When Meaghan moved in with me in late 2006, she brought two kitties with her: Peaches and Ebony. While I had grown up with cats, I hadn’t actually lived with any since leaving England in 1999. However, from the first day they moved in I took them straight to my heart and proceeded to spoil them rotten. They’ve had an automated litterbox, two automated fountains, a whole host of toys, and most importantly to keep the furniture safe I bought a fancy kitty scratching post. At the time, with two older cats, a single short pole covered in sisal, a small tray upon which to sit, and a cute little house on the top was more than sufficient. They both took to scratching there very quickly and all was good with the world.
Unfortunately last year we lost Peaches to old age. However, shortly afterwards we adopted both Dougal and Lucy, partially to keep Ebony company and partially because we love having kitties. As our family expanded, so too did the wear and tear on the little scratching post we had bought. A full year and a half after we first brought it home I found myself looking at it one morning and seeing something that had been well loved and very well used. The sisal pole had a texture akin to silk, having been ripped and shredded by endless claws. This in itself could easily have been replaced, however upon further inspection I also found that the carpet had been torn open down to the base frame of the unit in more than one location. The little raised area upon which a kittie might sit had been cleaved and cut to the point that it was no longer a suitable surface upon which to even rest a hand, let alone expect a cat to sit. It was simply time to declare “out with the old and in with the new.” Furthermore, Dougal had recently taken to scratching carpets and furniture, something he had never previously done. It was this behavior that first gave me cause to evaluate the state of the existing scratching post.
Fortunately, at about the same time this was happening I had received a rebate check from Progressive due to an overpayment in my auto-insurance. The value of the check was pretty close to the cost of a new scratching post and as such Meaghan and I embarked upon a quest to find something more suitable for our newer, younger, material-rending feline friends. On Thursday of last week, Meaghan had cause to pass the PetSmart in Wilsonville and had found a couple of good candidates that were well priced. After I returned home from work we headed down there to review our options and see if we could find something that we both liked and could afford. While not the unit that had original caught Meaghan’s attention, we came away with what I can only describe as the feline equivalent of a Playstation (indeed playstation appears to be the industry standard term) for only a few dollars over our original budget. It has two thick sisal-wound pillars that support a pair of balconies on which the cats may sit or sleep. Additionally, there is a tunnel suspended about 8 inches from the base through which the cats might chase each other or hide in when they desire a little more isolation or novelty. Standing at around six feet tall and covered in thick, coarse carpetting, we left feeling confident that we had found a gift that Ebony, Dougal, and Lucy could really enjoy.
Within minutes of hauling one old and busted arrangement of carpet and wood down the stairs and hauling a second new-hotness arrangement of wood and carpet up the stairs, there were two cats eagerly sniffing and poking around what was to become their new favorite place to be. Every night since we installed their new playstation, neither Dougal nor Lucy has paid much attention to anything but their new bed/toy/wubby. Dougal sleeps in the upper balcony, while Lucy wiles away her time on the lower balcony. Both are content to simply sit, roll, sleep, and scratch to their hearts’ content, leaving the area only for the shortest times necessary for other feline functions.
I managed to take some pictures of them playing together on their new favorite furniture with their new favorite toy (a long plastic feather duster). Meaghan must have played with them for over three hours all told since Friday and still the game of bat-at-the-feathers-without-leaving-the-playstation has lost none of its luster. I’m really happy both that they enjoy their new area and that they are no longer scratching at either carpet or sofa. It will be interesting to see how long this new scratching station lasts, but given the amount of fun our cats are already having it, as long as it survives at least the eighteen months seen by its predecessor then I really can’t complain. Feathers, sisal, and a high place to sit = pure kitty heaven!