13 June 2014

Cat Tree Construction

Welcome back. Don’t worry; I’m not writing about cats again. This is about cat trees--structures that cat owners might offer their cats in place of the drapes, closets, refrigerator tops, kitchen cabinets, tables and counters, and all those other places cats go to climb, explore, play and loaf, especially but not exclusively when the owners aren’t around.

Blame the topic on my wife Vicki. Two months ago, our son Noah mentioned to her that he and his wife Cassy were thinking about buying a cat tree to entertain and contain their two cats, Henry and Timothy. (Yes, it’s the same Henry that used my head as a launching pad to leap after a flying bug, Cat and Man--Henry and Me.)

When Vicki realized what Noah meant by a cat tree, she advised him, Don’t buy; we’ll build one. By “we,” she was thinking it would be a fun project for her and her father Muns. She assumed that Muns, who thinks cats belong only in barns to ward off rodents, would by now have forgotten or forgiven that, when Vicki was quite young, she hid a kitten in her room for days before he found out.

“We” did not include me. Unless there’s a requirement for my services, I don’t always hear about Vicki’s projects. I didn’t learn about the cat tree until I saw it in the shop, nearly complete, when I attended the Saturday Coffee Hour.

Vicki’s initial cat tree design. Different
colors are different sections for
assembly and disassembly.

That’s too bad, because I could have helped. I’ve known about cat trees since an advertisement for one was appended to one of my blog posts three years ago. In fact, that post introduced Henry, Time for Pets--Henry the Cat, which is rather prophetic, no?

Community Project

Anyway, as Vicki related the happenings to me, she found photos of cat trees online, selected one and used PowerPoint to design a tree with dimensions that would fit through most doorways, provide ample space at the top for a cat in an eight foot ceiling room, and be assembled and disassembled in parts for transport
from Wisconsin to Virginia in our little Honda Fit.  

The nearly complete cat tree and
Jay, who stepped forward as
project lead. Mauve-colored parts
are those covered with carpet.
Uncarpeted vertical posts are
wound rope. Catnip toys would be
 hung strategically.
Vicki’s initial design was refined at various stages based on available and procured materials (wood, carpet, rope, etc.) and consultations with Muns and several Saturday morning regulars. Although Muns and the other consultants have much more experience building aircraft and cars than cat trees, each is more than capable at carpentry. One, in fact, had just finished making cribbage boards for family members and was about to start on bowls fashioned in layers with different woods.

Wrap Up

There was no attempt at cost accounting for comparison with commercially available cat trees, and there was no serious consideration of--or even the slightest interest in--a cat tree construction business. 

A trial run to check if the disassembled
cat tree would fit in the Fit and leave
space for luggage and Warren.
Once the tree was complete, the consultants went back to airplanes, cars and wooden bowls, Vicki advanced to the next project on her list (not that there’s any real order), and I was given her photos and permitted to blog about it.

Oh! What happened with the cat tree? How did Henry and Timothy respond? I’ll show you on Tuesday. Thanks for stopping by. Bring a friend next time.

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