I have been watching way too much My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet in between all the HGTV shows. That's been a good thing as I've been applying solutions to my real life cat problems.

Currently, I have three cats in this condo and only one is leaving when my parents get settled. That wouldn't be an issue if they were already accustomed to each other, but Cookie is a one cat household kitty and Tibolt is passive aggressive.

Cookie just so happens to be terrified of Tibolt and believes that he is going to kill her at every turn, so she's a terribly uncomfortable and unconfident cat unless she's up high. With that in mind, she has been living on the kitchen table and in the chairs. I don't mind too much, but she needs other locations to hang out as I don't want cats on the table during dinner and I can see the kitchen countertops being next .

What I needed to create were spaces for Cookie to be away from Tibolt that would not be overly tempting for him to take over. He owns the cat tree, my bed, the top of the bench, random spaces on the floor, etc. Cookie owns a chair. It's quite lopsided. Jackson (from My Cat From Hell) keeps referring to a "vertical world" for cats to explore. That is lacking around here. So my first project came from a pintrest idea about a shelf behind the couch for displaying items. I thought it was a really cool idea and it would allow me to pull the futon out far enough from the wall to actually use it as a bed.

First off, I had to figure out how far away from the wall it needed to be. As well as how high the shelf  should be to flow seamlessly with the "couch", not interfere with people sleeping on the "bed" and not block the transition between turning the couch into a bed and vice-a-versa. The shelf was placed a 36"  high and the braces were screwed into studs in the wall to be certain to hold the weight. 

Once the shelf was in place, I realized that the braces looked awkward in their lopsided fashion and there is 3/4" I still need to fill to cover the braces properly. Of course, the shelf couldn't stay looking like wood . So paint would be the next project. As for the lopsided braces, I will eventually hunt down some decorative solutions, but for now, my budget won't allow it.
The new cat shelf was painted the exact same color as the accent wall and the dining room table using leftover paint. Returning the futon to couch position, everything worked perfectly and Cookie enjoys her new hangout spot. When I get some further funding, I will purchase a piece of corner round and some decorative finishes to make this not only functional, but aesthetically appealing. The best part of this project, the price. I used existing wood, paint and took the braces from a lighting a fish tank (as I had another solution to hanging the lights), bringing this project to a total cost of free!

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    December's Tip

    Have you seen The High Low Project on HGTV? If not, check it out! It's a great ode to DIY and how a little bit of paint can make all the difference in the world.


    May 2013