Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Cat Run

What is this you say? Running cats ? Cats running from what? Is this an event?

No...nothing to do with cats running at all. It is about Kitty Lifestyles.

Many cats live their entire life indoors. That is the safest lifestyle for most cars, no attack dogs, no predators, no cat fight wounds. Very safe and often quite dull. Owners can liven up the lives of indoor cats by providing a stimulating environment. Cat beds on window ledges to view the great out doors, hiding small bits of food about the house to simulate hunting activity, walk ways around the house about 18" down from the ceiling with kitty doors allowing them to move from room to room. All these things are great but kitties do like to play the role of the great out door hunter, explore the wilds and lounge in sunbeams.

At WBVC most of our kitty patients live in a very urban area. Vancouver sports a huge population of urban wild life many of which consider cats the piece de resistance when it comes to gourmet dining. When they redesigned a local golf course they found in excess of 200 cat collars in one of the coyote dens!! In addition to coyotes there are many racoons and skunks...both of which can be a challenge for  out door cats.

Dr. Rurak and Ben have several cats in their home. Somehow cats manage to find them and then what is one to do? Invite them in of course. To increase the kitty square footage Ben built a network of cat walks throughout the house. As mentioned these are ledges that go along the walls close to the ceilings with cat door ways between rooms and resting places strategically spaced here and there. When you are in the home you don't realize they have several cats as the kitties have additional floor space! This was great but one of their kitties fondly called "Fish" has a tendency to run out the door whenever it is opened. He takes one on a grand tour before he comes back in again. He can't be left outside because the coyotes are lurking in the bushes waiting for a treat!

Dr Rurak had the solution. She and Ben would build an out door enclosure for the kitties. They would have access through a small window. The cat run, with various ledge levels to explore and lounge on, was a huge success!! The roof over hang provides shelter even on the rainiest days and there is plenty of space to sun bathe. Although rarely successful the kitties have the opportunity to hunt mice, frogs and birds that may be so foolish as to enter the enclosure.   An added advantage is that the cats much prefer the great out doors as a toilet so there is less mess in the indoor litter boxes!!

My kitties did not have a cat run:(  Their out door activities were restricted to highly supervised time on the patio and the occasional escape. The kitties loved the escapes but I did not! Seeing Ben 30 feet up a tree and Linus at 35 feet was not my idea of a good time.

The solution...Ben designed and built my cats the most wonderful cat run!! We put in a window that the kitties could go through but humans could not. The adjoining cat run sits partly obscured by a growth of bamboo. It is about 50/50 out in the open and under the eaves. It is a maze of cat walks, resting ledges and hidey holes. There is a brick area below the window to hopefully keep some of the dirt from coming into the house...I also placed a door mat under the window on the inside. There is a sand box toilet...which the kitties love.

Linus has been very brave...exploring all areas with gusto. Charles is a bit more cautious and hasn't made it to the top level. In time he will get there.

All that is left to do is the interior decoration. Cat beds on the resting places and a soft light for evening. I had the idea of a give an eclectic touch. However my sorte to the second time around store gave me a bit of sticker shock! I found just what I had envisioned...a small 1920s crystal was perfect. However there were some problems. First the proprietor was horrified that it would be going in a cat room (one strike against that shop). Second he said it would likely corrode if out doors and third...the final sported a $1200.00 price tag!!! Definitely beyond my budget so it is time to rethink the interior decor. Perhaps Ikea will have something that sparks my interest:)

For those of you that would love to have a cat run for your kitty but don't have a Ben to build it there are pre fab kitty runs available on line... from tiny cat ledges to cat walk mazes. ...just search "cat run" and several options pop up.

So to keep your kitties both safe and happy consider creating a cat run.

Here are photos of Charles and Linus's Super Run.

Tranquil kitty space

Blends in with the home 
Resting ledges..note the detail of drainage / ventilation holes

Bamboo seclusion. Wire is buried deep into the foundation.

Many levels

Open to the sky

Afternoon shade

Linus peeking at Charles

Linus and Charles

So much to explore!


                                                              THANK YOU BEN

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