Can we talk cat condo for a minute?

marti8aNovember 8, 2011

The cat has been with us for a year now. A year ago he was a feral who wouldn't come out from under the bushes when we were outside. Now he has been neutered, stays in our yard 90% of the time (I lock him in the shed at night), and loves to be petted. In the last couple of weeks, he will even get in my lap if I am sitting on the floor.

Last winter I let him into the kitchen as long as I was watching him, and he has free reign in the garage.

He's about 20 pounds and I have never seen him climb a tree, though he does get in the back of the pickup, and in chairs. He is at least 60% responsible for the demise of the fabric in our patio chairs and I think it's time for a cat condo. Other than online, I've never seen one, but I'd like to be able to move it from house to deck to garage.

Is that possible, or do they need to be anchored in place? I have really limited space in the kitchen and would like to put it up against the wall under the window with top perch at window level.

How narrow can it be and still be safe, especially for a 20 lb cat?


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P.s. The cat doesn't like cages, probably because he's been trapped before. When he first started hanging around here, I didn't want him here and borrowed a trap but he never went near it. So now, taking him to the vet is a real problem because he absolutely will not go in a carrier. I have been wondering if a cat condo with an enclosure in it, like this one would get him used to being in a confined space, or if he would refuse to go in it. I have a big Rubbermaid tote with a pillow in it that he sleeps in, so that's a start.

Isn't that the cutest condo?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 1:13PM
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Why are cat condos all covered with carpet?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 1:14PM
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I built a tower for our cats. It's a 4X4 timber about 7' tall, with several levels, and an open box at the top. The cat likes to lounge in the box with her legs and head hanging over the side. I carpeted it for climbability. I wrapped manila rope around the base for them to scratch on, and they actually use it! The only problem with such a tall tower is getting her down if we need to.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 4:50PM
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Do her claws ever get hung in the carpet?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 4:54PM
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Marti- Maybe try putting a big cat carrier in the garage (like a small dog size) and put a towel in the bottom and a few catnip toys. Sometimes child toys rolled in a little catmint are safer that kitty toys. Whatever you use, make sure that little parts won't fall off (or be chewed off) that kitty could eat.

If you leave this set up in the garage...and it's plenty roomy and has the toys...your kitty should start playing in it and maybe even sleeping in it. This should make it easier to get kitty to the vet :)

Instead of a cat condo, I actually get those little cardboard boxes with catmint at Walmart (for about $7) and let the kitties play with those. They have bigger ones, usually for bigger cats...but most of the time the cat will sit on the box and roll in the catmint, then it usually doesn't move too much.

If you decide you still want a cat condo, a nice one like Jay's is going to be expensive. It will be worth it, but a less expensive one will work, if you don't mind vacuuming up the cheap carpet that falls out constantly...especially when they're new! Hope this helps :)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Locking wheels is your answer here, Marti. I love mobile stuff.

And cover a post with tough carpet. They do need something to sharpen their claws, and carpet is great. If you don't put it out there, they will sharpen on the screens, the lawn chairs, the furniture, the drapes, you name it.

I've only had two cats my entire life, and am not the best one to advise you, but both Shades and Desertsteph are life long cat people, I believe.

In my experience, watch out for your wicker and your upholstery, and do NOT get a second cat which you let inside the house.

One solution I saw at a friend's house, when they left the cat home and they went on trips. It was a kitty door through the wall, and inside they had the "condo/crate"
or the refuge from the cold. The cat was trained to enter through the kitty door, and then the container was attached after he learned it was HIS SPACE. So you would not have to worry about him coming into your house, if you put this access door into the side of the garage. If you have issues with other critters like possums and raccoons, you do not want them entering your garage for any reason, and such an arrangement would protect your kitty from the elements, and protect your property from vandalism by critter.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 7:17PM
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I have never had a kitty condo. I think what you linked to are wonderful. A bit spendy but I suppose a person could make them with those tubes you can buy at home depot. I am not sure how to attach carpet to them. I am sure you could find out. Probably the same stuff you glue carpet down with.

I use a medium sized dog kennel as a second kennel on the porch. We still have the old kitty that hates the others.. so now there is always a bed for every one. The large dog house and a laundry basket and the dog kennel.

I really like the out door chain link kennel I redid this summer for the house kitties. They can come and go as they choose.But only the one will use it. But then they have free run of the house inside.

I think ML's idea of a kennel inside the garage with pet door might work if you can get him to go in it. Kitties are pretty independent. The one house kitty really rebelled against the outside kennel as he was used to running free. Now he is fine with it and happy he can go in and out as he chooses. The other inside kitty will have nothing to do with the outside kennel.

We put a large pet door on the porch kitties large house and they do not like it. I am thinking we will have to do some thing different. Drape a cloth over the door way. I know they are able to use it they just resist. When I prop the pet door open they go right in. Otherwise they choose another spot to sleep.

