I am quite pleased with how it turned out...this might sound a bit silly, but even just my recent learning of the fact that screws generally hold wood together more securely than nails and/or glue has hugely increased the range of stuff I can conceivably make. Plus it complements the kitchen, both in style (which, for this house, is turning into a sort of amalgamation of mid-century modern, craftsman, and industrial, at least inasmuch as I'm familiar with such aesthetics), and in color (the advantage of using leftover paint!).
But I digress. I like when things I make turn out well by my standards, but it isn't my standards that really matter as far as cat-furniture goes. This whole thing would be a total failure in my mind if the resident feline critics disapproved.
Yes, I'd tried to take their preferences (e.g., they all prefer to eat on some sort of raised platform, rather than out of a bowl on the ground, but are less particular about water) into account, as well as avoid some of the asinine mistakes I've seen in various kitty-furniture designs (e.g., cabinets that have both a cubby for the litterbox and a compartment for food bowls in close proximity -- nobody wants to eat right next to the toilet if they can help it!).
But of course I did not know for sure whether they'd rate it a Win or a Fail until the paint dried and all the screws were in and the thing was installed in the kitchen (in their favorite snacking-and-birdwatching spot, in front of the window).
The results? Observe, below!
Nikki was the first to investigate, and very quickly found the new food spot:
All three youngsters (from left, Brodie, Shadow, and Coraline) come by to check things out:
Brodie finds the water bowl location acceptable, moreso because he gets to hide partly behind a support post during the hydration process:
Cora realizing "hey, I can jump between platforms of multiple heights here now!"
Shadow listens to a bird from the food platform:
...so while I cannot articulate their precise opinions on the new structure (at least not in human language), it looks to me as if they are quite pleased with it. Hooray!
For those interested in the technical details, here is a rough list of the materials and components I used to build the structure:
- 3" general-purpose screws (lots of these, this was the main item I used to connect the different boards together)
- 1" drywall screws (to secure sisal doormat-material to the tops of the 2 smaller platforms -- which aren't made of drywall, but those screws are nice and grippy and I find pre-drilling is not necessary when I use softer wood like pine)
- Miscellaneous wood scraps: several bits of 2x4 from the garage de-conversion, several bits of 2x6 stock (left over from a work-bench Matt built recently), some very small pieces of what I think was some kind of particle board from two bathroom cabinet shelves I removed, one square of 3/4" plywood (the food platform -- also leftover from Matt's workbench), and a few pieces of pine board from the old kitchen (which we basically demolished).
Interestingly, I only ended up cutting two or three pieces of available wood. Everything else was already just about the right size for what I needed it for -- what luck!
- Leftover paint: Behr "Dark Cavern" for the base (eggshell enamel), a mixed green color (also eggshell, I forget what colors I mixed though) for the platform things, and (from a tiny sample-size jar) a color called "Oat Straw" in flat interior sheen on the support posts.
- Two rectangular sections of a sisal doormat thing
- Gaffer's tape (on the edges of the doormat sections, to keep them from fraying where they were cut)
- Small metal corner brackets, on two of the support posts and on each piece of the little corner-angle food-bowl-stabilizer (which keeps the food bowl from being pushed off the back or side of the feeding platform).
- Anti-skid shelf covering material in a light tan color (I put a piece of this under the food and water bowls to avoid them being pushed around and/or spilled)
The tools I used were:
- Power drill / bit driver (ours is a Ryobi something-or-other; it's serviceable but kind of old and the batteries don't hold a charge very well anymore, but it got the job done)
- Philips screwdriver (the manual kind, medium-sized)
- Wood saw (the packaging said it had "aggressive teeth", which was good because it went through the wood fairly fast)
- Shop vac! (Craftsman, 2 gallon model)
- Misc. paintbrushes and rollers
- Paper towels (ok not really a tool but pretty indispensible for any project involving paint)
I don't have plans or blueprints or anything because I did not create any. I just took the dimensions I knew the kitchen could accommodate, and the dimensions (roughly) of the wood scraps I had on hand, and the parameters I figured were cat-relevant, and combined them. I also took into consideration things like surface texture -- a lot of commercial cat trees are covered with carpet and I did not want that sort of fuzz factory in the kitchen. Something made mostly of smooth / painted wood, with the only textile-ish parts being of natural sisal fiber, seemed much more appropriate for where the structure was going to be used and what it would be used for.
OK that is about all I can think of regarding this DIY project but feel free to ask questions! I would also be happy to advise on possible designs for some kind of custom structure for your home if you have cats and a small / odd / specialized space in which you'd like to put a bit of furniture for them.
NOTE: Comments are closed on this post temporarily (as of 4.26.10), because I keep getting these really obnoxious serial spam link-comments about "nude celebrities" and whatnot. And it's doing this weird thing where I have to delete the same comment 10 or so times before it actually goes away.