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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:07 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Actually, I can't remember if we put backs on the vanities and wet bars. If not, then it's not difficult to cut a hole where the plumbing pipes come out from the wall. That may have been what we did.

Here is a picture of the outdoor cat sleeping on the heated bed in the upper room of the cat house. The heater was on and it was getting dark out, so the grainy picture is because I was a ways away when I took it. I didn't want to wake him up. It was 29 degrees out at the time. He spent one entire night up there when it got down to 12 degrees. At the moment, he is in his box heated bed since it is above freezing. I try to give him a lot of options so he is comfortable.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:01 pm 
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Good work, and interesting tips from fellow members too!

We recently received two six-month old boys so I am following in your footsteps. I want them to have good play / climbing facilities but being a good DIY'er don't want to just buy something.

All I have done so far is wrap sisal rope tightly around a table leg and provide a floor toy with scratch material. I have fixed two old shelves, covered with carpet staggered up the wall above the sofa to get them started. Gus has already launched himself from the high shelf down to the sofa cushion - over 5' drop for a six month old "kitten" but fortunately a squashy cushion landing. Wow.

My inspiration comes from this chap on Instructables (http://www.instructables.com/member/Bengt+Englund). I will be wrapping a PVC drain pipe in 8mm sisal using base plates and captive bolts to clamp between floor and ceiling, therefore giving my boys a 8' high, 5" diameter floor to ceiling climbing pole / scratch post. This will be positioned say 1' away from the corner shelf (which I've yet to fix but will be the highest platform)

We like the simplicity of a full-height post for our reasonably large kitchen with modern smooth cabinets. This type of design means I can re-position it too. Adjacent to this we can have some stylish shelves / baskets / ledges for them to enjoy. Google images has provided vast inspiration (for example there are suppliers of radius curved plywood - I think I can turn a gently curved piece of ply into a cool looking cat shelf for a fraction of the price of those designer ones I've seen)

I hope to have a work-in-progress version with a couple of weeks then gradually enhance it as my boys start to use it (and I find the time!) can't wait to get started

Questions:
1. Will the plastic drain pipe be rigid enough for Bengal full-on action or will it wobble?
2. Obviously wood pole would be better, but heavier to work with and install / more expensive
3. Should I install the full height post / top shelf combination yet (are my boys still too young and foolish to fall and hurt themselves?
4. How important are lips / kerbs to the high shelves to prevent slipping off (Max tends to twist and stretch on his back and falls off a chair doing this already!)

Thanks, Rob

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:56 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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I will probably bow to Matt who started this thread. He's done a great job creating trees for his Miko. I would definitely put lips around the shelves -- at least 3/4 of the way around. And they should be large enough for the cat. You can usually view dimensions if you check out other cat trees.

If you secure your PVC post to the floor and ceiling, it should be okay. Unless your ceiling is like 20 feet tall. :biggrin: Hopefully, Matt will come on and comment on what you are trying to do.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:27 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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No opinions on the "how to" part, but giving your cat a floor to ceiling climbing pole that leads to a high shelf is a great idea. Mine have similar:

youtu.be Video from : youtu.be


And they have a much thinner pole in my office room.

Image

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:04 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Brian, your setup is so perfect! Wish I was allowed to do some wall shelves/perches like that, the last one is really cool! Did you make all of them yourself?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:10 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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MWB wrote:
Brian, your setup is so perfect! Wish I was allowed to do some wall shelves/perches like that, the last one is really cool! Did you make all of them yourself?


Noooo, I'm a really abysmal do-it-yourself-er.

Here's what I built (which is embarrasingly bad), but it was what I could afford at the time, and I realized they needed *something*. It's actually served them pretty well. One miscalculation though was that I never dreamed the bengals would climb all the way up to those shelves and then *leap* all the way down from there and land on the bed (which is just barely offscreen in this picture). Sometimes when I was in bed! Ow.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:42 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Fen100 wrote:
Questions:
1. Will the plastic drain pipe be rigid enough for Bengal full-on action or will it wobble?
2. Obviously wood pole would be better, but heavier to work with and install / more expensive
3. Should I install the full height post / top shelf combination yet (are my boys still too young and foolish to fall and hurt themselves?
4. How important are lips / kerbs to the high shelves to prevent slipping off (Max tends to twist and stretch on his back and falls off a chair doing this already!)

Thanks, Rob


I think the shelves you did over the sofa are a great start, Gus and Max probably are loving it already. I think a 5' drop is pretty big, but if its a sofa landing, probably not too bad. Maybe add a middle shelf 2.5' up so that he has a platform to get up and down safely? (if he wants to do it safely that is lol)

The floor to ceiling scratch post is a brilliant idea. I wish I could do this one as well, but am not allowed to screw into the ceiling (mom's rules). Here's a video of a youtuber who made a 9 ft sisal scratch post, in combination with some shelves/hammocks, and I think it provides a great climbing area for the bengals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdEbYwOe88U

How exactly would you fasten the pvc pipe to the ceiling? I always was a bit confused about this part. I know the guy on instructables puts a base plate on the top of the pvc pipe as well, so does he simply drill through the drywall into the joists? I'd imagine drilling only into just drywall wouldn't be very secure.

