Do you ever wonder where your cat is? You live in an apartment, two or three rooms, a balcony but Dexter is nowhere to be seen. You don’t worry for the first hour or two but then it starts to get to you. You look in all the usual hiding spots, he’s not there. You start to call his name, still no sign.
The door to the balcony was open. He hasn’t been showing signs of depression, surely he hasn’t jumped. Eventually on the tenth increasingly anxious lap, you hear a slight noise. He can’t have got in the kitchen cupboard can he? Sure, there he is, looking at you from behind a can of Baygon, wondering what the fuss is about.
Can you believe a couple in the US instructed their architects to make sure there were plenty of ways their two pampered pusses could escape from visiting guests. We all know the feline dash for under the bed when any visitor under eight years old comes through the door, these guys went the extra mile to give their fur kids plenty of ways to escape.
The architects, Barker Freeman Design Office came up with an ingenious feature in the main living area. It’s a book shelf that runs the whole length of one side, with shelves that project, curled up cat size holes and wait for it… their own ramps up to a trap doors to the rooms above.
The cats can do what cats like to do… watch proceedings with no pressure to join in unless there’s food or a laser pointer involved. Then, just when it looks like they’ll emerge for a fuss, walk imperiously in the opposite direction, up a ramp, through a hatch and onto the bed for an eight-hour nap. Not aloof, just cool.
Only in America you think but no, there are other examples of apartments being tailor made for an owner’s cat. In Taipei, Taiwan where apartments are almost as small as the new ones in that block down the road here, a studio renovation tested the designer to find ways to keep the cats climbing.
Again, it’s shelving that provided the answer, and this solution is one you could very much adapt in your own apartment with some wall uprights and adjustable shelving from Ikea or somewhere similarly design savvy.
The owner wanted to remove all the walls to make the 45 square metre studio space seem like a loft and let in lots of light. The cat specific features were the greenery at different height and the shelving for the two cats to play on.
Admit it, it’s got you thinking hasn’t it? Sure, the carpet covered multi purpose cat play tree keeps them amused on the rare occasion they use it, otherwise sitting there like a testament to your neediness for their affection. It would be nice to designer your place up all with your own cleverness and get some compliments from visitors.
Shelves we know are good, a continuous high level shelf walkway is a possible solution you could do yourself. It’s also somewhere to reach up and vacuum with your Dyson stick, good exercise for you and your cat.
They do like to look down on the world, so if you can provide an elevated perch for them to look out of the window and watch the world go by, go for it. You could put a high level shelf in the corner, with a pot plant and cushion next to the window. She’ll think she’s in the jungle, but check online first for cat friendly plants and some greenery is toxic to cats.
What about hidey-holes? Well, most foody felines like to hang out on top of the fridge, watching all the trouble you go to preparing your food when all you do is dump dry food in a bowl and open a pouch for them. So leave them a gap and enjoy them sound of falling fridge magnets.
You may never have to look for your missing cat again if you take off your cupboard doors and clear some space on your shelves. And if they do miss a step occasionally and take a fall, don’t laugh. They hate that!