16 Oct A well designed home… for cats!
When Amy visits her local vet she is struck by some interior design inspiration… for cats!
Header photo credit: Atticus by Amy Cuker
“If possession is nine-tenths of the law, then our place is truly the cats’ house. “ So begins a glorious book from 1996 called The Cat’s House by Bob Walker that I stumbled upon at the vet’s office just today. Bob and his wife, Frances Mooney, live with 9 cats in a house they have modified their house to be, basically, cat heaven.
Walker’s renovations began with a desire to separate the living room and dining room, and to redirect clawing from furniture to an intentional cat scratch pole. Here are some interesting pages from the book:
A quick google search lead me to videos and their website, where you can learn more about this feline paradise for interior design and space planning. Visit the cathhouse.com website.
There is even a video showing the cats at home in action.
View on YouTube.
Let’s say you want your home to become a cat paradise too, but are maybe not up for extensive renovation? There are plenty of cat products out there that can help you get there and incorporate into you existing interior design. We’ve blogged about some of these before in our “Home is Where Your Pets Are” blog post, read more.
We have also recently been in touch with Tuft + Paw who strives to create sustainable, high-quality cat furniture that you would want displayed in your home.
Why do cats like to be elevated? Tuft and Paws’ cat veterinarian weighs in:
“I think this is mostly instinctual. Cats in the wild are territorial and prefer to survey their territory from a safe point of view. In the wild, they look for places to hide from predators or where to hunt prey. In multi-pet households, elevated perches provide an ‘out’ for cats when they are stressed by other cats, dogs, or people. By adding more vertical space for cats, pets can share a room with much less conflict. Lastly, a cat’s anatomy allows them to climb or jump to high spots that other animals cannot usually reach.”
All of these cat-focused design interventions reminded me of a project we’ve been working on over the past year. Down2Eartn Interior Design teamed up with Phase2 Architecture to create a renovation plan for CARES Veterinary Hospital in Langhorne, PA. Our lobby design was heavily informed by the “fear-free” movement taking hold in the veterinary world: one that thinks about how cats feel most safe and then recreates some of those conditions where possible. In the waiting room, we created perches by the window for cat carriers. These perches are elevated and out of the way of dogs and other cats. We also have designed bench seating that houses storage of extra blankets and towels – to drape over and control views for frightened felines. To quote Tuft and Paw’s veterinarian again, “Creating a safe place or hiding place for cats is very helpful to reduce fear. In households or hospital kennels, cats should have a shielded area to retreat to if they feel stressed.”
One of the things I love about interior design is to think about the problems we solve from the users’ point of view – and who says the users are humans only?