Text and photos by MANUEL YAP
Cats are very agile and can climb well. They also like having their own personal place. Some humans sleep with them, while others build enclosures for them.
In my previous article in April 2018, I wrote about Yumi, our Scottish Fold Cat. I plan to provide her a place in the backyard where she could relax and go out to play.
Googling the best dimensions for our feline friend’s enclosure, I found that the most popular was 24x24x36 inches. For the color, I wanted pink because it fit Yumi’s personality.
I then checked for enclosures that were commercially available, and I noticed that most of them were of the grid or wired type. It was more common to see those types being used for Birds.
DESIGNING THE CAT ENCLOSURE
I wanted the enclosure to have a roomy feeling. Since I did not find any that fit the description, I decided to design and make one instead. The vertical dimension was what would make it different from Dog enclosures, because Cats have a great ability to leap and climb.
My idea was very simple: The front should have an open view for the cat. The main material would be fiberglass, and the doors would be clear acrylic. The internal space would house a feeder, drinker, litter box, bed, podium, and swing.
I would also add a thermometer and a play scratcher. The enclosure would have LED lights and a fan which would be attached to a 24- hour timer.
I then rendered the layout digitally to have a better idea of how it would look like. I was quite skeptical at first if the Cat could climb its way towards the swing.
These are the main parts of the enclosure.
One of the best discoveries made for cats is cat litter, given how Cats by nature are very clean creatures.
The litter box would serve as the enclosure’s very own comfort room. Many types of commercial litter are available in the market, wood and sand type being the most popular. Some sand types are scented while others have charcoal components.
Those available in the market are made of fabric. I do not want to use such material, because Cats tend to shed and their fur will adhere to the fabric. The fabric also tends to absorb moisture, which will cause fungal disease and foul odor.
Fiberglass, on the other hand, is non-porous and has nice temperature retention properties.
The podium would act as a chair and a stepper. It provides safe assistance for the feline to reach the swing.
This is the highest part of the enclosure. The vertical height and internal fixtures of the enclosure would provide more movement for Yumi.
FOOD DISH AND DRINKER
Both are made of fiberglass for uniformity.
The actual fabrication took around three weeks.
As we placed Yumi in her new enclosure, she curiously checked out the place without much fuss. She easily settled into her new room. Her former cage was a smaller version without the internal fittings.
A few days later, I shared photos of my design to Animal Scene’s very own Jeffrey Lim. As supportive as he was in complimenting my design, he suggested only one thing, saying that the best length for a single feline would be threefeet.
Lesson learned: Ask trusted experts first before creating something hard.
Because I wanted to provide the best for our animal companion, I did not hesitate to redo the design. It took another four weeks to make a new enclosure from scratch with the length modification.
When the new enclosure was completed, I could see why Jeffrey gave the recommendation. An additional length of one foot made a big difference for the comfort for the cat.
As for the previously built enclousre, I gave it to our Chihuahua. He then had an instant high-ceiling room! The timed LED white lights also looked quite nice at night.
ALL FOR A BELOVED CAT
Many cat parents think of the great joy that companion animals provide them. However, for me, it’s the other way around: My priority is the comfort and care I can provide for them.
Ease of maintenance, comfort of
the animal, and aesthetics are the simplified categories I follow in terms of providing them care. I am glad that Yumi seems to love and appreciate the enclosure’s design.
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“But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.’” 1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV