Neither my husband nor I are very handy people. Okay, that’s not entirely fair. He’s a good bit more handy than I am. I’d say on a handiness scale of 1 to 10, hubby ranks about a four, whereas I rank somewhere around 0.25. For example, he might actually use a nail to hang a picture. I figure if it can’t be hung with a thumbtack, it’s not worth hanging. Luckily, neither of our egos depend on whether we can spackle or use a blowtorch. We understand that for the sake of our sanity and our marriage, it’s usually better to call up the local handyman than attempt most home improvement projects ourselves.
Then a couple of years ago, I stumbled across a show called My Cat from Hell, featuring this bald, tattooed, rocker-cat behaviorist named Jackson Galaxy, and two things happened:
2. I was seized with the sudden urge to make our house more stimulating for our kitty babies.
But here’s the thing. So much of what Jackson does involves, you know, being handy. I mean, there’s the construction of entire outdoor rooms he calls catios, for crying out loud. Oh sure, maybe most people aren’t that handy so I suppose I don’t have to feel bad about that particular project.
But then there are the shelves. Lots and lots of shelves. Levels. Jackson’s all about the levels. But dammit, Jackson, I have yet to find a shelf that will stay up with only a couple of thumbtacks.
However, I wasn’t going to be deterred from what I now referred to as “Mission: Catification.” I may not be handy but I am stubborn, so at least I had that going for me. I just figured I was going to have to think outside the box and be creative. And what do you know? I made it work…with nary a nail or a blowtorch anywhere.
For years, our cat Abby refused to use any of the 10,000 scratching posts in our house, preferring the couch instead. While I’m opposed to declawing, I was more than a little frustrated watching her shred our furniture. But there was a reason she avoided the scratching posts and, with a little deductive reasoning, I finally figured it out.
We had those small, cone-shaped posts that wiggled and threatened to tip over. The couch, however, provided a solid, stable surface. So I pored over countless scratching post reviews and selected the tall one on the left in the picture above. Then, after seeing it on Jackson’s show, I also purchased the horizontal one next to it. Once those two pieces of kitty furniture were in place, voila! No more couch scratching! We also added a cushy pet bed and this little corner has become one of Abby’s favorite places in the house.
Like all cats, ours love to look out windows. And like most cat owners, I was aware of those cute little window seats made especially for kitties so that they can kick back, relax, and keep an eye on the world. But when I started investigating the perches years ago, there was…to my horror…drilling involved! Haha, right. That is so not going to happen around here.
Then, in one of my many online shopping ventures, I happened to notice that drilling was no longer necessary. Nope. Many perches today allow you to use industrial-strength Velcro instead of screws. Ah, Velcro. God’s gift to the terminally unhandy. Installing those bad boys was a breeze (although we check them now and again to make sure they’re still securely fastened) and our cats couldn’t be happier with the result.
My (imaginary) boyfriend Jackson Galaxy is always talking about how some cats enjoy being up high in a room. This gives them a sense of security and allows them to survey their domain. As we’ve already established, shelves were out. But we had something better.
Our kitchen has a vaulted ceiling, so the top of our cabinets is completely open. In the past, we’ve placed little dust collectors…er…knick knacks up there. But then I thought, why not make that a kitty getaway? All I did was pop a pet bed on top of the cabinet above the fridge and it was an instant hit. I’m already thinking of other ways to make even better use of that space in the future.
Abby was rescued off the streets during a rainstorm and seemingly has no interest in the great outdoors. Smudge, on the other hand, sits at our patio door and cries to be let out. Of course, the fact that he was declawed on all four feet by his previous owners makes this an exceedingly dangerous notion. An enclosed patio space (catio) would be a great solution. But even though we have the perfect space for a catio, well…sorry, little dude. That ain’t happenin’.
What to do? What to do? Why, a cat tent, of course! Another online shopping find, this mesh tent is perfect for our little kitty camper. We put a bed in the tent with him and he relaxes beneath the trees, watching the birds and squirrels in complete safety while we supervise nearby.
This was by far our easiest (and cheapest) catification project. Take a large box, add some crinkly butcher-type paper, throw in a few catnip toys, and bada-bing, bada-boom! Instant catification. Because…cats and boxes!
Sure, we get some funny looks from guests who wonder why we have a random box from a large online retailer in our living room. But it’s totally worth it when I hear one of the cats bouncing around happily in there. And besides, I have some ideas about how I can make it a little more attractive. Of course, that would require me to be crafty and well, I’m not that, either.
Your turn: Have you done anything to catify your house? Tell us in the comments.
Read more about feline-related home improvement on Catster:
About the Author: Amber Carlton is owned by two cats and two dogs (all rescues), and is affectionately (?) known as the crazy pet lady amongst her friends and family. She and her husband (the crazy pet man) live in colorful Colorado where they enjoy hiking, biking and camping. Amber owns Comma Hound Copywriting and also acts as typist and assistant for Mayzie’s Dog Blog. She encourages other crazy pet people to connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.