After a few days we removed the bathroom cabinet from the bathroom (it’s actually a little kitchen cart with wheels) and put a cover over the cat bed. We also left the door open so he could explore the larger passage and tv room area. The next day we found him hiding behind the couch.
So we let him stay there a few more days. In the mornings we’d find signs of nighttime adventure: toys and pillows moved, rugs rumbled up. A friend recommended Feliway, a pheromone atomiser device. It’s expensive, so she mailed us the atomiser so we only had to buy a refill.
The day after installing that, the cat emerged. Suddenly he was all over us, smooching and purring to the point he was drooling. Okaaaay, maybe the atomiser was a bit too effective! When he walked it was low to the ground. So obvious he’d been a stray. He certainly eats like a stray, too: fast and furtive. The way he moved was hilarious – the back end following a moment after the front. It reminded me of something, and when I realised what that was we had a name: Slinky. The fact that there’s a cat in a children’s book named Slinky Malinky just proves it’s an acceptable cat name.
We coaxed him out a few more times, and now he’s emerging on his own – usually when we sit down to watch tv of a night. Last night we even had some rather wriggly lap time. Behind the couch is still his default location, even though he also likes hiding in Paul’s office and the brick nook where firewood used to be stored.
Which brings me to a project I started before we adopted Slinky: The Towering Impurrno Cat Tower and Scratching Post.
Peri Peri wasn’t a climber, so I never got a cat tower. Most of them are pretty ugly and take up a lot of space. I don’t like the ones made of carpet, because IMHO you’re just teaching the cat it’s okay to scratch carpet. If you want attractive designer cat products, there’s Modern Cat, which has a range of DIY projects, too. There’s also some good ideas for pet furniture on Ikea Hacker. I particularly like the simple idea behind the Kitty Condo. Easy to make, but it doesn’t include a scratching post. Could I incorporate one? Hmm. Yes I could. Could I make it out of cheap, mainly repurposed materials? You bet.
I listed the materials necessary. I had one long cardboard tube, some black fake fur and batting, lots of macrame jute for the ‘scratching band’. I needed more cardboard tubes including ones big enough for the ‘tunnels’, a base, paint and straps to hold it all together.
So I went to Reverse Garbage in Ringwood to see if I could find some cardboard tubes of the right size. I came back with three round tubs and two lids. One tub had a broken base that I removed to make a tunnel, the others would become a kitty bed and toy storage respectively. The smaller tubes are for play – balls could be run along them or a toy on a string pulled through. Next came a trip to Bunnings, where I found two straps, materials for Paul to make a base out of, and some undercoat and black paint.
Cutting the tubes neatly took some trial and error. The best solution was to score the tube with a knife, saw almost all the way through, then use the knife to cut the rest of the way. A bit of sanding tidied up any burred edges. The most annoying part was stripping off bits of tape and shiny labels that would probably repel paint.
Work on the project stalled for a few weeks due to finishing the book and rain preventing me painting outside (the paint is oil based and whiffy). Though I still have a lot of editing and polishing to do before the book deadline, I’m hoping to make some progress on the tower during breaks and weekends.
But I may have to tackle a newer project first. Slink has sharp claws and no respect for leather armchairs, so ‘temporary chair covers’ has just been added to the top of my to-do list.