I accumulate projects like it’s my job. They all seem like really good ideas at the time, but tend to layer on top of each other and get pushed aside by things that “have to get done.” My counter is covered with a shelf that needs stained, and a photo that needs framed. My work table in the garage is covered in glass for yard art. There are quilt bits peeking out of the closet as well as a variety of items that need moved from point A to point B in the name of organization. Until two days ago there was a cat ramp in the middle of my living room.
What’s a cat ramp for?
Rampin’ cats! Duh!
It’s also for catching your toe on at 5 a.m. on the way to the kitchen, and for putting your feet on while you try to watch t.v. around it. If you’re one of the cats, it’s for going crazy. Like running to the tippy top, making owl ears, then leaping off or climbing under the ramp like monkey bars and frantically scratching it.
This was one project that had to get done because I could not safely live around it. It was great fun to watch the cats go wild on their “new” toy (location is everything with them), but it really ruined the feng shui of the room. The cat ramp moved from its home in my bedroom to the garage where I thought I would work on it, but had to move it to get to my car; and then to the living room for its refurbishing. In 2009, Bella Luna was having trouble jumping on to my bed. The antique bed frame is fairly high and the pillow top mattress set was not helping her any. Bella would go for it and end up desperately clutching at the edge of the mattress, the blankets, or my leg, whatever was handy. There was more than one embarrassing fall back to the floor.
At the time all the pet stairs and ramps I could find seemed insanely expensive. (I now see them at TJ Maxx for like $30 every time I’m there. Tragic sigh) My mom and her engineer boyfriend were kind enough to take on the project of building a ramp/scratching post. Several cell phone pictures and debates later, there was a workable wooden ramp. The next step was covering it with carpet remnants.
Covering things with carpet remnants is the point where I usually start reevaluating my finances and questioning whether life would be easier if I just put down the cash instead of DIYing it. Carpet is hard to cut, unwieldy to bend, and attaching it involves hammers and hardcore staples. Plus my mom and I can ONLY start these “easy” projects late at night when we’re tired and hungry leading very quickly to “hangry” at least for me, she has more patience.
With the help of Miles who narrowly avoided hammers and staples, we covered the legs and ramp with carpet. It was cat approved and they have spent the last 5 years scratching the Hell out of it. I have spent that time vacuuming up carpet bits.
I knew that the legs needed recovered, when I realized that they had scratched through the carpet and were now directly clawing at the wood. Part of my process actually involved filling in the deep gouges with wood putty. I read different articles on the stupid internet about how to build cat trees. Again, this was a point when I could have made a choice between finances and time/effort. Wrapping jute rope around the legs and securing it with wood glue sounded easy enough. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
First, the jute that was thick enough for scratching was too thick to wrap tightly around the legs. Second, wood glue takes forever to set up and proceeded to run down both sides of the legs and ooze out of the bottom layer of jute, pooling all over the base of the ramp. The first night, I ended up ripping plastic bags into strips and tying them around what little I had wrapped in an effort to hold the rope in place while the glue dried. It worked, but it was several days before I went back to the project. My mom suggested clamping a board and wax paper to hold a larger section of rope in place. I can also use this technique if anyone needs their leg splinted.
The larger clamping system worked and I powered through the rest of the gluing and wrapping in one evening. The ramp is now back in the bedroom where all cats are currently ignoring it. Ungrateful, pussies!
My other project was a brilliant idea to add doggy chew toy fabric strips to the legs of a stuffed cat that has been in my school office for years. I’m trying to convince Olivia that Mini Me should be her drag and chew toy instead of my bras, underwear, tank tops, and spatulas. So far she’s not buying it. It’s all good fun if I’m shaking Mini Me’s strings in her face, but she has not actively taken up her end and DIYed it.