DIY Catifying the Apartment: Accommodating our Tree Dweller

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.
The supplies.
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. 
Et voilá!
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!  
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9 thoughts on “DIY Catifying the Apartment: Accommodating our Tree Dweller

  1. Bastet

    This is great, Katharine! I have been thinking of doing much of the same in various rooms. Vertical space is the way to go for many kitties. Good job, you and Kevin and your brother and his girlfriend.

    Reply
  2. Christine

    OMG, this is awesome! He looks so pleased with himself perched up there! And they don't even look like they were meant to be cat shelves…a plus when there are already way too many animal-centric items in the home. Kisses to Z today!!

    Reply
  3. My Two Pitties

    I love the cat from hell show! Great idea, I would definitely go for the shelves if Gina was an indoor kitty. The 2nd to last picture cracks me up! Any advice for keeping a cat off the counter? Gina is so sly…she sneaks up on it when I am not in the room, then I hear the crashing of dishes and things on the counter and then she appears out of the kitchen, licking her chops:/ Even when she has a fresh bowl of food.

    Reply
  4. Two Kitties One Pittie

    Haha, thanks! 🙂 Yeah… I wish I had advice about that, but Freddie LOVES the counter. The only thing I could think of would be to give Gina places that are high up in the kitchen that *aren't* the counter (like a cat tree or shelves or something). But otherwise… it's tough! Freddie is the same way!

    Reply
  5. My Two Pitties

    I think cats just like doing things they're not supposed to also:/ Gina is VERY greedy for human food. She opens up cabinets that are latched shut and she even steals lettuce from my salad bowl. I don't know how I ended up with 2 dogs I can rest my dinner plate on and a cat I have no control over, lol.

    Reply

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