Climbable Structure Ideas

ObeseChess

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Let's brainstorm!

I have an Ikea kitchen table that folds away when not in use, along with two chairs that I stack on top of it. When in use, it folds out and there are numerous support beams, etc, and you put the chairs on either end.

It's this one: NORDEN Gateleg table, birch, 101/4/35/597/8x311/2" - IKEA

Sassy thinks this is just the greatest thing in the world, and if I leave the table unfolded, especially with the chairs next to it, she will entertain herself endlessly jumping through, climbing around, hiding and exploring the various beams, almost like a jungle gym. I've been leaving it folded out, floor space be darned, because when I get home every day she is curled up in one of the chairs after a long day of climbing around under the table. It has completely supplanted all of her cat trees as her favorite thing to climb and favorite place to hang out. If she's chasing the laser pointer or a toy, under the chairs becomes her base of operations, and if you put a toy under the table she will attack it from every angle, including doing incredible flips and sliding moves under the chairs. It's delightful and she's having a great time.

However.. this is my kitchen table. So I figured I would ask everyone for an alternative - can you think of structures that I don't need to sit at that would be similarly enriching? Some sort of small cat jungle gym?

Or should I simply cede control of the table to Sassy? ;)
 

Kflowers

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The main thing is can she hurt herself on it? Test it by arranging it as you do when you leave it, then go over the entire table, hitting every angle and flat space with 10-12 lbs of weight, use both hands. Do not try to balance, hit off balance, more on one edge than another. Do the same with the chairs. What holds the support beams in place? If she hits one of the legs can she make it fold back under the table? Can she turn over the chairs? Can she get trapped between the table leg and the wall?

I admit I don't get a good picture from what you said, not your fault, I did go look at the table and I'm still not certain how it fastens in place. If the legs can be collapsed and might catch her, can you get small L braces (the sort you use to put shelves up) to screw the legs into place? Of course it won't fold up after that, but she'll be safe.

Since you say you stack the chairs I'm thinking they are elegant folding chairs which, if she hits them and they fall, can catch her between the legs snapping shut and do her a good bit of damage especially if it happens shortly after you go to work. I don't know how to make the chairs safe.

You can make forts out of cardboard boxes. Cats generally like their forts to have a front door and a back door. You can put walls inside to make a sort of maze in each big box. Or you can use two boxes with doors and one in the top and put another box over the top hole to have a second story. Boxes from bookstores and liquor stores tend to be the sturdiest.
 

ArtNJ

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Amazon an Chewy have some crazy tall and elaborate cat trees for reasonable prices -- you just have to put them together. I got this one fairly recently:

FRISCO 72-in Large Base Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo, Cream - Chewy.com

Its a bit of overkill unless you have two cats that are going to roughhouse on it together, but they have many somewhat smaller lighter and cheaper ones for an only cat.
 

Juniper_Junebug

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How about cat shelves? Etsy has a wide variety (ledges, cubes, poles, bridges) that you could put together in whatever creative arrangement you want.

I put up these cat shelves so my kitty could get to a high window ledge. They were not cheap, but I wanted something that could pass for art. Other stores had less expensive offerings.
20210203_110311.jpg
 
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ObeseChess

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The cat shelves are a great idea. Maybe I could arrange them somewhere low.

K Kflowers There is no way she could hurt herself unless there was some sort of freak accident - there is a leg that swings out and locks into place supporting the top of the table and she would need to somehow undo a lock that requires lifting a large piece of solid wood to undo. I am a sturdy ~210lbs, 21 times heavier than Sassy and presumably quite a bit stronger, and this table supported my weight when I changed a lightbulb many years ago. I don’t have any concerns for her safety, just that I don’t want her to get too used to the idea that the kitchen table is a jungle gym. I appreciate you looking out, though!
 
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ObeseChess

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Yeah, she’s got plenty of cat trees, I’m looking for a more complex climbing/playing structure, but I appreciate it!
 

ArtNJ

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Well, if you have the money or carpentry skills, the insane standard (i.e. so far past the gold standard its nuts) is the "cat super highways" that Jackson Galaxy recommends. Googling the term ("cat superhighway Jackson Galaxy") yields a ton of pictures of things you can buy including stuff Jackson Galaxy recommends. Even though I'd never recommend such things without someone asking given some bias against the crazyness and excess, the truth is that there are a number of things you'll see that look really neat, and some that aren't too expensive either! You don't necessarily need to be rich or have a carpenter in the family that you can chain to the couch -- those things just help! The images are interesting in any event!
 
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Neko-chan's mama

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Tunnels can be fun. They don't need to be store bought either. Take a couple of boxes, open the bottoms and duct tape them together. Instant tunnel.
 
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ObeseChess

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Well, if you have the money or carpentry skills, the insane standard (i.e. so far past the gold standard its nuts) is the "cat super highways" that Jackson Galaxy recommends. Googling the term ("cat superhighway Jackson Galaxy") yields a ton of pictures of things you can buy including stuff Jackson Galaxy recommends. Even though I'd never recommend such things without someone asking given some bias against the crazyness and excess, the truth is that there are a number of things you'll see that look really neat, and some that aren't too expensive either! You don't necessarily need to be rich or have a carpenter in the family that you can chain to the couch -- those things just help! The images are interesting in any event!
Now we’re cooking with gas.

I may use these ideas to build some lower, complicated structures for her to play around in and place near her cat trees.
 

minish

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Minish invariably chooses hanging out at spots we humans use. She's above dining chairs under the table before and after dinner, under covers after I make the bed etc. And I find her reclining on the folding chair in the balcony I had just opened when I go in to take my coffee.
So Alternatives may or may not reduce the table's popularity. But it's nice to provide other outlets. All suggestions above will work as play or hiding places. You may need to provide some encouragement at first, like redirecting play there, putting in a used t shirt..
 
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