- apartment (485 ft2), so I wanted to utilize any space for the cats. The hat rack belongs to the apartment, and I immediately decided to catify it. The result turned out well, but was much more work than I thought!

The surface of your hat rack is important when you want to turn it into a platform for cats. If you have a similar rack like ours, you’ll need a shelf to give your cats a safe landing strip. Cats are balancing masters, but they need an even surface for a safe landing.

It doesn’t matter what shelf you take, but keep in mind that you have to fix it to the hat rack. If the hat rack is your own, you can simply bolt the shelf on it. If it’s not your own, you probably don’t want to drill. This Lack wall shelf from Ikea consists of two parts, which is why I could fasten the shelf with a string to the hat rack.

I was surprised that the cats couldn’t jump from the brown shelf to the rack! I tried to tease them with their favorite treats, but they didn’t dare to jump. I still don’t really understand the problem. I wonder if the “jump path” is too straight? It can’t be height because they leap higher to other places.

I built a very simple cat ladder to help them.

I bolted two longer and four shorter bars to a ladder, and wrapped sisal ropes around the bars. I bolted the ladder to the white rack, but didn’t tack it to the brown shelf.

Both cats climbed the ladder without problems, but it was very difficult to get from the ladder to the white shelf because its surface was too slippery. I nailed a white bathroom matt to the white shelf to give their claws something to grip. I wasn’t sure if nailing was a good solution in the long run, but the matt has now been there for over 6 months.

Success! They could finally get to the hat rack themselves, and it soon became one of the most popular spots! The ladder also works as a scratching post although they normally prefer cardboard to sisal.

I was first worried that Tessa doesn’t have a second exit to escape Kajsa, but it actually never became a problem. Then again – Tessa found of course a second way to climb down…

The hat rack was worth the trouble, but I was surprised that human furniture need so much adjustment for cats. The material wasn’t expensive, except the sisal rope: I spent about 20€ on sisal here, and this ladder is quite short.

 

The perfect wardrobe for cats

We forgot to mention some important “details” yesterday. In fact, it’s only fair that we’ve free access to “her” closet.

We had a very cat-friendly wardrobe at our old place. Just look! No walls, no doors, only curtains!! We kitties could go and leave as we please and we had a great platform on top of the wardrobe! Mom again had a dust-free storage for her clothes. We’re sorry for the bad quality, Mom took these pictures on the very last evening at our old place, because she suddenly remembered that she always wanted to blog about our wardrobe.

We’re still angry that Mom sold this perfect cat wardrobe because it’ll be very hard to get the same again. Mom bought it second-hand many years ago. All her friends admired her wardrobe, but they couldn’t get it themselves because Ikea stopped the production at some point in the 90s. So why on earth did Mom not move it to our new place?!?

She says that our new flat has enough (hear hear) built-in cabinets, and that she won’t storage furniture for potential future apartments. She made a big mistake there, and we know that she’ll regret it some day. Bah. So the least she could do was to give us free access to the new closet?

 

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