Misty and Callie
Sad to say, both our cats are gone now.

Ultimate Cat Toy

Know what it is? A penlight laser pointer. If you have a cat and haven't gotten one of these to play with, drop everything and go get one. This is so much fun you won't believe it. They chase it like a bug and since you can move it so fast they will run and slide all over the floor chasing it. If you run it across the floor and stop it under a closet door, the cats think the light went in the closet and will wait and wait and wait for it to come back out. You've got to try this.

Misty On The Condo

On A Ladder

Misty and Callie are our cats. We bought Misty from a pet store after having recently lost another cat called CC to FIP. CC was a stray kitty that I found hanging around the office parking lot. Sweetest little cat I ever saw. I took her to the vet for a complete work up and then took her home. Anne had never been a cat lover and was skeptical at first, but within a week was totally taken by CC. Unfortunately CC had contracted FIP and we had to put her to sleep. It was very sad but CC did perform a very important function in the short time we had her. She turned my wife Anne into a cat lover.

Soon after this Anne came home from the mall ready to buy a black cat she had seen there. I was surprised she wanted another one and somewhat skeptical of a pet shop cat. Misty had been bought and brought back by someone that found out they couldn't have a cat in their apartment so she wasn't as young as I would have liked. We bought her anyway and have enjoyed her immensely.

Callie On The Condo

On Her Box

Callie came to us as a very small kitten because we really wanted company for Misty. My daughter Amy knew this and when kittens were born in her grandparents' garage she called. At the time she was living in Houston and she was pleading for us to take the only black cat in the litter. She knew we wanted another cat and it had to be black. She said the kitten was all black except for a small spot on her head that was brown. After much discussion about the size of the spot I ended up getting the kitten while in Houston on a trip and flying back with her. Much to my surprise when I picked her up, she had a few more brown spots on the back half, but I couldn't back out then. It wasn't very long before we could tell she was going to be half-black half-brown calico. That's where her name came from. Callie for calico. As she has grown older, her brown has gotten much more distinct and she looks like two different color cats glued together just behind the front legs. She may not be the prettiest cat around, but she is very sweet. Know what? That small spot on her is now the smallest of the brown spots!

As the senior cat, Misty rules the house, allowing Callie to live there mostly in peace. Both the cats play fetch like a dog. Misty will jump pretty high trying to catch a small foam cat ball and will bring it back to be thrown again. Callie will chase a rubber band shot from the bed till she can't run anymore. We have to put them up at night as she will throw them herself making all kinds of racket at night if we don't.

Nightly both cats go to the top corner of the bed on Anne's side and pass out. If I roll over at night onto my back, Callie promptly walks over (in slow motion as she often does), climbs on my chest and lays down, ready for a pet. This can get to be a pain, but it's pretty cute how much she does it.

The morning ritual always starts with Misty guarding the bathroom door to make sure nobody gets in without her. Many times she will be sleeping on the exercise bike in the bathroom (somebody's got to use it) waiting for us. Upon our arrival, one or both hops up on the counter and waits for us to turn the water on in Anne's sink. Then they go to drinking from the running water. I don't know what the big deal is with this but they are pretty insistent about getting water this way. Sometimes Misty will just curl up in the sink and wait for us. She moves pretty fast if I turn it on while she's laying there.

Cat Condo
The Cat Condo

Because cats love to be in a position that is safe, which generally is high, and because I wanted to get the cats to stop spending all day in one of our chairs, I went shopping for one of those stand-up play houses for cats. Well, I found most are too small, and even those are outrageously expensive. So I decided to build one that would be very tall and designed so there would be a safe haven on the bottom part for Callie and a top part for Misty to rule from. What a project. It ended up seven feet tall and has many yards of carpet on it. Designing it was pretty easy, even cutting and assembling the wood was not much of a problem. Then came the carpet. Now there's a job. I quickly discovered that all the neat curves and holes I built in were going to require lots of cutting and fitting and staples. More than you can imagine. Over 2,000 staples and a hundred razor blades to get that darned carpet on the wood. Friends wondered if the cats would ever go up in it, but even as we were trying to decide where to put it in the family room, both cats were all over it.

Since I continue to get requests for instructions on building one, below are a few items about it that might help you build one if you like.

As expected Misty ran Callie off every time she got on it. Even today, Callie rarely gets on it and then only on the lower level where the sun comes in on it in the mornings. Misty spends much of her day on it, starting in the morning on top, moving into the box during periods of real sleep, back to the top the rest of the time. She generally goes in and out through a hole in the bottom and top of the box, but sometimes goes right in the hole in the front of the box.

A recent addition to the condo was the purchase and installation of an electric pet warmer pad in the lower box. It only took Callie a few hours to discover it and and this is where she spends almost all her time now. Installation was simple as I just lifted the carpet in the lower box, inserted the pad and pressed the carpet back down.

Build Your Own Condo
The condo measures 80" tall, 24" wide and the shelves / boxes vary between 21" and 24" deep. The bottom is a box 25-1/2" x 25-1/2" x 10" tall. The vertical columns are continuous 2x4's all the way from the bottom to the top going through the different shelves and boxes.

The top box is 24" x 24" x 14" tall. The next shelf down comes from the column forward 9" and goes back from the column 12".

The next shelf goes back 12" and comes forward 20" and had a curved front. It is designed as a "break" allowing a bottom part and a top part so both cats can be on it at one time without one being able to attack the other easily.

The next box down is 15" tall and goes 12" back and 12" forward.

It was completely made from 2x4's and 3/4" plywood screwed together with drywall screws and a power drill. The carpet is normal low pile house carpet and is by far the most difficult thing to put on. It will take you hours and hours to do it and will take a couple thousand staples. Must use an electric one and plan your seams to not occur on corners as carpet bent around a corner looks better than a carpet seam on a corner. You will also want to carpet the inside of the boxes as you assemble them.

If I did it again, I'd not have any curves as they are way too hard to make the carpet fit around.

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