2014 HATFIELD, MA
Photo credit SugarRushStudio.com
In February, 2014 my friend Eliza and her partner Tiffany bought their first house together. After seeing a few photos she posted on Facebook I knew I wanted to help catify their incredible new home for their seven cats. This would be the first time Eliza’s cats Kirby, Agnes, Monkey, Judd and Naked would meet Tiffany’s cats Encore and Pluto and having perches, walkways and cat trees would be an important part of an easier transition into their new home. In addition to the cats, three dogs would call this home as well, making it all the more important that the cats has their “cat only” space.
The house was beautiful, not only on its own, but the potential for catification was amazing! Vaulted ceilings and open concept design was ideal for creating vertical spaces for cats. A beautiful stone central fireplace was a major focal point with long beams running the entire length of the house.
Above you can see a few “before” photos which really give you a sense of the great space I had to work with. All the catification would take place on the first floor which included the entry way, living room, and dining room next to the kitchen.
“When we discussed moving in together we knew we had the cats to consider. When we saw this house, we loved it right away and I immediately thought of Rebecca Mountain to come make it a cat palace. We both agreed on what we wanted and knew that she would be able to help with the vision of a catwalk with multiple access points.” -Eliza
After discussing some ideas about the design with Eliza and Tiffany we all agreed that it would be best to create a kitty “super highway” so that the cats could travel all the way from one end of the house to the other without setting foot on the floor. Multiple points of access would be important to allow the cats to get up and down so they never felt stuck or cornered.
Beginning at the Southeast end of the house, I installed a 12” x 6’ window perch in front of the wide, South facing window, a perfect spot for the cats to soak up some sun while watching the wildlife.
From here, Mountain Cat Climber shelves were installed 24” apart leading up to the Southeast corner of the room. Next I had to create custom shelves to allow access over the sliding glass door. Because of the embedded decorative beams along the walls, the shelves had to be mounted straight down onto these beams and shimmed as the beams were not flat on top. This worked perfectly and now the cats could travel over the door.
Upon reaching the other side of the sliding glass door, the cats would arrive at a custom 6 foot cat tree. The cat tree provided a way down to the floor and also access to the first catwalk. Extra-large platforms as well as a roomy hammock made the cat tree perfect for this multi cat home. Above you can see Agnes exploring the cat tree and playing with the dangle cork toy. Isn’t she cute?
Back up the cat tree the cats can easily step onto the catwalk which extends approximately 16 feet towards the West to the central post. Above you can see Agnes (the star of the photo shoot) traveling down the catwalk, surveying her kingdom.
When the cats reach the central post they can choose to take the steps down to the floor, or continue around the post to the second catwalk on the other side. At the bottom of the post, I used over 200 feet of manila rope to wrap the first two feet of the post giving the cats a very convenient place to scratch.
The second cat walk extends another 16-20 feet to reach the West end of the house. From here I added more shelves to allow the cats to travel North along the West wall and access the second floor.
I wanted to create something special and a little different for the wall just below the second floor railing. I wanted to create a wall of cat shelves that look something like leaves growing off branches. The result is the “leaf wall”. This space gives the cats multiple perching spots and they can even access the staircase from here.
Finally we see Agnes and Encore enjoying to interactive play with the Tassel Teaser Wand Toy.
About the transition for the cats Eliza said: “The cats are doing great. They are all integrated and there is no way it would have gone this smoothly without the cat shelves, perches, and walkway.”
From beginning to end, the whole project took about three months. Most of what was installed was custom which added a lot of time but in the end I was extremely happy with the result as were Eliza, Tiffany and the cats.
“This is an example of Catification at its finest! The cat superhighway is fantastic, with multiple lanes and plenty of on- and off-ramps — especially important in a multi-cat household like this. All of the elements fit seamlessly into the home, matching the decor perfectly while celebrating the cats who live there. Bravo!”
—Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin, Co-authors of Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!) (Tarcher/Penguin, 2014)