Ups and Downs

08/28/09 - by TheCatCoach

Before I muse about safety in high places, I need to give a lame explanation. I know it’s been forever since I’ve blogged. I’ve been so busy with other projects, including consultations, my columns for Cat Fancy Magazine and and a few others, that I just haven’t been able to sit down and blog. My dad’s sad and awful death has also been on my mind. It’s been an up and down year…

Talking about ups and downs… a recent mishap with one of my cats has inspired me to write about the importance of safety around cat trees and high places. Last month, my 15 year old cat, Maulee had a terrible accident, which resulted in a major laceration, Ms. Maulee loved to sit about 7 feet high in my laundry room. Unfortunately, the pillow she was surveying her world from, shifted under her weight and she fell, causing her major damage. She did not land on her feet. The good news is that after surgery and many hours at the vet clinic, she’s fine.

Her accident has prompted me to talk about safety. Yes, cats do need high places to sit for a variety of reasons. Those high places need to be safe. If you have cat trees, make sure the bases are stable enough that the whole tree can't topple over. You may need to either add a larger piece of wood on the base, or secure the cat tree to the wall somehow. Also, the shelves should be wide enough to accommodate at least one cat, if not two. Always provide escape hatches, so that a cat can’t be cornered. In other words, have more then one way off and on the top shelf and these shelves or pieces of furniture need to be at different heights.

If shelves are used for vertical territory, make sure they are really securely fastened into the wall. Also, they need to be wide. I like shelves that are at least 10 inches wide, with a lip. Again, there needs to be multiple ways up and down so that a cat can’t feel like she can be ambushed by another cat.

Don’t make my mistake! If there are pillows up high on shelves or high furniture, make sure they are secure so that your cat can’t accidentally knock them off and fall. Velcro might work for this.

I spent about one hour yesterday rearranging the location of one of my cat trees so that my cats didn’t have such a long way to jump off of the top of one of my cat trees. One of my cats had gotten into the uncomfortable habit of jumping from 7 feet down to the floor, instead of using the shelves

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