I subscribe to Kathrine's blog and I love all the catification ideas, guest posts and giveaways that she is able to offer to her readers weekly.
Last summer I participated in a contest by Contempocat called "Cats Climbing High". The contest involved posting to Instagram an image of your cat in a high place. The photo was to be tagged as: #CatsClimbingHigh #Catification #ContempoCat #Hauspanther. I participated with this photo of my Smokey Bones standing on the top shelf of our hacked Ikea tower.
We were lucky enough to win the contest, which I thought was unbelievable, since I never win anything LOL. The prize were 4 unfinished cat climbing shelves.
Oh the joy!
The award email, from Contempocat.com, informed me of a few additional options. I could purchase the pelican clips from their website (needed to mount the shelves to the wall) and I could choose finished/painted shelves (for an additional fee) if I wanted. I preferred the unfinished shelves, so I could stain them to my liking. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that Contempocat sells pelican clips for the same cost as any other home improvement store. To make the deal sweeter they would offer a free shelf if one would buy 5 sets of pelican clips - which would also qualify you for free shipping (they are now offering free shipping on ALL orders). Score! Wood is heavy so free shipping was the cherry on top, I went ahead and placed my order. The shelves were delivered a few weeks later and I began to think where the best placement in the house would be. I finally choose to create a staircase to the top of my entertainment center. This ended up being my fun Christmas holidays project. I had to stain and paint indoors, since the thermometer registered -18 that week. Ugh! My DH helped me to get string on the shelves, to make them easier to hang and paint. I used a broomstick straddled between our two saw horses to hang them in place.
I decided to stain them a dark brown, to match my entertainment center. I used Minwax Wood Finish stain in Red Mahogany 225. I did not sand the shelves but a sanding with very fine grit sandpaper would have been better. Hindsight is 20/20.
|Photo courtesy of Minwax.com|
I wore latex gloves to apply the stain to avoid having stained hands for weeks (been there, done that) and used the 'old rag technique'. The shelves took the stain very easily. The hardest part was to get the stain inside all the little grooves. It took some coaxing, but I jammed it in there LOL.
I repeated the process for all the shelves...
...until they were all stained.
I made sure that there were no drips, or pooling of stain in any area, for a uniform look. I then waited 24 hours for the stain to completely cure before I applied a coat of Clear Satin Minwax Urethane.
For this part I used an angled brush. It helped to get the urethane into all the crevices.
Here is a close-up of how my DH used small nails to hang the shelves with string...
We waited a full 48 hours, to make sure that the urethane had completely cured, before tackling installation. These are the pelican clips we used. They can be found at Home Depot (and other home improvement stores) and can be used with any small boards to make your own shelvings.
We first mounted the pelican clips onto the shelves...
We then proceeded to hang them up on the wall, staggering them at regular intervals.
This is how the shelves look seen from above...
...and this is how they look from below.
I'd say they look pretty nice! :) It then dawned on me; if I enticed my cats to get up on the unit, I should at least have something rewarding up there for them. Enters: the sleeping station. I went on a scavenger's hunt to ARC Thrift Store where I found a basket for $2.75 and a lumbar pillow that I "stole" for 50 cents. It's an odd shape pillow that may have been overlooked by many, but it's a cute forest green in a gingham pattern and it fits perfectly in the basket, so it was a great find! I also realized immediately that the basket was very unstable and was sliding all over. NO BUENO. My solution was to place a rubberized mat, cut to size, under the basket to add stabilization. I don't need to have a flying cat falling from the ceiling! Safety first! ^__^
This is Rufus performing her 'invisible cat' routine. She is such a Houdini, I bet you can't spot her!
Gotcha! (Priceless look of terror on her face) LOL!
And this is the whole picture of the final product. I like the way the shelves sort of integrate with the entertainment center and are not too obtrusive. I also chose a darker basket so that it doesn't stick out too much on the dark entertainment center's top. Felis Lynx Rufus enjoys her new hideaway very much. She hops up there and pretends we can't see her. Too bad her ears always stick out of the basket. LOL. She's is still working on her illusionist skills, but she'll be a pro in no time!
I just wanted to share this project (which was not a true DIY since we did not make the shelves ourselves) to show that even the most unskilled crafter can catify a home on a budget. Even if I had purchased all the shelves and clips from Contempocat, I would have only spent $110, which I believe is a very good deal for what you get: an improved quality of life for your pet! Cats are mostly 'tree dwellers', which means they love to climb to high places. This helps them spot danger from afar in the wild, but in a domestic setting it helps them improve their self esteem, it resolves many improper behavioral issues as well as offering multiple pets a calming spot to rest away from the colony. It is a great way to improve small apartments, as it efficiently adds living space for the furry babies.
I also want to encourage everyone to visit their local thrift store to buy items that they can repurpose or update, rather than buying new ones from the mall. Decorating and catifying does not have to be expensive. Your thrift store is not only a never ending source of material, it also supports local charities as well as keeping tonnage out of landfills!