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Feline Design – DIY for Cat Homes

The Cats Room

The Cats RoomThinking of creating a special room or perfect pet project for your favorite feline? You’re not alone. From custom cat enclosures to homemade cat condos, design is going to the cats. Whether you have one cat or ten, every cat should have a room of their own, and the furnishings to go along with it.

Advantages of DIY cat furniture, rooms, enclosures and furnishings are numerous; the most obvious being cost savings.

But there are other reasons as well. Items from other countries have been under scrutiny in recent years, with quality often being sacrificed for quantity. When you create your own products, you know what you’re getting.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal.  A little sweat equity and some basic supplies is all it takes to create unique furniture, a complete room or even an outdoor enclosure like this

The economy has taken a toll on the world, and our pets are not immune from financial changes.  Many individuals have taken advantage of a decrease in hours to build a new world for their pets. People like Joe and Shelley DelRocco envisioned a better cat condo and ended up creating a successful pet business. (A few years after this article was written, they set the world record for the The World’s Tallest Cat Tree!)

Others, like Ruth and Ed Bishop, have taken time not only to transform a spare room into a feline jungle gym , but also to enclose a portion of their garage to create a playful potty room for their indoor-only feline friends.

Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention.

[heading style=”3″ color=”#ff9933″ style_color=”#ff9933″]Adding Rooms[/heading]

Ruth and Ed Bishop of Camano Island, Washington have taken the concept of a “cat throne” to a new and practical level. By re-purposing a spare bedroom, they were able to transform the room into a kitty cat heaven. Complete with multi-level perches, two large cat condos, and a nice view of the Pacific Northwest, kitty comfort is a primary consideration. But, it wasn’t long before they realized that more was needed.

Tired of that “cat smell” that so often accompanies multi-cat households, they took matters into their own hands.

And into their garage…

“Our cats Daisy, Smokey and Sadie are totally indoor cats and our concern was what might happen if they were in the garage when we came home and were able to dart out the door when it was opened.”

Together, they came up with the idea of a “Potty Room,” complete with an exhaust fan, overhead light and nightlight.  The access for them is from the laundry room, which is always opened since the Bishop’s did not want to be bothered with pushing open a door each time one of their three kitties wanted out.

The Potty Room is insulated and has a vinyl floor and full entry for humans to easily handle the cleaning. The walls are pleasantly adorned with customized wall decals of butterflies and bugs to make it feel more “outdoorsy”. Curtains hang on the windows, complete with drapes in the event their cats need a little privacy.

The Cats Room

 If you’re looking for something slightly less labor-intensive that is gorgeous enough to fit into any model home, you can look to Pet Tree Houses.

As a custom home designer with decreasing workload during the housing market crash, Joe found himself with extra time on his hands. When his wife showed him an expensive cat condo she had discovered on sale at a local pet store, Joe knew he could do better. He set out to integrate his home design skills with his knowledge of feline behavior to create a condo that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

Removable carpet assists in easy cleaning and silk leaves offer a unique playground for all things feline.  The use of cedar creates an aromatic scent that beckons all felines, and the natural branches give them the feel of a truly outdoor environment complete with a built-in scratching post. When a relative saw the final product, she immediately placed an order and passed word along.

The end result? A new career path for the couple after founding Pet Tree Houses, which specializes in cat condos and climbing centers designed to stimulate all of felines’ natural desire for exploration.

[heading style=”3″ color=”#ff9933″ style_color=”#ff9933″]Cat Enclosures[/heading]

If you’re not quite ready to design an entire room around your pet, cat enclosures are another popular way to modify an existing structure (be sure to see these amazing Outdoor Enclosures for Cats).

Whether you choose to do-it-yourself, use a kit available online, or have it built by a professional, you can now set up a virtually invisible cat fencing system that keeps your felines in and predators out. Choose a simple layout or incorporate a complex design of your complete yard. 

If you happen to be renting, plan on working with a kit and designing a non-permanent play area, like we did by creating the ultimate cat enclosure.

Choosing an enclosure for your home is a very personal decision. Be sure the cats are allowed both indoor and out, and that they have heated cat sleeping shelters on those cold days.

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[heading style=”3″ color=”#ff9933″ style_color=”#ff9933″]Cat Condos[/heading]

When building a cat condo or tree, remember the laws of balance and gravity, because its not as simple as it looks. A basic understanding of the laws of physics will go a long way to creating the perfect climbing post that won’t tip as a cat climbs. Cat building materials can be found online and plans can be located just about anywhere. Your only limit truly is your imagination.

And while we’re on the subject of vegetation, consider planting a variety of garden grasses near a windowsill. The roughage is great for your cat’s digestive system and satisfies that “grazing” urge. One of our favorite selections of grass seed is from Priscilla’s Kitty Grass who uses a blend of Barley, Oat, Wheat and Rye grasses to create a great-tasting smorgasbord for your cats.

[note style=”5″ icon=”yes”]Note: You’ll want to be sure and eliminate any type of grass from sprouting into the long stalks that resembles foxtails – they can be dangerous to any species if eaten and even if stepped on, they can result in expensive surgery to remove the plant from between paws. Only use seedlings and when they begin to reach maturity, cut them down to a manageable level.[/note]

[heading style=”3″ color=”#ff9933″ style_color=”#ff9933″]Cat Beds[/heading]

Tips for creating the perfect spot for catnaps are numerous. Ideas include everything from wicker baskets lined with soft fleece blankets to a window platform designed for cats who love to sun-worship.  Pick up a basket and a soft pillow or blanket at the local dollar store, and you can have a beautiful cat bed for the cost of a few dollars.

Cats love cardboard boxes. Tape a large box closed, cut a large hole in the center, line with a soft blanket and you have created the ultimate cat hideaway!  Let your human children go wild with some creative, cat-inspired decorations or keep it simple.

[heading style=”3″ color=”#ff9933″ style_color=”#ff9933″]Cat Toys[/heading]

Pieces of leather, small plastic bottles with a few coins inside to make noise, and small but sturdy branches tied off with a piece of fabric can provide the perfect entertainment for your pets. Take a look at your cat’s favorite plaything and find natural ways to replicate the product. It can be as easy as cutting an old sock in half and placing catnip inside before sewing an end closed!

[heading style=”3″ color=”#ff9933″ style_color=”#ff9933]Scratching Posts[/heading]

Scratching posts can act to preserve not only your furniture, but also your sanity.

Cats have a natural need to expel the outer sheath of their nails, and this is done through scratching. Whether you choose a vertical or horizontal board for your feline’s grooming, they can be inexpensive to build and highly effective in keeping cats entertained.

Design comes down to your own comfort levels and style preferences. Some of our favorites include these stylish and very well designed handmade cat trees from Mountain Cat Trees.

From room enclosures to custom furniture and removable carpet squares for pet-friendly design, the new trend in real estate and home decorating is to take a pet-centric approach. Integrate any type of design you can dream up and you’ll have a safe and happy feline family that is as much a part of your home as you.

These days, your only limitation is your imagination.

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