The Catification piece of Pip and Red was multi-faceted. Red needed to be given access to the vertical world so he could a) find a place to be comfortable and have a sense of ownership, b) get away from Pip to avoid being attacked, and c) be in the same space with Pip in a way that allowed them to observe one another without having a direct line of attack. Because Pip can’t climb due to his cerebellar hypoplasia, giving Red climbing shelves and perches was the perfect solution. Red went immediately “up to Red-land”, as Jackson puts it, and settled in. As we saw, over time, the two cats became more comfortable with each other and were eventually able to be together on the floor with no fighting.
In addition to creating a cat superhighway up high for Red, it was also necessary to create a superhighway on the floor designed especially for Pip. Different floor coverings with varying textures made it easier for Pip to gain traction and move around. Louise’s idea to attach small toys to the looped carpet created the perfect challenge for Pip, giving him something to focus on and a sense of accomplishment when he frees one of the toys from the loops. Both the ability to move around more easily and the added mental and physical stimulation from the toys and textures helped to ease Pip’s stress, relieving his tremors and reducing his attacks on Red.
Finally, adding a terrarium to create “Cat TV” gave Red some entertainment that he could focus on, while giving him an outdoor fix without the dangers of actually being outside.
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The Catification column on JacksonGalaxy.com is written by Cat Style Expert, Kate Benjamin. Kate specializes in environmental enhancement for living with cats and is the founder and editor of hauspanther.com, the premiere online magazine for design-conscious cat people. Kate’s design expertise and Jackson’s cat behavior know-how combine to create cat-friendly environments that are sure to please both human and feline family members alike.