So there’s been a lot of pretty enormous changes in our little family these past 6 months. Thomas and I moved from the UK to Portugal with our (then single) cat Avery, we moved from our wee studio flat into a pretty massive house, and we took in an adorable second furry fella, Bjorn, a stray/feral cat that just wouldn’t leave our yard.
Taking Bjorn in has had its ups and downs. I had a lot of early frets and worries – some that were resolved pretty quickly, and a number that took a lot more thinking and troubleshooting to fix. Avery has not been the biggest fan of Bjorn. I think Bjorn is a too feisty and high-key for him, very playful and fearless, although Bjorn is not the dominant cat. The hissing stopped pretty soon after their introduction, but there’s been a lot of swatting and hitting on Avery’s part. He isn’t altogether opposed to Bjorn, but when he’s annoyed, tired, or irritated, he’ll go so far as to chase Bjorn down, even if Bjorn is only sleeping in the DIY cat bed I made him for his room, and at that point I separate the two by closing the door to Bjorn’s room with Avery outside, so Bjorn can get some peace.
Lately, things have been a lot better with regards to the two getting along. I’ve begun to train Avery and Bjorn to sit when I say the word “sit,” and I train them together. Bjorn could not keep his cool around food prior to the training. After around a week, he’s able at times. Avery still gets incredibly annoyed with him when he’s too excitable, but Bjorn is learning to keep his distance when Avery doesn’t look like he’ll put up with him, so peacetime has been increasing, and they rarely have to be separated.
I do still separate the two whenever I leave the house for prolonged periods of time, more than a couple hours, just in case. Bjorn’s room is decked out with everything he could ever want and need – a window with a gorgeous sunlit view, a water bowl, a slew of cardboard boxes, a cat bed, a hiding place made by throwing a blanket over a stool, a scratching post, and of course a litter box. I can easily place him inside at a moment’s notice and not have to worry about whether he has everything he needs. Thomas and I are lucky to work from home, so they have a lot of monitored time together, which is great because I do find Avery picks fights very infrequently if one of us is in the same room.
But anyway – back to the cat room, because that’s what you came here for. Basically, we have so many rooms and so little furniture at the moment that I currently have one room set aside just for Bjorn, and one set aside as a designated cat room for the kitties to play in together (the second of which being what you’ll be seeing today).
This morning, I did a little rearranging, throwing some new cat things (a toy and a bed), as well as moving some of the human and cat furniture we had in the living room (which is closed off to the cats until I can trust Bjorn around wires) up to the cat room. This was the result:
Right, so super basic, and absolutely everything in this cat room is something that can easily be moved to another room, to a hallway, wherever the heck I want it in the house.
The breakdown of what’s in the room with some close ups? Let’s start with the most basic (the toys) to the least basic, yet still incredibly simple addition (that window seat/cat tent condo).
Basically, the only toys I’m able to have in the room (or always accessible to the cats in general) are toys Bjorn can’t destroy – and trust me this cat is a madman. He’s torn the living daylights out of cat toys I’ve attempted to play with him with in the past, and has a habit of biting hard and refusing to let go of anything he can get his chompers into.
So the toys in the room at the moment – that he hasn’t managed to destroy and have been okay for me to leave out:
That’s it! Honestly, the Kickeroo is there for Avery. He’s the only one I’ve ever seen using it (and even then rarely). Avery’s a fan of bunny kicking cat toys, though he prefers wool dryer balls, but I didn’t bring any with me from the UK and am hesitant to re-buy some, as I’m still not sure I should trust wool balls around Bjorn considering I think he might tear them apart and ingest pieces of them.
The Trixie Cat Circle Tower is new. We just got it today and Bjorn loves it. Perfect, because there’s hardly anything else I can think of that he could play with by himself and not break.
Which includes cat springs, sadly, which are Avery’s favourite toys. Those glorious Ethical Pets Cat Springs that made even my lazy cat play, Bjorn hold with one paw to the floor, bites onto the other end, and pull to the point where they’re mangled, so yup – can’t trust him with those at all. Avery’s sadly not getting a chance to play with them either as a result. They used to be in this cat room when it was just for Avery since he was our only cat, and Avery would thoroughly enjoy taking one at a time down the stairs to play with, chasing them around as they bounced down the hallways.
