Jackson Galaxy through Animal Planet, where the cat behaviorist has appeared as a guest many times. Now he has his own fantastic show, "My Cat from Hell." It's not just for people with problem cats (or as Jackson might put it, cats with problem people). No, Blog--this show teaches you super useful things about being the guardian of any cat. And today I'll tell you about only one of them.
Jackson has pointed out several times in the first two episodes of MCFH that many cats are "tree cats." While some are "bush cats" and feel most comfortable in settings low to the ground, it is instinctual for most cats to enjoy being high up. And when they have access to high spots--shelves, rampways built by handy folks with power tools, and cat trees--many cats are much happier.
So, we decided last weekend to get a cat tree. I researched the heck out of the subject (like I obsessively tend to do) and found this economical, well-reviewed, simple cat tree available from PetSmart.
What I like about this tree:
1. It's tall. Which is the point. The upper shelf of the tree is about five feet high, putting a cat there at eye level with humans, which is nifty.
2. It has curved perches. I read on a blog that platforms that are curved or nest-like are appreciated by many cats, because they feel less likely to fall.
3. It looks good in our house--matches the carpet and doesn't have too big of a footprint.
4. It's sturdy and stable, but light enough to move from spot to spot.
Which I did. First we put the tree by the patio doors, the intended spot. It lets the cats watch the trees and birds outside. Then I moved it to the living room, where they could look out another window or just nap by us while we talk or watch TV. At night I moved it next to my computer desk, so Cody could hang out with me while I worked. Beats the heck out of his former fave spot, draped over the keyboard!
It's possible to enhance a simple cat tree like this too. I added a second dangle, using some chain I had and securely stapling it to the wood through the carpet. We have several dangle toys so now can change them up easily on the tree. I set up the tree next to a silk tree for some fun foliage to hide behind. I installed a catnip fish on a wire out of the silk tree, within batting range from the upper perch, and that was a big hit.
All our cats find the tree intriguing and fun. Tiny tuxedo cat Selke digs the lower perch. Our Norwegian Forest Cat Alice seems to be a bush cat, but she likes staring at her siblings and playing with the lower dangle toy. Cody (our brilliant tabby) has definitely fallen in love. I made a video of Codes demonstrating for you some of the awesome things a cat can do in a cat tree. I hope you'll watch...it turned out really kind of beautiful (I love the background music) and sure captures the happiness that can come from a cat tree.
Thank you, Jackson Galaxy! You've made our cats' lives (and ours) better already. Next up: I've started getting Cody used to a harness and he's going to learn to walk on a leash, like the cat we saw on Jackson's show. As much as he loves being on the patio, Codes is going to flip over being able to go for walks and explore!