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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-04-2014, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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Catwalk plans--after the move

So I am currently, with my partner, making plans for a catwalk that will circumnavigate the living room and bedroom, to be built hopefully the week or two after Peter and I take our big move (flying internationally to go live with my partner and her dog). I'm pretty sure, given the sizes of the rooms, that I can do almost the whole of both rooms for somewhere in the neighbourhood of 150-200 dollars for basic catwalks.

The plan is for the catwalks to be about 10 inches below the ceiling, perhaps as much as a foot. We're going to build them out of 8 inch wide planks, painting the bottoms to match the decor and leaving the tops raw to allow for kitty gripping. We're going to top-mount the brackets so that the brackets can't be seen from below (which will give the illusion of floating shelves, for the most part, without the loss of strength that can come with them).

We're going to use shelves and furniture to make pathways to the catwalks (such as lining up taller shelves to shorter shelves to the back of the couch to make stairs and using sisal carpet up the side of a bookshelf that will reach to the catwalk so he can climb).

Does anyone see any problems or have any recommendations to maximize the safety of this project? Are 8 inch planks going to be wide enough?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-04-2014, 09:06 AM
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Sounds like an exciting project!

My suggestions would be to provide at least 12"-14" of clearance from the shelf to the ceiling, to make it comfortable for a larger cat to walk along the shelf without lowering their head too much. My catwalk is 12" from the ceiling, and while Newt, my smaller cat, can walk fully upright perfectly fine, Newton (who's about 50% bigger) needs to crouch a little bit when walking. But it isn't too much of an issue.

As for the shelf width, if you can use wider shelving, I think that would work better. 8" would be good as climbing platforms (if you're building any) leading to the top, then wider for the walkways (~10-12"). It gives the cats more real estate to work with, which reduces the potential for accidents i.e. they'll be able to to turn around more easily, and have more freedom of movement for playing, or simply when lounging/napping.

If you have multiple cats (or are planning on getting multiple cats), you should also consider having more than one one entry/exit point.

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Last edited by tezster; 10-04-2014 at 09:09 AM. Reason: typos
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-04-2014, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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We'll have at least 2 entry/exit points though we only have the one cat. We want to give him space that's his, away from the dog (who has never lived with a cat before). As silly as it sounds, the apartment is not that large, so I am concerned that a deeper catwalk than 8 inches may make the room feel very enclosed. I'm planning, as we have more money once I get a job and so on (which will take some time after the move) to add some platforms to the catwalk in the corners for lounging and toys. He'll also have the tops of a bunch of different furniture--shelves and our tv stand is a deep (maybe 18 or 20 inches?) shelf. The catwalks are primarily to give him space that he can get around the room to where he wants to go without his little toesies ever hitting the ground where the dog is, in case she turns out to be a bit too interested in him. She's seen cats and seemed all right, but she's never had 24 hour access to one.

With time, the network will be expanded for him. I probably should have said that in the OP. This is just the basic design, at present.

The advanced (longterm) design? I'm planning to put stolmen (an Ikea vertical tension rod) based cat shelving in some of the corners. I'm planning to add 'catwalks' to the fronts of some of the bookshelves to give him extra lounging space there. If I can figure out a way to support it without doing too much damage to the flat (especially the ceiling), I'm planning to put a cross-beam across the middle of the room that will be wider, for lounging and observing purposes. With time, there may also be hidey-boxes on the walls. Basically, once I get a job in the US and am able to contribute financially, the idea is for him to get a new climby/loungey every few months, to build up our collection so that when we move to a larger place after my partner finishes her PhD, we'll be able to furnish the whole thing as an epic cat paradise for Peter and a friend (probably he will get a friend after I move down as he has never been a solo cat in his life--we've always lived with roommates who had cats and he was a trap from a feral colony that turned out to be snuggly so he got adopted out rather than being released after his neuter). We're thinking about getting a bengal to be his buddy, so we'll want lots of kitty superhighway in the apartment for playful Peter and his potential bengal buddy.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-04-2014, 10:02 AM
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Sounds like a good plan - I think 8" shelf depth should be ok then, since there will be a number of other areas that can be used as resting spots. My entire catwalk shelving is built from IKEA parts, from the stolmen-supported window shelf, to the EKBY shelves. As you can see, mine is a pretty small scale construction, and limited to one room. There are a lot of wonderful and inspirational ideas if you search online.

I know what you mean about keeping the open feeling of a room intact, while adding all these additional shelving and other cat contraptions. You also want to maintain the illusion that the room's main purpose is human habitation, and not feline




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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-04-2014, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah. My Partner doesn't want to live in a space that looks totally for cats. Which is why, since the furniture is black and modern looking, I'm thinking I'll paint the bottoms of the catwalk pieces black, with nice straight, smooth lines all over. She's never lived with a cat (everyone in her family is allergic) for very long, so I don't want to culture shock her by suddenly moving in kitty paradise. I'd rather bring it in graaaaadually. *grin*
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 11:49 PM
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Wow, you two have some very lucky kitties!

You mean the foundation for all good interior design isn't to select and place the cat furniture first and then put your stuff wherever it fits around the cat stuff?

tezster, those little platforms are very cool, and I LOVE the mirror image shot!
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