Wednesday, February 17, 2016

On Wednesday: Home with Cats #2

Abbey looking out on the backyard


I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
--Jean Cocteau

Every Wednesday, I explore different ways home is changed, improved, and complicated when cats are part of that home. Of course, it’s not all pretty. Some of what I’ll write about are the things we have in our home that we’d rather not have. 

This week, it’s pretty. 

As we learn about our cats’ needs, and as those needs change, we try to adapt. My husband Larry has built two pieces of furniture to help with the adaptations.

Some years ago, we had a stool at the foot of our bed so that Waddles, who was getting older, could more easily jump up on the bed.

One night she missed the stool and fell to the floor. She hurt the elbow on her front left leg. There was no break, but the vet said she had a lot of arthritis.

Larry set about building a ramp for the bedroom, something that Waddles could walk up and down with no jumping required. This is what he built: 





When he said he was building a ramp out in his shop, I admit that I didn’t expect something so pretty that fit in so well with the room. Most importantly, it was so useful not only to Waddles, but our other cats as they got older.

Late last year, Abbey started clawing at the blinds in the living room window, a large picture window that overlooks the backyard. Normally we keep those blinds down because the other cats had found other windows for bird and squirrel watching.

But Abbey wanted to see out the living room window. So we started raising the blinds. She and Natasha sat on the floor and peered out. Sometimes Abbey climbed up on the back of the nearby sofa and looked out. But they didn’t have a really comfortable way to lounge while they looked out on the backyard. 

So Larry decided to build a bench for them. He had the top of an old exercise bench lying around in his shop. He covered it with carpet. That formed the top of the bench. He created legs by combining two 2x4 boards for each leg, then contoured them so he could wrap them with manila rope. That way, the cats can use them for scratching posts. He was concerned about the stability, so he built a base for it. Here’s the bench:




Natasha and Abbey on the upper level

Abbey on the lower level


Again, he built something that fit in with the house but more importantly, provided a great place for the cats to lounge, nap, and watch the outside world.

Larry’s additions to the d├ęcor of our house show another way that the presence of cats can lead to changes in the home’s appearance and in its “visible soul.”

Have you ever changed your furniture to accommodate a pet?



41 comments:

  1. That's wonderful! Larry did a great job catifing your crib.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sharon. I guess we have gradually "catified" our home. :-)

      Delete
  2. Oh, what wonderful creations! And very thoughtful. We have added things in our home to accommodate our cats and make them comfy. They are spoiled!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Martha. Ours are spoiled too--of course! :-)

      Delete
  3. The bench and the ramp are very cool. Larry sounds like my dad - my dad made my kitty Milita a nice scratching post with some wood and carpet he had in his shop. They've had it for 11 years now!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Your dad must do good work. I think sometimes the homemade structures can last longer than the manufactured ones.

      Delete
  4. no pets...but these cats hit the motherland of love when they found you and larry!! they love you and you adore them!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Debbie. We love to love them and create a peaceful and fun atmosphere for them.

      Delete
  5. Larry is so talented and thoughtful! It always seems to me like you doing the right partner for yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is awesome! Our mom does her best to accomodate our needs as dictated by our aging, but she's not good at building stuff. So we just have stepstools and ottomans placed around, and sometimes she gives us elevator lifts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Step stools and ottomans work well. Sometimes it's things you already have that work just as well to create comfy places.

      Delete
  7. While I LOVE having a cat around the house, and I couldn't agree with you more...from reading your post I think it is EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT to have a "LARRY" around your house :)
    xoxo
    catchatwithcarenandcody

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Caren! I made sure Larry saw this comment. I told him he has a reputation now to live up too. LOL

      Delete
  8. Wow! Those are great pieces of furniture!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Those are really great pieces of furniture Larry built for your cats. We have one of those cat perches but I'm thinking we could use a couple more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ida. Can you believe that we don't have a cat tree? That needs to be Larry's next project. :-)

      Delete
  10. These are great! You should write a book about these things. I was so disappointed in Catify to Satisfy because everything was difficult- these look doable and nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I still haven't read Catify but I'd like to.

      Delete
  11. ooh, what wonderful additions to your home! and handmade, all the better

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, I think the handmade and homemade may last longer than the manufactured.

      Delete
  12. Wow, Larry is quite handy! We would love those things in our house.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, that bench is nice. My decor change for the birds was to cover stuff with cloth to keep poop and bird dander off of our stuff!

    Tina, I don't have a cat and have never owned one, but your writing is compelling enough that I enjoy reading your cat blog! Something you don't know: one of my birds died at the end of December. I still cry about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so sorry about your bird, Kristina. I know how you love them. When I've lost one of my babies, it has taken a while for me to reach the point where I don't cry every day.

