Jackson Galaxy calls it ‘catification’ others call it an enriched environment for cats but how ever you slice or dice it, most often building a home fit for a cat makes it less fit for a human. A lot of people are houseproud and they like cats. They want their home to look great. Aesthetics are important to many. Homes that are too sheer and sterile from a cat’s perspective are, though, not as good as a bit of disorder. Putting that aside for a minute there are some items of cat furniture, homemade or bought, that can look good for both a cat and a person and I think this tree is an example.
Clearly it will only look good in a certain type of home. I am thinking of a country home and not so much the modern sheer look of many current homes. It is that vertical space which is so important to cats. How to build it into your home in an acceptable way? This example looks like it might be homemade. Cat climbers certainly lend themselves to home construction. You have to find a bit of a fallen tree and somehow get it home! That’s the hard part: getting it home and not be done for stealing a bit of nature from a public space.
The pressure is on cat guardians to do better to make indoor spaces as stimulating as possible as more and more keep their cat indoors full-time. Although it is admirable to place the safety of a domestic cat above all else by keeping them inside it comes with other responsibilities. Like all creatures including people cats need to be challenged physically and mentally in order to be in good working order! By that I mean in good physical and mental health. Domestic cats need to be challenged to replicate the real world that they are atuned to living in.
Visually the tabby cat looks like their wild ancestor, the Far Eastern wildcat. But the similarity does not end there. Emotionally they are almost the same too. The wild cat within is masked by domestication. It takes very little for the mask to reveal what is underneath. And on a day-to-day basis wildcats are constantly challenged to survive. It is a hard life. Arguably the lives of well cared for domestic cats are too soft.
I hate to see bored and emotionally lost cats. They should be tested at least from time to time. A small step in that direction would be to construct a climbing tree like the one in the picture. It ain’t much but it is something. The first way to enrich a cat’s environment is to provide them with something to climb. We know they have an inherent need to move vertically as well as horizontally.
Some wild cats live in trees more than they live on the ground. Given a free choice the domestic would spend at least a third of their time off the ground in my opinion. The domestic cat is not arboreal but they would share vertical movements with those on the ground.