Wednesday, June 30, 2010
RSPCA Cat Legacy Update - Honore and Henrys’ Climbing Condo!
Lisa, Animal Attendant at RSPCA Cat Legacy House in Somersby, writes about her environmental enrichment project for the cool cat residents:
"The RSPCA Cat Legacy House, Somersby NSW, is 4 years old and the majority of the legacy cats have resided here for that duration of time. While all have access to a landscaped garden, the environment lacked enrichment for the cats and did not encourage the cats to be outside and active.
The aim of environmental enrichment is to enhance animal wellbeing by increasing exercise, satisfying behavioural needs and optimizing the level of stimulation that the animal receives, as well as attempting to reduce abnormal behaviours. Our concept was to design a climbing structure for the garden of the youngest residents; brothers Honore and Henry (and their friends!). All cats like to climb and the Legacy cats are no different in this regard!
After consultation with my feline clients, a design brief was outlined. Honore and Henry requested a structure with height; Twista required a place he could play with his friends. Mr Dibbles wanted a warm place in the sun and Sox sought his own meditation space. I approached ‘Kincumber Men’s Shed’ with my ideas and after much discussion and implementation, a workable design was reached.
The structure was to implement various platforms, encouraging climbing, jumping and scratching, but also with enough room to relax in the sun. The design is primarily two end posts, 2 metres in height spanning a distance of 3 metres with a middle support post and adjustable platforms of a spiral staircase design. The top beam is enhanced with artificial turf for its tactile properties.
Kincumber Men’s shed kindly agreed to build the structure, but I needed to fundraise to purchase the required materials. I approached my gym, Curves Erina, with my ideas and they decided to hold some raffles to raise the money. Both parties successfully pulled together and the cat climbing structure became a reality.
Then it rained. And rained. And rained. For 3 long weeks! The boys yard became a swimming pool and construction was halted. Finally it stopped and the decision was made to erect the climbing structure on the Queens Birthday weekend. I enlisted the help of my very patient husband Pat to assist with this project.
So, the kitty climbing condo now stands proudly in the boys garden. Honore and Henry have eagerly embraced it and like small children, sulk when it is time to come in for dinner. Twista, Mr Dibbles and Sox are taking their own time exploring it.
I feel this structure can only benefit the lives of these cats and I am delighted with the results. Naturally, the other residents have made enquiries on when their outdoor climbing frame will be ready. One structure completed, 5 more to go… :)
Many thanks to the boys at Kincumber Men’s shed, especially Jim and Mick, for their time, energy and beautiful construction of the climbing frame.
Thank you to Di and the girls at ‘Curves gym Erina’ for their fundraising and ongoing support of community projects.
I'm always thankful for my husband Pat who continually gives his time, energy and tradesman skills to the Cat Legacy House :) "
Cat Legacy House Somersby NSW