      Delete
  14. I have made many changes over the years to accommodate the cats. The unused dining room is now the cat tree room. I have large kennels for the ones needing recovery time from surgery or sickness. I can only have breakables in the 2 closed off bedrooms. They have also changed the house a bit! LOL! I wouldn't have it any other way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't have it any other way either, Carolyn. I used to have indoor plants a long time ago, but when I got cats, they went away. I was afraid they would eat something harmful.

      Delete
  15. Beautiful additions to your home Tina, and most importantly, Abby and Natasha love them! We have made many changes to our home over the years to accommodate our kitties. Sometimes I think this house is made more for them than it is for us. But we love them so much, we don't mind. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Mary, who does the house really belong to? Our kitties insist that it's their house. :-)

      Delete
  16. Those are great! I haven't changed much of the house, which is my mum's house, but I want to catify it a bit. I would like to build an enclosure in the garden but we are thinking of moving so it'll have to wait.

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen a lot of people making catios, little enclosures attached to the house that the kitties can use to see outdoors but stay safe.

      Delete
  17. Those are great! I haven't changed much of the house, which is my mum's house, but I want to catify it a bit. I would like to build an enclosure in the garden but we are thinking of moving so it'll have to wait.

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

    ReplyDelete
  18. When our cat Sadie, whom we adopted as an adult from a shelter, began having trouble with her front legs, the vet did X-rays and found an old spinal injury. Along with some meds he prescribed a month of crate-rest (and was that every painful for all of us!) and then limiting her "jumping" – especially jumping down from furniture. How do you limited a cat from jumping? I bought several sets of pet steps (I got a discount from work), and while they weren't nearly as pretty as the ramp your very talented Larry constructed they did the job. They also fold for storage, so I have them put away for future pets.

    One thing we altered/added that's not actually furniture...we've been blessed in that the cats we had/have don't seem to want to wander – but they do enjoy our fenced backyard. I only ever let them out when I'm home and, if I'm inside, can see them from the window. But they bugged us so much with the "in/out" syndrome that Shep installed a PetSafe pet screen door. It can't be used unless the main door is open, which of course would not be the case when we're out, and it can also be locked closed when need be. It's been a popular thing with our cats and a help for us! Now we can sit in our sunroom and read, leave the french doors open, but the Abby can let herself in and out if she wants to go out on the patio.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's nice that you have a fenced backyard. We have an enclosed back porch that the kitties like to use when it's warmer. We only let them out there if we're home and close by.

      Delete
  19. yes we have, one has an entire bedroom to himself, we're lucky we've a lot of room they've taken over several rooms and we let them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lynn, same thing here. Our spare bedroom is now the kitty zen room full of all things cat. :-) And our den looks like we run a kitty daycare. LOL

      Delete
  20. Wow, your husband sure is handy! He did a great job with the ramp and the bench! We haven't built anything like that for the cats, but we have purchased cat furniture - a cat tree to go in the window, and some cat shelves to go on the walls. They get a lot of use!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cat shelves sound fun! After all these years, we still don't have a cat tree. I think that needs to be Larry's next project. :-)

      Delete
  21. Thank you for visiting my blog! I love finding new blogs to follow, and yours looks beautiful and full of wonderful posts, such as this one. I absolutely love the ramp your husband made - it serves such a great purpose, and it's beautiful on top of that.

    I have also altered furniture and designed rooms around the needs of my furbabies. My angel Rosie lived to 21, and for her last few years she had significant arthritis. That being said, there were lots of stools placed around the house just for her, especially leading up to furniture and beds. We would even squash her favorite pieces of living room furniture together, even if that meant we couldn't sit on part or even all them, so that she could move back and forth between them without having to jump off and on furniture too many times.

    Although my sweet Rosie is now gone, I still have a need to place stools here and there and everywhere, as my mancat Evan is hind limb paralyzed. He is still young and active and very strong in his forelimbs, and so with strategically placed stools and low cat trees, he can pretty much get to just about wherever he wants. As he gets older, though, I know that he will be at an increased risk of arthritis due to his altered method of ambulation, and so I'm sure ramps will be in his future as well.

    I really enjoyed reading this post, and I'll definitely be visiting your blog regularly!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Larry is a prince! Lucky you to have a builder in the family!

    My big change is a gradual one -- slipcovers. We'll see if it works but Lizzie has carried on the cat family tradition of taking out furniture despite a variety of claw sharpening boxes and gadgets. After the last I decided to a) replace the chair with an inexpensive IKEA one that b) had a slipcover. It also has a tighter weave less appealing to her than the old chair. But if she gets crazy and not caught, at least I can swap out.

    ReplyDelete