Up until now, renovating our house has been to improve it, to make it fit our lifestyle – gaining more space, more flexibility or keeping cosy in winter. Our recent projects have included changing the doors and windows, replacing the kitchen and adding a wood-burning stove.
However, now we’re considering remodelling for a different reason, to suit our newly blind cat, Orwell.
A few months ago, he was hit by a car. The accident broke his jaw and palate, fractured his skull, left him blind in both eyes (a prolapsed one had to be removed) and he bit through his tongue. Several surgeries, tube feeding and round-the-clock care later and he’s almost like a normal cat again, albeit one that can’t see or smell.
Seeing as he became a casualty with two working eyes, his ‘new normal’ life will be as a house cat. But I’m keen for him to still be able to explore, get some fresh air and crucially, enough exercise.
Which is where the next house adaptation comes in. Our first idea was a porch. One constructed mostly of glass would create somewhere for him to hang out in the sunshine listening to birds during the day. I especially liked this design:
However, for outside space, and hopefully a few insects to chase, we’re thinking of building a catio – a dedicated outside space where he can climb, play and listen to the world go by.
Fans of My Cat From Hell or Cat Daddy Jackson Galaxy, will already be familiar with the concept, though it’s been slower to catch on in the UK. Most catios available are basic chickenwire constructions, whereas what I have in mind is a cat pied à terre, such as the houses by Luxury Pet Homes:
As a starting point, we’re opting for shelves by Pet Fit Designs inside for him to climb on, which, if he takes to them, will stretch around the perimeter of our living room: a cat ‘superhighway’.
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