Kashmir and Darla's case definitely required some catification in order to help alleviate the tension, not just between the cats, but also between Brenda and Dean. Jackson brought me in to help with this design and we wanted to share a little more about what we did.
During Jackson's first visit, he identified that Darla is definitely a tree dweller, meaning that she likes to climb to high places, especially when Kashmir (who stays primarily on the ground) on is the hunt. Brenda and Dean's place also had a lot of dead ends where Kashmir could easily trap Darla. We needed to give Darla a way to climb up and out of the way, allowing her to traverse the space without being trapped.
We focused primarily on the dining room, first de-cluttering the area by adding a sideboard that provides streamlined storage and a cat-friendly surface on top. Above the sideboard, we hung several cat shelves and topped them with carpet pieces held in place with double sided carpet tape. As you can see, Darla is quite pleased with her shelves.
To allow easy access to the top of the sidebar and the shelves, we added a cat tree using the Ikea Stolmen pole and step shelves from Whisker Studio. This type of cat tree is perfect for Branda and Dean's space, since it's light and airy and requires very little floor space.
To add more lanes to Darla's superhighway, as well as a bit of a hideaway, I created two climbing tubes using simple cardboard cement tubes painted shiny red and trimmed with black faux fur. We placed a strip of sisal inside for comfort and attached the tubes to the wall with two straps. Darla loves her new climbing tubes!
One of the fun things about this design that you didn't hear about on the show, is that all of the artwork we integrated into the climbing wall is original artwork by Brenda. Including personal touches like this can really customize your cat climbing wall, making it not just utilitarian, but also something for everyone to enjoy.
Darla's superhighway actually extends all the way into the kitchen. This is an important feature because it allows access to the climbing wall from two different parts of the house. Since space was limited in the kitchen and we knew that Darla could easily climb a pole (Brenda and Dean had seen her do it before), I created a floor-to-ceiling scratching/climbing post using another Ikea Stolmen pole wrapped with extra thick sisal rope (available at Home Depot). Darla can easily scale the pole to reach the top shelf, then navigate across the climbing wall into the living room, avoiding the ambushes that used to happen on the floor.
Darla's new superhighway provides her with alternates route and a way to climb up to where she can get away from Kashmir as needed, bringing peace to Brenda and Dean's home and hopefully keeping both the humans and the felines happy for years to come.
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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.