Sam has not been happy
1. I've had less time to spend playing and training with him
2. He's on a diet
3. A new dog moved in
I know he's not happy because of his bad-tempered attitude towards the new dog (Viv), his new digging at the carpet, miaowing excessively for attention, and toileting accidents in the kitchen. In the images above you can see how he stares at Viv, and she knows he's not messing around- look how uncomfortable she's feeling. He uses staring and invading her space, stretching out and licking himself to move her and claim the space. She averts her gaze, softens her eyes and has tension through her body. She moves away from him to to escape his creepy behaviour. To improve Sam's mood, relieve his frustration, get him out of the way of the dog and keep him physically and mentally active, I've catified the walls of our front room aka put up shelves. 3 walls now contain plain shelves and one has a sisal covered shelf.
These walkways can be accessed by leaping onto a diagonally placed ramp/shelf that is also wrapped in sisal. I hoped Sam would also be able to get up via the small shelves either side of the window but so far he hasn't tried that way. To get down he can leap off from anywhere but prefers to use the small shelves. I've made bridges to enable Sam to travel 2 larger gaps in the system.
The shelves are made of 23cm wide mdf which was cut to size for me at Conways local timber supplier. Altogether I paid about £13 for all the mdf including the cutting. The London style brackets were ordered from Amazon for around £20. The plain shelves were painted with the same matt white as my walls to make them less of an eyesore while I decide how to decorate in the longer term. The sisal wrapped shelves took me hours to complete. I ordered 440m (!) of 6mm sisal rope from cheaprope.co.uk and a gluegun with cartridges from Amazon. It took A LOT of glue. And then Viv chewed up the glue gun so I used a friend's to finish off the last 150m or so. The most challenging part was to saw wooden lengths at an angle to enable the ramp brackets to be attached vertically. As you can see from the images, I made one of the angles too steep.
These catifications should increase the choices Sam can make in his day to day life and enable him to avoid confrontation with Viv. Instead of making angry faces at her from the carpet he can stare down imperiously at her from the comfort of his walkways. I'll be using cat wands to encourage him to chase along the routes and catnip spray to excite him about the sisal walkways. You can see this games on @animalbehaviourcoach Instagram. From a sensory perspective I'm not content with the extent of the changes yet so stay tuned for future upgrades as I've lots of ideas. If you haven't already, read Feline Pheromones to find out how pheromone treatment worked for Sam's behaviour. Next time I'll be filling you in on the feeding and training system I've instigated to improve Sam's wellbeing.
I hope these adaptations will improve Sam's fitness, keep his mind active, reduce his frustration and improve his relationship with Viv. Let me know if you've enjoyed the topic and if you're had any experiences of catification in your home.
Until next time, With love from Lucy x