One thing you CAN predict about cats is you can NEVER predict what they will do. LOL

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 8:19PM
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Right now the cat won't go near a cat/dog carrier because he remembers being in one after his surgery. He has a great memory I guess. He won't get into my car because that is the car that took him to get fixed. I couldn't even get him into a Rubbermaid tote and put the lid on. His fight or flight reflexes are outstanding.

I have a cat sedative so I can get him to the vet tomorrow, and I have a pet carrier in the car that I borrowed from a neighbor. If I put it in the garage, he won't come in the garage. I just hope I can get him to to take enough to get him in the carrier tomorrow. I plan on starving him until an hour before the appointment, and then mixing the crushed pill with cat food and smearing it on his paws so he has to lick it off. Otherwise, he won't eat it at all.

When we go on trips, he can sleep in the dog house, which is (or was) the entire inside of a bottom cabinet in the shed, with a doggie door to the outside. The rest of the time, he has the Rubbermaid tote in the shed with a pillow. Dh lets him out when he goes to work in the morning, and leaves the garage door up a little so he can squeeze under during the day.

He is not a house cat and never will be. He wants to sharpen his claws on anything and everything, and my youngest dd is highly allergic to cats and wouldn't come home if the cat were allowed to come in any further than the kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 8:26PM
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If you use carpet, make sure it isn't the kind that's looped...cats get their claws stuck in that kind.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 5:11PM
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If what the cat needs is to scratch something, a cat condo would work, but isn't your only option. There are a lot of different scratching posts out there and most are a lot cheaper than the cat condos. My cats have all really liked and used the flat cardboard cat scratchers. which are really just cut strips of cardboard crammed tightly in a cardboard tray. They claw at them, they sleep on them. My cats use their cat tree mostly to climb up and get away from each other.

The cardboard scratchers are cheap enough to buy several and put them where you want them. There are also carpeted scratching posts that are about 2 to 3 feet high--those are easy enough to move where you need them. Most large pet stores will have several varieties.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 5:56PM
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I've seen those cardboard cat scratchers and though about buying one, but this cat is mostly outdoor and I thought it wouldn't be good outside at all. The cat does like scratching horizontally, though he will scratch on anything. He seems to especially like my tires. I'm not crazy about that because I keep thinking he's going to move on to the rubber on the wheel wells and bumper.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 9:57PM
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My cats like scratching on those fiber-type welcome mats.

We also have a cedar board nailed up vertically that they love to scratch on. And of course, they like to use fence posts, logs, etc.

A lot of those store-bought scratching posts tip over, and they really aren't tall enough for them to get a good stretch going while scratching.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 11:10PM
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Yes, the corrugated box stuff would work. And believe me, they also love old WICKER. Oh dear yes, I had a problem with my cats clawing the arms of a wicker sofa.

Never heard of the cat liking to claw rubber, but they have some pretty unusual cravings.

Yes, OldGardener, the store bought posts do tip over, when you have an enthusiastic scratcher of any size at all.

Marti, your cat sounds very independent, and phobic. Like my little boy maltese, he remembers which vet "did him in," and he growls at him every time. And my parrot knows that when I bring out the carrier he is headed to the vet, unless I've spent days packing. So yes, they are smart smart critters. Good luck with the tranquilizer. The one we were given for our cats, to calm them down for a 1500 mile trip, only made them drunk, and they meow-meow-meow like dripping water torture for the WHOLE TRIP, TWO DAYS.
It was the LAST time I went anywhere with cats, and is the reason I have no cats these days.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 2:39PM
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The sedative worked like a charm, but like you said ML, it made him act like a drunkard. He meowed all the way to the vet, but it sounded like a toddler saying "Noah". It was so funny, and pathetic.

He stayed that way all afternoon, and the next day he wasn't acting right at all. He wouldn't get out of his bed for a long time, and cried when I picked him up. I called the vet and he said some cats have a reaction to the shots and they made him sore. He said to give him 1/2 an aspirin and it would perk him right up. I didn't think the cat would fall for the meds on paws trick again, but he did, and it took several hours for him to perk up.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 8:12PM
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Glad you were able to get him to the vet. Hope he is feeling better today.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 10:38AM
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Oh yes, he's back to normal. He scratched me pretty badly last night. He was at the door waiting to get out, and I walked over to open the door, and bent down to pet him and he freaked out and got one of my arms.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 11:31AM
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Oh Darn I know how they can freak so fast. I think it is really hard for them to ever forget their fear totally. Hope you heal fast.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 5:30PM
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Marti, please be careful of infection from a cat scratch.

A dispatcher who loved cats had his toddler scratched by his cat, and she wound up with some life-threatening infection. As a result, he absolutely hated cats after that.

And, a cat scratch, or even a cat bite, on a parrot, will kill it. Even small birds that you rescue from your cat seldom will survive what seems to be a tiny break in the skin. It is because of bacterial infections, the claws are so full of germs. So please be cautious.

So your little wildthang is neutered now? Best thing that could have happened as far as his future goes. Good move.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 6:21PM
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I've been keeping neosporin on it. Yes, he's been neutered for about a year now. I think he would really like to be a house cat now, but with his scratching and claws, that will never happen.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 9:04PM
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