And I am by no means an expert at cat trees. Miko has only tested out the ones I made yesterday and my biggest piece of advice for cat trees or any climbing areas would be to give them lots of options to get up and down. Ramps are not so great unless they are at the bottom, or are not very steep, and I would probably do all platforms, as I find cats can climb easier when they are just hopping up from one platform to the next.

In terms of the radius-curved plywood, I have seen some amazing pieces of steam bent plywood like this, but I think using concrete form tubes (called Sono-tubes in Canada) would be cheaper and probably just as effective. I think I usually see people using 12" diameter tubes, but you could experiment on the sizes. The concrete form tubes are cool because you can create round beds/platforms, as well as half-beds that look like the letter "U". I believe having a Sawzall (recip. saw) or a jigsaw would help you immensely with cutting the sono-tubes though (handsaw would just be more difficult), and I unfortunately do not have either of those tools yet.

Questions:

1) Not sure 100% but I think if you were able to fasten it securely at the top and bottom, it should hold up fine. The youtube video I included above- Im pretty sure the guy used a pvc pipe. You can see when his cats jump on it, it wiggles/sways a tiny bit, but nothing major. Im also not a plumber, but I wonder if pvc pipes come in different thicknesses?
2) Wood pole is great and very sturdy, but like you said it's heavier. If your pole is never going to move though, I don't really see that being an issue- you might just need someone's help installing it. Also, if you choose to use wood, do not use anything pressure treated. Pine or cedar are usually the most common 4x4 options, or douglas fir if you can find it.
3) I think this goes back to your 5 foot drop to the sofa. I would always add more platforms whenever possible. That way even if the top shelf is 10 feet high, if they have multiple platforms to jump safely down onto, then it won't matter how tall the tallest one is.
4) Lips are very important. I kind of made them an oversight on my 3 projects, but you bet my next project will have lips for sure.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:57 am 
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Bengal Cat
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Thanks Brian,

The youtube video reflects almost exactly what we are aiming for, maybe with shelves and corner perch / bed (the hammocks look a bit flexible / bendy and not so good for back legs to push-off)

Reading Hot Rocket's comments below the youtube video, they used the same drain pipe method I am going to copy from Instructables which relies on friction & compression. I have already bought some bolts for the base plate - think of it as the nut is fixed to the end of tube - so when the bolts are turned anti-clockwise they start to stick-out to press on the base plate, therefore expanding it between floor and ceiling - no screwing to the floor required! They have screwed the top plate to the ceiling in this video though which I would rather not. In my case there are roof timbers above the kitchen, not heavy floor joists so I may have to screw the top to stop it moving? The compression force could be enough to bow the ceiling!!!

Type 'curved cat shelf' into google images, there are examples I intend to copy (my wife's preference is to not 'catify' the room too much) but that's future enhancements, my boys haven't grown up yet.

I will try to find out whether an underground drain pipe is more rigid than an internal soil and vent drain pipe, I suspect it is.

If it wobbles too much the possible solution is to build a little bracket / bridge to the corner for stiffening, but I gather the advantage of a simple post is to slacken it slightly to allow it to be rotated to hide the more worn / snagged area. I think I'll proceed with the plastic pipe.

I will take photos and share any useful ideas of course.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:20 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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I am not an expert, but they make metal "hubs" into which the pipe fits. Now how big they make them, I don't know. They would have four holes for screwing the hub onto the ceiling or floor. For the ceiling, if you have an attic, you can nail 2"x4"x up across the roof trusses (joists) to secure the hub onto. The floor may be a little harder depending on the type of floor and whether or not you want to leave holes. Personally, a cat tree does just fine. While I know bengals love to climb up as high as they can -- if they can only hit 78 inches, that's fine, too. You all are getting too technical for me! LOL


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:24 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Fen, keep us updated on your scratching post. Want to see pics when its done :)

Heres a quick pic of a 4' scratch post I finished up after work today. Ran out of the dark grey carpet so theres a funky design to this one. Miko can already climb to the top of this one :lol:

Image

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:43 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Matt, you are like the energizer bunny. You keep going and going and going and going. LOL. Great scratching post.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:50 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Your stuff always looks very good.

Miko is lucky to have you on hand to build the best environment a kitten could hope for.


Actually, one little disadvantage of not buying in cat trees - no free boxes to make into play forts. :-)

If you do have any boxes, a couple stuck one on top of another, with some random access and peep holes really make for good toys.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:01 pm 
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Bengal Cat
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Attachment:
2017-02-25 14.54.11.jpg


Finally installed the climbing pole to link with corner perch and shelves.

Just exhausted them using a laser pointer tempting them up the pole then down the shelves a few times, proved very amusing.

Sofa may be replaced with a relaxing chair one day which would give them the full-length to climb up, but it's staying for the time being as they have a bed behind it in a cosy dark corner should they need it.

The shelves were spare stuff in the garage I knocked up with carpet stapled on - I expect to upgrade them for something wider and cantilevered to avoid ugly brackets


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:17 pm 
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Bengal Cat
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Another couple of photos now I've perfected reducing file sizes for uploading:

Attachment:
2017-02-25 16.11.39.jpg

Attachment:
2017-02-25 16.09.14.jpg


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:57 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Awesome job, Fen!!! We have some creative members here.


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