Cats in the Alcove – Part 6: Birdie!

I apologize in advance – this is a very long and photo-heavy post!

Last week I installed 5 new platforms leading from the alcove above the living room TV to Birdie’s downstairs hall platforms:

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Darwin was on board right away:

117r        117a

But Birdie?  Not so much.

*Slams on breaks, activates back-up beeper*

I need to back up a bit first and explain a light bulb moment I had last week, which is directly related to Birdie getting up to the alcove.

I’ve always used cut-up IKEA Toftbo bath rugs as cat platform covers.  It happened by accident when I bought 5 white ones last year for our upstairs bathroom.  After living with them for a few weeks we decided they were just TOO WHITE, and we bought grey bath rugs at Target to use instead, which have worked out wonderfully.  I didn’t want to throw the IKEA ones away since they were basically brand new, so I tossed them in a bin in my basement workshop.  When I built the Upstairs Hallway Cat Platforms I wanted something soft to put on top.  The Dining Room Cat Platforms are covered with brightly colored fleece blankets, but I wanted something more subtle for the upstairs hall.  The IKEA rugs seemed perfect – they have slightly grippy bottoms and are made of plush dots in a grid pattern.  The grid pattern makes them super easy to cut in straight lines:

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The only thing I hadn’t considered is that we have 3 black cats.  Who shed.  And barf.  White hides nothing!  We toss the rug pieces in the laundry when they need it.  Or just toss them and I cut new ones.

Last week Birdie threw up on the one covering her downstairs hall platform.  While it was in the wash I placed a fleece blanket there instead, like the one on the living room side of the platform.  I thought she’d love it – it’s so cozy and thick.  Instead she made a point to ignore it.  Here’s Birdie on the right, ignoring the hell out of the fleece blanket, and Darwin on the left, standing on both blankets – he looooooooves fleece:

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6 hours later Birdie was back up on her shelf, FIERCELY ignoring the fleece blanket, with Darwin on the right this time:

replacing the fleece blankets on the cat platforms with ikea rugs

I realized, finally *light bulb blinks on*, that Birdie doesn’t like fleece!  Her claws probably get caught in it.  She’s very finicky with what she’ll step on, but I hadn’t considered that fleece was on her “HELL NO” list – cats usually love fleece!  Now it makes more sense why she always stays on the hallway side of the downstairs platforms!  Here’s a picture from a few months ago, as she napped on her fluffy IKEA bath rug, safely distanced from the fleece blanket:

birdie sleeping on her new downstairs hall cat platform

I ran out of white IKEA rugs and rug pieces, and needed more to cover the new platforms I built.  They only cost $10 at IKEA, which is a total bargain.  Unfortunately it’s a complete hassle to drive to IKEA – it’s 75 minutes away and always a complete mob-scene.  I’m planning a trip to IKEA, but not for another few weeks.  On a whim I did a search for “IKEA Toftbo” on Amazon and found lots of rugs!  In all different colors!  Most for $22/each, which is quite a hefty markup.  But desperate times and all that… so I ordered 5:

They arrived 2 days later [love Amazon Prime].  I opted for grey this time – it’s a nice change from white, and hopefully won’t show as much black fur [or barf]:

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The first thing I did was cut pieces for the downstairs hall platform and the living room platform around the corner.  And look who decided she suddenly likes the living room side of the platform [now that the fleece blanket is gone!]:

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Yep, that’s Birdie!  I was so happy to see her there!  I had NO IDEA the fleece blanket was such a barrier for her!  Holy cow.  She’s over on the living room side quite frequently now 🙂

Then I covered the platform above her downstairs hall platform, picked her up and placed her on it – she’d been ignoring it for a week and I wanted her to check it out.  She hates to be picked up so she furiously squawked the whole time, but once she realized she was safe she decided it wasn’t half bad:

120g        birdie and darwin hanging out on the downstairs hall and living room cat platforms

Next I covered the middle platform and she hopped right up onto it:

birdie checking out the new living room alcove cat platforms        birdie checking out the new living room alcove cat platforms

Once she spotted the higher platforms, her curiosity was piqued!  She was like “ooooo – what do we have here?”

120k        120l

But she didn’t go up.  She settled back onto the middle platform for a bit, then went back down to her regular platforms.

When Darwin saw Birdie approaching HIS alcove, he got FURIOUS.  He bitch-slapped Jim, he bitch-slapped ME, he leveled poor Bonkers, then chased Jim out of the room, yowling and screaming the whole time!  He is a force to contend with when he’s angry!

Meanwhile, I went about replacing all the white cat platform covers with grey ones – they look really good!  I tie them down with string, like Christmas presents – that way the cats don’t accidentally slip off the platform if the rug starts sliding.

Downstairs Hall platforms:

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Upstairs Hall platforms:

upstairs hall cat platform, bookcase, and litter box       120o

And Laundry Room platforms!  I had to take a small detour before putting a rug topper on the oddly shaped platform leading into the laundry room.  I had installed it in such a rush last December that I left it un-painted [something that’s been bugging me ever since!].  So I quickly primed & painted it on the spot.  A little square of paper helped me to not get paint on the wall or adjoining platform:

120p        120q

Once the paint dried I cut and tied down a grey piece of rug for it, using nails underneath the platform as anchors for the string:

120r        120s

Then I put grey bath rug rectangles on the last 2 new platforms in the living room.

On Valentine’s evening, while Jim, our friend Torrey, and I were watching movies, we noticed Birdie starting to climb back up the new platforms!

120t        120u

120v        120w

Jim paused the movie and we all watched in anticipation…  and yelled “Hooray!!!” when she jumped up.  It made me SO happy to see her up there!

Meanwhile, Darwin was keeping a close eye on the proceedings:

darwin looking up at the living room cat platforms

Birdie checked out the whole alcove before finally settling down for a snooze:

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Darwin moved into his cat tree and continued to watch:

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All weekend Birdie thoroughly enjoyed the alcove, and spent absolute hours up there, only coming down to eat, drink or use the litter.  Jim was afraid she’d never come down, but yesterday she followed me around while I worked on warming up the house.

I walked into the living room at one point to see a fleece bump in the alcove.  Before I could say “what the hell?” Birdie emerged from underneath it:

birdie underneath the blankets in the living room cat alcove        birdie underneath the blankets in the living room cat alcove

She’s also really enjoying the new middle platform where she can keep an eye on everyone and everything:

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And Darwin and Bonkers are both keeping an eye on HER when she’s in the alcove:

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Alot of times when she’s up there, Bonkers “loses” her and wanders around upstairs howling for her.  It’s kind of funny…

And over the weekend there were a few times when Darwin and Birdie shared the alcove!  Amazing!!!  That’s Darwin on the left and Birdie on the right [Jim had the idea to put another one of the IKEA grey bath rugs up there, to give her the option of that, although she does sleep on the fleece side, too!]:

120zg        120zh

At one point Darwin climbed up the new platforms, approaching a sleeping Birdie.  We expected a confrontation but instead it was very peaceful [that’s Birdie on the left and Darwin on the right]:

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Mostly I have gotten used to seeing Birdie from this angle – she’s a very happy girl!

birdie looking down from the living room alcove

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2 Comments

  1. Jessica @CapeofDreams

    Go Birdie! It’s great to see her settling in. How funny is it that she is so finicky with the fleece. Typical cat!

  2. What a success story. The saga of the cats is always fascinating. And love the grey rugs!

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