Here’s a really fun Catification project that’s unlike anything I’ve ever worked on before! It’s the tour bus for the Amazing Acro-Cats, a traveling show of hilariously trained (and very well loved!) cats belonging to Samantha Martin. Samantha started her career as an animal trainer working with rats, but eventually embraced her true identity as a cat lady and created the Acro-Cats along with the touring band The Rock Cats.
Samantha and the cats travel around the country demonstrating how clicker training can be used to enhance the bond between humans and cats. When they are on the road, they also rescue bottle baby kittens, raise them, teach them a trick or two and get them adopted. To date, Rock Cats Rescue has found homes for more than 250 kittens!
When the Acro-Cats purchased a new tour bus Samantha asked me to catify it for her. I knew this would be a fun project but also challenging. The space needed to accommodate multiple cats, oh, and there’s a groundhog, too! (He thinks he’s a cat.) I visited Samantha and started planning the design, as you can see above, using my favorite tool, blue tape! This large open room at the back of the bus was to become Kitty City, a place where the cats can hangout, play, climb, eat and rest.
I came up with a concept for multiple levels of shelves with two large scratching posts wrapped in sisal and hammocks underneath the shelves. The shelves extend across the big windows on both sides so the cats can easily look out and enjoy the sun and the view, which is constantly changing.
We also added some of the Hauspanther Collection perches on the walls to give the cats extra places to climb.
I made the hammocks from soft fleece with sturdy straps on each corner. The hammocks attach to the underside of the shelves with large clips and heavy-duty eye hooks. Here is Jax modeling the hammock. