Kitty Wonderland

From the day I bought the property, I'd planned on having cats live with me, and I'd wanted my home to be as kitty-friendly and as kitty-entertaining as practical. How exactly I'd achieve this I didn't—or couldn't—know in advance, but it was always on my list of design objectives. Granted, I didn't go out of my way to include kitty-centric features for fear of making what was supposed to be a small, simple home overly-complex, but I'd certainly look for opportunities along the way.

Kitty Central

The first such opportunity to present itself was formerly the "mechanicals" room (a place for the furnace, water heater, etc.), which ultimately turned out to be unnecessary. And so it became Kitty Central ("storage," above), doubtless the most significant kitty-centric feature of the house: an entire room dedicated solely to "kitty maintenance." It allowed me to address basic kitty needs without intruding on other spaces: no litter box in the bathroom or food bowls in the kitchen. And just to reinforce how important my furry family is to me, this was the first room in the house to be 100% finished (16 December 2019, below).

Kitty Cubby

As I developed the kitchen, I found an ideal spot for a "kitty cubby": a space over the refrigerator that was otherwise useless to me. But how would my kids reach that lofty retreat? A series of book shelves—which shall forever remain devoid of books (I already have a very generous bookcase)—on the wall at the bottom of The Canyon create a "kitty stairway" to the cubby, below. This was completed 24 December 2019, the day before my kids moved in with me.

How would my kitties know about the cubby? They'd find it on their own. I would never force them into it—that would have virtually guaranteed they'd never use it. Cats are remarkably curious, and knowing quite well how they operate, I had every confidence that one of them would be inspired to follow the "kitty staircase" to that intriguing rectangle on the wall, and the others would follow suit.

As it happens, Roy found the cubby on the second day he was in the house, and Zack found it a few days later. Sadly, little baby Pris is not a jumper (I suspect she's blind in her blue eye), so I needed to come up with something else for her...

Kitty Cubby #2

Not long after my kids moved in, I came up with an idea for a nearly-floor-level cubby: the floating breakfast bar. More than a few people have remarked that it was a shame I couldn't utilize the enclosure at the wall end for a cabinet. The problem is that the space is broken up with the anchor and structural bracing for the countertop support. However, this space is not totally packed; there might be enough room for another cubby. So I consulted my photo documentation to see if it was worth opening it up.

Sure enough, it looked perfectly feasible. So, on 29 December 2019, I built Kitty Cubby #2 out of leftover lumber, and lined it with carpet a few days later.

Kitty Condo

I built their condo shortly before they moved in, and it's made mostly from free surplus lumber. Although all of the cats have explored it, so far Pris is the only one to make regular use of it.

Catwalk Railroad

Kitty cubby #1 actually served as the catalyst (see what I did there) for a network of catwalks and perches throughout the living space to come. I'd actually envisioned such a thing from early on in the house project; the problem: I was unable to devise a practical means for my kids to access it. The cubby's "stairway," which I'd only recently created, offered the perfect entry point—as well as an opportunity to double the size of the network!

The Catwalk Railroad, as I dubbed it, will have two divisions: the Low Line (red), which runs along the back wall of the main living space from the kitchen cubby (magenta) to the bed, and the High Line (blue), which provides access to the two windows over The Canyon. I'd originally envisioned these windows as sill-less; now they'll have oversized sills for my kids to enjoy.

On 4 January 2020, I completed the first leg of the railroad. This is one of two bridges on the Low Line:

Yep, I'm a total nutcase.

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