Well, I can’t say I ever thought I’d write a blog post about catification, but here I am, approaching yet another level of crazy cat lady. But you know what, I’m okay with it.
As I wrote in my last post, it was extraordinarily difficult for me to leave the animals for two whole weeks. I managed to temper my anxieties with proper planning and support, and everything ended up working out perfectly. Thanks to my brother and his girlfriend, the animals remained happy and healthy. And as it turns out, their presence had an added and unexpected benefit: the value of a new perspective on old problems.
I know I’ve written in the past about how Freddie and Stella despise each other. After I wrote that post, I got so many helpful suggestions from all of you that did help diffuse some of the tension. (Thank you!) Freddie and Stella have come a long way (no bloodshed in a while!), but the sheer hatred they feel toward one another remains. To make things worse, I’ve been so distracted by Zoe’s problems that I and started to accept the fighting as the norm and stopped trying to figure out the root of the problem. I would merely break them up when they would fight, and try to spend separate time with each of them in the meantime.
|Stella sitting with her “I’ll cut you paw” ready to spring into action.|
After having my brother and his girlfriend stay here, they (gently) approached me with a great suggestion. Influenced by the cat daddy himself, Mr. Jackson Galaxy of My Cat From Hell tv fame, they made a seemingly obvious observation: Freddie likes to be up high. Why not make it possible for him to perch above, leaving the ground free for Zoe and Stella to roam. As Jackson (I’d like to think we’re on a first name basis) explains on his show, cats are either “tree dwellers”who like to be up high, or “bush dwellers,” who prefer the safety of the ground. By making more space available to cats up high, you can double the size of his territory. And in our small city apartment, this sounded like the perfect solution.
While I’ve always been fine with the idea of a simple cat tree, K. vehemently resists. Our apartment, he believes, is already “animal-centric” enough without yet another piece of animal furniture taking up room. Creating shelves for Freddie seemed like the ideal compromise.
On the second day we came home, K. launched into the DIY project to “catify” the apartment. Here’s how he did it:
1. He measured Freddie to determine how long and wide he is (and what would be a comfortable sized perch for him). Freddie did not enjoy this part. 🙂
2. He went to Home Depot and found wood that matched our black bookshelves, and had them cut to the preferred size (We ended up going with four shelves, two of which are two feet long and 8 inches wide. The two smaller shelves were 1 foot square).
He purchased a material resembling an outdoor mat that you’d wipe your feet on, and cut it to match the same size of the wood. This way, Freddie would not slip when hopping from perch to perch.
He bought screws, finishing washers, and then screwed the carpet into the shelves.
He purchased two braces for each shelf, which he attached to the wood. He drilled anchors into the wall, and then attached the shelves accordingly.
|K. at work!|
3. K. and I worked together to ensure the shelves were placed at heights and distances that would work well for Freddie to be able to get on and off them.
|Can you find Freddie?!|
It took a little coaxing to get Freddie to feel comfortable on the shelves, but now he loves them!
|Freddie in his bed on top of the bookshelf.|
Now that Freddie has all this new territory, he and Stella haven’t been fighting as much. Okay, it’s just been a day. But I do see a difference! Hopefully it will continue to stay that way!
P.S. As I’ve mentioned, Zoe’s surgery is today. Please keep her in your thoughts!