An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cat Tree Alternative for Cat Wanting to Look Out the Window

Dear Greyce, 

I live in a small, comfortable home with a decent purrson. We have a lovely dining room with a large window that gets lots of sunlight. I love the warmth and really enjoy looking into the yard because there are large trees and visiting birds. The best viewing spot is on the dining table and here is where the trouble begins.

Herself does not want me on the table. Every time I attempt to jump there she shoos me away. So I have to wait until she is out of the house before I can rest in my favourite spot. Needless to say, this greatly upsets my routine.

Having read your column, I know what solution you will propose: a cat tree near that window. While that would be ideal, Herself thinks such furniture is ugly and refuses to have one in the house. 

So what’s a cat to do? 

Puzzled in Ponoka

Dear Puzzled,

You are right, of course. A cat tree near said window would be ideal.

But given the stubborn nature of the purrson with whom you reside, the chances of that happening are about as much as my slaves installing a mouse colony in our bedroom! If only . . .

What you need are some furnishings that will serve your needs while meeting the aesthetic requirements of your purrson.

Have a look at this!

It’s far from high design because my secretary is far from artistic-  in spite of studying art in Italy; but I digress. Regardless of the quality of the drawing, the concept should suit your purposes.

Here we have the following items of note:

1. A chair (preferably upholstered or with a non-slip surface so you have something on which to grip); this should help you to access your viewing ledge especially as you age or if you have arthritis. I’ve shown the chair in a high-fashion colour: Cat’s Nose Rose (a particular hue gained with generous sniffs of catnip).

2. Beside the chair is a stable (stability is very important) low buffet which is just a fancy name for a set of drawers and cupboards that are often found in dining rooms and which many humans seem to like. As long as it is stable, placed under the window, and does not obstruct the window, it should suit you well. Note that its height is close to the bottom of the window, allowing you to see out even when you are seated or lying down.

3. I have particularly pointed out the top surface of this buffet.  The surface will likely be slippery and needs to be covered with non-skid mats or a long non-skid table liner. Herself gets them at department type stores in the kitchen section and they work well for me. She likes them because they wash easily. 

Non-skid liner material
You must insist that your purrson resist the urge to clutter up this surface. Her set of collector figurines, dried flower arrangements from craft classes, and silver tea set she inherited, belong elsewhere. If such items are in your way, feel free to re-arrange them. Remember you are in good company. My friend Tibby enjoys a game of swat the clutter off the shelf, from time to time.

4. If you can manage it, get a nice cat mattress – you know those soft pads which are heaven to lie on. After all, why rest on a hard surface when you can have padding? Make sure it is well-situated (away from the edges). Better still, get a cat bed with small sides which will keep you comfortably contained while you rest. And again, make sure said items are secure - that non-skid stuff comes in handy.

5. Ah, the window. If Herself is silly enough to have drapes, feel free to shred them. Barring that, rub against them frequently to allow them to collect as much cat hair as possible. When she gets fed up, sit on the latest decorating magazine that showcases the naked window look. And if she is not interested, then find a flyer that shows a sale on window blinds. She should get the hint.

To enhance your view, add a bird feeder to your list of acceptable gifts. Some feeders can be installed right on the outside of the window, providing you with hours of entertainment.

Enjoy your days in the sun!