Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Digs

This is another entry from last year that stayed on the jump drive while waiting for photos. Since then I've taken many photos, so I'm finally getting this finished!

July 2010 - Earlier this year I changed vets. It was a tough decision; I'd been taking my cats to the same clinic for the past 25 years. But a change was needed, and so far, the new vet has been very helpful.

Last month she saw Rollie for his annual checkup, and we talked about Rollie's biggest problem, which is his behavior. He is very afraid of some things, like loud noises, and strangers, but sometimes he gets too wound up, and plays too rough with the other cats, or with me. Rusty is just a big, slow-moving bumble, and when Rollie comes flying out of nowhere and jumps on him, he usually ends up getting hurt. Last year he even broke a tooth during a scuffle.

The vet's suggestion for Rollie was give him more attention, and also to get him a cat tree, so that he could have a high place to perch, and feel dominant, and a house to hide in to feel safe. 

Now, I'm not a big fan of cat trees, because most are made with carpeting, and I don't like carpeting at all. I'd pull it off all my floors if there was anything even remotely decent underneath (there's not - there's old cracked linotile from the 50's - probably the kind with asbestos in it).

I started shopping, and I found a website that offered trees in dozens of configurations, most with sisal posts and fleece covering, instead of carpet. Some were huge, with many levels and hammocks and ropes for climbing. I selected one that looked like it would work for my kitties.

It came well packed, with very easy directions, and I put it together and set it up in the living room. As soon as it was set in place, Rusty made a move and climbed into the house and gave me a look that said "Well, it's about time you did this - I've been waiting for ages". 
For the first four days it was Rusty's house, and Rollie was back on the floor, looking very put out. I'd get ready for work in the morning, and by the time I had to leave, Rusty was in the house and Rollie was sulking. I'd come home and Rusty was in the treehouse and Rollie was on the floor.
Then something happened. I don't know what. I wasn't there to witness it. But suddenly Rollie had control of the entire cat tree, and Rusty was hobbling around and very grumpy. It's been like that ever since. Every now and then Rusty gets in the treehouse, but as soon as Rollie notices, there's a tussle. You'd think that since it has several levels, that everyone could just pick a spot and get along, but not my bunch. Lily hardly even goes near it.

Eventually, I'll probably get another one for the sunroom, because I'm getting used the this one and not finding it too unattractive. The problem though, seems to be that a lot of the models on the website have very steep jumps from level to level, and my cats don't climb like kittens would. I think these trees would be great for kittens. But for arthritic old Rusty, he needs something with a bit more slope, and a bigger landing pad. And the house could be bigger. I'll have to see if I want to get this same model again, or try a different one. 

One thing I do like about this company is that you can order any piece individually, so that if your cats comepletely tear up one of the posts or levels, you can just replace that piece instead of buying a whole new unit.

August 2011 - After having this tree for almost a year, I can say it was certainly worth the money. Rollie is on it several times a day. Sometimes he charges up to the top so fast and with so much vigor I'm worried he'll tip it over, but he never has. I've been able to clean the fleece with a cat brush and the vacuum, and it's only a little worse for wear. Rusty does manage to hang out in the house every now and again, but he sticks out each opening! And I even saw Lily go on it a few times, all by herself, but as soon as she realized I was watching, off she ran. Has it changed Rollie's behavior? I think so. Look how content he is!

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