The kitties in one of AFV’s community cat rooms happily climb the walls, thanks to a generous donation by volunteers. Read on to learn how you, too, can go vertical to create more space for cats in their enclosures.
The Wall of Game
Cats are masters at using vertical space, and being able to survey their surroundings from a high perch adds calming enrichment when space is limited. Before the new climbing wall, AFV had limited vertical space. Now cats enjoy a ladder, numerous perches and cat-themed hiding boxes. According to Ellen Bilney, AFV’s development director, “It’s a great place for the cats to lounge, observe, sleep or just cozy down to watch the world go by.”
“It’s a great place for the cats to lounge, observe, sleep or just cozy down to watch the world go by.”
Building Walls—and Relationships
The wall, made of aluminum and vinyl, was donated by a local dog trainer and his wife, who installed the pre-made kit along with the help of another volunteer. Bilney says the installation was easily done in about 2 1/2 hours by gluing and screwing plywood to the existing wall before attaching the kit pieces. The six-foot cat wall kit cost about $1,300, but the manufacturer offered a discount to the shelter.
Bilney hopes to install a wall in each of the shelter’s other three community cat rooms and encourages other shelters to do the same. And it’s not just the cats who enjoy the wall. “If you build it, the humans will come to watch the cats,” she says.