*before the cat fun begins, if you read yesterday’s post about the horrible off lead dogs we met, today we had a wonderfully similar experience – Rey was already in our arms because a man was acting very oddly; he turned out to be a dog owner and an obese Staffordshire Bull Terrier appeared. The dog followed us, growling and jumping up repeatedly at me and my partner. This is the third time this has happened on a walk in 1.5 weeks. Yay other dog owners…*
Anyway, today I wanted to write a blog about how to create a perfect kitty play room!
Well, I really just wanted to show you some wonderful ideas you can incorporate and turn into awesome toys for your cat/s 🙂
First up, the obvious: cat trees!
We have two cat trees, between 90 and 120cm tall. The one pictured, we removed a shelf as Kitty Snipper loves digging his claws in and climbing vertically.
There used to be a ledge between the two scratching areas, preventing him from climbing.
In our cat room, the trees provide access to higher spaces.
All the reading I’ve done points to cats loving high spaces, and feeling safe up high. A lot of indoor cats don’t really have high spaces, or opportunities for climbing…so we’ve attached shelves all around our room, to provide high ‘safe spots’.
Here you can see the cat tree leading to higher ground:
The shelves lead from windowsill to windowsill, which is also handy for bird watching!
As well as the shelves, we’ve also made a solid surface on top of the chinchilla’s crate, where Enzo can sit, relax etc.
On the other side of the crate there’s a longer shelf, leading to another square shelf, and then down onto a second cat tree 🙂
To the left of the second cat tree you’ll also see the rug we’ve fixed to the wall, which is Enzo’s climbing wall/rug!!
Everything is held up with command strips:
At ground level we have firstly cleared lots of spaces to be used as ‘hidey holes’, namely shelves on our TV stand and underneath a bookcase.
We also have an old shelving unit on its’ side, to provide hiding spots, and we bought some sisal rope (the stuff cat scratching posts use) and plan to thread it all around the shelves, so we have a DIY cat scratcher!
This is 10 metres of 6mm sisal rope, and we’ll also get 4mm in so Enzo can choose which he likes best 🙂
As well as that, Ezo also has his own crate 😛
Inside the crate there’s a big upturned RUB to hide in, a rabbit igloo (which is one of his favourite sleeping spots), branches to climb and scratch on, and over the doorway we have a chain with toys dangling from it, which he loves.
Two of them are small, cheap cat toys, and the pirate is a crinkley childs’ toy.
His favourite by far is the long, thin dangling chain which has a small metal screw attached to the end!
A narrow box is the perfect place for keeping Enzo’s rattling ball toys, he *loves* batting them about and watching as they bounce crazily.
We also have a lot of ‘toys’ scattered around the house. Enzo’s favourites by far are his beloved paper bag / bits, and he LOVES strands of hay XD
And he has had a few meals out of puzzle feeders too! Just the small Toppl and hollow bone so far 🙂
There’s also a recess above some cupboards where our Crested Gecko currently lives, and we plan to buy another cat tree in a few weeks time, so he has another observation spot too 😀
*extra info/rant below!*
For anyone interested, our plan is for Enzo to be an indoor cat, with time outdoors on a longline.
I do not think cats need unsupervised access to the outdoors, just as dogs don’t need unsupervised access outdoors. I think with adequate toys, social interaction, and stimulation, cats can live just as happily indoors as dogs.
I think the argument that cats ‘need’ to go outside comes from the fact that cats are seen as easy / independent pets when compared to dogs, and so a lot of people just wouldn’t be willing to put the extra effort in that an indoor cat would enjoy.
Please know I am not hating on cat owners who let their cats go outside – I know cats can live wonderfully happy lives being indoor-and-outdoor cats, and I’m not saying it’s ‘wrong’.
I’m saying it’s not my cup of tea and it’s not something I’d feel comfortable doing…I don’t like the idea of my cat pooing in people’s gardens, getting into fights with other cats, being hit by cars, winding dogs up, or killing wildlife. I’d rather just have an indoor kitty.
However what I really hate is cat owners who refuse to accept that indoor cats can be happy.
I know someone who repeatedly tells me that cats are very different to dogs, and that it’s “cruel” to keep cats indoors whereas it isn’t cruel to keep dogs indoors.
She argues that they need to 24/7 access to the outdoors because “it’s in their nature” – I’m sorry, but isn’t it in our dogs’ natures to chase things, or hunt things? And their ancestors didn’t spend all their time outside?
I know Kasper will chase anything that moves if we let him, and in the early days he caught several birds.
This person puts no effort into her cats in terms of stimulation or play, but doesn’t understand when I say that indoor cats can be happy with more effort…and she never understood why her cats coming into my garden pissed me off. It’s all about stimulation, just as it is with dogs.
It really bugs me the bias there is towards cats too – cats are allowed out unsupervised, allowed to poo anywhere they want, allowed to dash across roads in front of cars, and they can hunt and kill wildlife.
Dogs however must have their poops picked up, they’re legally supposed to be kept under close control at all times, and they can’t go outside without an owner present.
It seems so unfair to me because cats and dogs, they’re not so different. They need exercise, stimulation, and ways to act out their instincts. It just seems so strange to me that almost every site and cat owner can think ‘cats must live outdoors, dogs must stay indoors’ 😛
Again, I don’t think it’s “wrong” to have cats go outdoors, just that you shouldn’t knock indoor cats either. To each their own.