Who knows, maybe Bjorn will calm down enough one day for me to actually be able to pull them out again. Until then, I’m on the hunt for swat-able cat toys for Avery that Bjorn can’t bite to piecesand accidentally swallow parts of. And neither of my cats seem to like loose balls, so the ones I’ve tried haven’t worked at all, but we shall see. Still need to try durable ping pong balls – that’s what’s in the Trixie Circle Tower, so fingers crossed at least Bjorn likes them.
The one minor issue I had with the Trixie Cat Circle tower is that it’s second level seems to be a bit wider than the top and the bottom level? So Bjorn managed to pull the middle level’s ball out. But I popped it into the third level, so now there are two balls there and one on the top, with zero balls in the middle. He’s happy, I’m happy, zero complaints about the toy with this configuration.
The tunnel, if I’m honest, barely gets used, though it’s been used more by Bjorn than by Avery. Never had much luck with tunnels as hybrid cat furniture/cat toys before – maybe a little if I combine them with feather wands, but still not much luck. Let me know what your cats think of them, and if I’m missing out understanding ways to increase their appeal.
In case anybody’s curious, the scratch post off on the side is a Trixie Inca Cat Wave Scratcher. Yes, I have a lot of Trixie products, but it’s because they’re easy to get a hold of here in Portugal. Otherwise I’d be testing out a bunch of those amazing crazy posts available in the US & Canada. Still, this has proved to be a great small cat tree, as it’s good for scratching on the front or back and both provide different types of scratch-able surfaces. Avery has never once used anything besides the sisal rope “standard” scratch post portion, but Bjorn frequently uses the scratch mat on the other side.
Let’s cover the sleep space at the back of the room real quick, then I’ll jump over to finally discuss the cat house table.
So we have… a cardboard cat condo (two entrances + a window, super easy to DIY), and two Trixie Minou cat beds – one per cat (yes, I told you, a lot of Trixie products):
Avery loved the living daylights out of his Trixie Minou, but I haven’t let him have access to it by moving it out of the living room until now, since I wanted to have a second placed right next to it to prevent fighting over cat beds. The Minou is glorious. It’s self-warming, super cozy, has a removable pillow. That removable pillow is perfect in case Bjorn has an accident inside or Avery destroys the pillow by kneading into it too much (yes, he does this a lot on this particular pillow – odd, since he doesn’t knead into others). I can easily take it out and place a blanket in the Minou instead. Oh, and the bed is gorgeous, obvi. No regrets buying the first, and the fact that I bought a second in another colour when I’d really have liked to buy yet another type of cat bed to try (like a cool cat sleeping bag style one, like the PAWZ Road Cat Sleeping Bag!) says a lot.
Okay now for the piece de resistance that is not at all complicated or actually even all that amazing to be fair, but hey, it’s really well loved by the cats! All you need is two single sized blankets, and a table/desk, shove that desk near a window, and throw those blankets on and you’ve got this XXXXXL cat bed/tent/house/window seat:
Yes, you heard right: a cat window seat, lounging area, cat cave, cat house, cat condo, all in one – with room to spare for so many different cats – all for $0 since you already have these things in your house!
In terms of the blankets, I simply threw one on length-wise, the other on width-wise, so you get that little nook for a cat to enter (basically a small cat door) on the long side of the desk and an gaping open door on one of the short sides of the desk (if you want this gone, you can easily grab a bigger blanket, throw on another, etc; you get the picture!).
And here’s how it looks inside:
Yup, I threw in a pillow, because Avery loves sitting on pillows for his naps.
Bjorn loves the bottom portion more than Avery. Avery adores the top as he’s a huge fan of window naps and loves sitting in the sun more than anything else in life (maybe even more than kibble?). Bjorn likes to feel hidden away and like a covert ops stealth ninja kitty –
Too cute, I know!
I can easily switch up whatever’s in the bottom, and can easily check for the cats by peeking into the open side. Also, there’s no trapped kitty issues if there’s ever a squabble in one of these – easy for a cat to run through all sides that aren’t up against a wall.
I can move it to the middle of the room, or to an unused spot. Wherever. And if ever a kitty is super stressed due to scary noises like fireworks or construction can make, I can throw a cat cave inside, cover it in more pillows for more insulation, even place an air purifier outside on full blast, so no more scary noises can be easily heard.
Perfect recovery room for a sick cat, perfect little home for a kitty who just loves to hide away, and perfect elevated window seat for a kitty who likes a view.
What’s not to love?