Building Homes for People and Cats

In this article I am referring to urban homes where traffic is the biggest killer of cats. In the immortal words of Martin Luther King, Jr, I have a dream…and my dream is that the companion cat is truly integrated into our lives and not attached to it.

A little example of that is in manufacturing furniture for us that is also designed for use by our cat. This would remove the major reason for declawing a cat and be a blessing for the cat.

At the moment we build homes that are exclusively for people. That sounds like common sense. People should build homes for people. It is our world and we please ourselves and make life as good as we can for ourselves. The world is in balance…

Is it? Hundreds of millions of people share their home with a little family member that is descended from the African/Asian wildcat. This family member is a cat’s whisker away from his ancestor in behavioral characteristics. He is very similar to the majestic tiger.

And yet when new homes are built there is not one iota of a compromise in favour of the cat in respect of the facilities that are incorporated into a home.

This lack of a desire to accommodate our cat companions contributes to the feral cat and stray cat population problem.

Let’s think out of the box and go back to basics. If you want to help make people more responsible in cat caretaking or make it easier to take care of a cat in a responsible way, wouldn’t it be nice if home builders provided an obligatory option of a house style that had pre-installed facilities that were tailor made for a domestic cat? Phew…that takes a bit of digesting because for many people it would seem absurd.

What if there was a law that said that from 2018 onwards people who wanted to keep a cat and were buying a new home, had to buy option C (option C is the standard new build for cats!)? Wouldn’t that be nice? No, you roar…Initially, it would be voluntary.

However, from 2018 onwards it would be obligatory for builders to provide option C homes. These would include the following facilities:

  • A cat enclosure or catio of a minimum size that is no smaller than the living room of the house;
  • A cat door or cat flap that leads to the cat enclosure. It would be one that did not jeopardise house security.
  • A walkway around the room that is adjacent to the enclosure that is off the ground and that leads directly to the enclosure;
  • The enclosure contains one item of standard cuman furniture (cat-human). This is obligatory. It could be built into the enclosure as a fixture. The furniture would be designed to be used by cat and human in equal measure.

Option C homes would be very attractive. There would be little compromise for humans. The cat enclosure, a central feature of option C homes would be an indoor/outdoor space for humans too.

It is time to think innovatively to discharge or obligations towards the companion cat and society generally.

What would you incorporate into a home that was built for cat and human? Option D, by the way, is a home built for companion dogs and humans…


Comments

Building Homes for People and Cats — 10 Comments

  1. A brilliant idea but sadly no chance of it happening in this world where homes revolve around people and pets have to like it or lump it wherever they end up.
    I think you might get a bit of flak here lol
    But I will too no doubt, because I think what would be even better would be ‘cat villages’ where everyone who lived there had to love cats, there were no dogs and children were all educated about the habits and welfare of cats and taught to treat them gently.
    There would be no need for enclosures to imprison cats, they could have their freedom and enjoy the sunshine and grassy banks and trees around the village. Everyone would look out for the welfare of everyone else’s cats as well as their own.
    Traffic would be banned from this part of the village and there would be a resident vet with cats of his/her own, happy to make house calls so no poorly cat would have to go to the stress of a journey to the vets.
    Dream on Michael…..Dream on Ruth ……..

    • Love “cat villages”. That beats my idea because as you say, the cats could go out. I might get some flak on this but to me it makes sense and would also please people who dislike cats as it would encourage people in built up areas to be more responsible. Of course a cat enclosure is a compromise for the cat but better for many homes than dying on the street.

    • Great idea. Somewhere I have a collection of photos of ‘cat crossing’ signs. Ie: signs, usually in villages and communities, that depict a cat runnning/walking – as a warning to drivers to watch out ofor cats.

      These are unusual, hence my collecting photos and keeping ones I have taken in a special folder. But these signs are lgally enforced when it comes to children or deer or cattle. I’ve seen countless of these signs. I think cats are no less worthy of these roadsign warnings. Surely everybody, including motorists would agree on that. The only ones who might not are the government or authority who must pay for the signs, but I say add it to the tax or whatever like all the other signs. I can’t see why anybody would be against this. Cats are constantly run over and it is tragic. I know this. Mine are locked inside due to the fact.

      Cat villages are a great idea in concept for a lack of factors such as these roadsigns – we need such villages therefore.

  2. I’d also have some cat doors that lead from room to room so the cats can have their own routes to get around, both up high led to via shelves and cat tress, and also down low. If I owned a house with a roof that was mine and not shared, I would want them to be able to go up there if possible, perhaps via a skylight window, also enclosed, and perhaps have an external route from up, down through the top of the catio. I’d try to also have a pond in my catio. I’ve seen it before, and even a bit of running water. I’d also include as many plants as possible. Infact the catio would be partly a plant room/conservatory all in one. I’d for sure have a patch of grass. I’d hopefully also be able to build my catio around some trees. I know Finn built a catio and then expanded to include his whole back garden. This is ideal. If you can have the back garden walled so the cats cant escape. That way there is nothing between them and the sky. This means a totally natural outdoor environment, including all the insects and bugs and birds that choose to stop along the way. In my perfect world this enclosed garden would also be large enough that there could be trees and so on in it. A good sized peiie right Michael. If you consider the percentage of people who either cats or dogs – its quite a large percentage. Therefore architecture should and infact must be built for families in their entirety – not just the humans. Its actually really obvious when you put it like that. Whyhaven’t they done this already considering how obvious it is.

    I have a friend who is an architect. I am going to try and find out from her what sort of things they are taught in school and in the professional world about this. I would not be suprised if it was very little or nothing sadly.

    Great discussion article – thanks!

  3. I do not support government mandates for homes to include modifications for those with cats. Such legislation is bad because of unintended consequences, such as adding to the cost of a home could cause some people to dump their cats rather than pay it and adding cost to the builders that customers may be unwilling to pay for. That being said, it’s a great suggestion, but the private sector can, and I believe will, act on it– but as an option, for those who desire it, and would therefore be willing to pay for it. We have some very creative home builders in south eastern Wisconsin. If this idea were run by any of them I think they would start looking into it immediately. People spend exhorbitant amounts of money on their pets. ( Judt stroll through any pet store.) Market a home just for those who really love their pets and there would be a customer base for it and it would help make a name for the builder who thought of it. Provide an environment where pets are happy and humans will be too, because frustrated/bored animals are often destructive.

    I’ve read post after post in this site discussing the incredible variety available in the United States. We have that variety because of the free market system and competition. Government controlling everything ends up limiting choices. When people are trying to make more money (yes, profits! It’s not a dirty word!) they have to come up with products people want, preferably ones no one else has thought about. To have homes that come ready built with features for cats is a brilliant concept– one that does not need any coercion to take off. It just takes the right person who loves animals and architecture to put it together in a stylish and affordable way for people, and soon these homes will be widely available. All it takes is one builder doing it and others will copy it. Make it a government mandate and you get the bare minimum for cats, grudgingly provided. When someone implements this idea to try to make money he’s going to be over the top creative in order to attract buyers. After he gets customers the competing home builder will have to top the first one’s modifications and in the end, everybody wins.

    • Thanks for the feedback Ruth. Appreciated. I agree that the initial consequences might be difficult but it is intended to change something that has been around for ages. To change something that is deeply entrenched (over population of cats) will cause some pain in the short term. In the long term it would be for the better I believe. There would be less cat owners. The ones who were true cat caretakers and guardians would still keep their cats. My proposal is designed to weed out casual and uncommitted cat owners. The USA needs less cat owners but of better quality. That would reduce the feral cat problem.

  4. I would like to see an improvement in the quality of cat guardians also, but I don’t want to live under a government big enough to make that happen. We already have pet licensing laws that require pets to be neutered. We don’t need any new laws– just enforcement of the ones we have. We have laws against irresponsible pet ownership. They should be enforced whenever possible. It’s like the push for stricter gun laws but then nine times out of ten when there is a conviction the first thing thrown out in the plea bargain is the weapons charge. Why are we doing that? No talk of new laws until the ones we have are taken seriously.
    All governments can ultimately do is restrain the worst. No government can bring out the best in people. That has to come from individuals deciding to make a difference. Maybe homes built with pet owners in mind isn’t even the best idea to improving cat guardianship– but if the government mandates that idea people will get complacent and say, “Well, that’s taken care of.” Maybe there are other a better ideas which can also be implemented through the private sector. Each individual has the power to make things better through the people he talks to and the example he sets. Government can and should be punishing the worst offenders. At the same time this website and shows like Jackson Galaxy’s “My Cat From Hell” and Cesar Milan’s “Dog Whisperer” are teaching millions what responsible pet guardianship really looks like. Often it’s that one reminder, “Your dog/cat isn’t human– you know that right?” People don’t provide for the needs of their companion animal because they’ve got the companion part down, but forget that he’s an animal. Providing food, water and shelter is not enough. They need to be better educated. Government’s role is limited to being sure people provide the first three, but it’s role can’t and should not concern itself with that education. That’s our job. A government big enough to do everything for us is big enough to take everything from us. No thank you.
    This is a matter of personal responsibility for every pet guardian to not only be a fit guardian themselves, but to educate others. A free people can do that. Wait around for the government to act and nothing gets done, freedoms are eroded and our debt sky rockets. Big government is what we have now. Is it working to make us a better people? I would say the bigger and more intrusive the government the worse the people are collectively. I know people who will not donate to the food pantry at church because they say that’s what food stamps are for. Why help? The government is doing it already. I don’t care what government is doing. If you refuse to give food for the poor and homeless, then you are a bad person.
    Also, since the 1970′s the number of animals killed in shelters has dropped dramatically. This is without changes in laws or any government mandate. It is the government (animal control) that kills the most animals around here. Most of our private shelters are truly no kill. MADACC kills 600 cats a month. Get the government involved to improve cat guardianship? No way! Not when all the best improvements are coming from individuals!

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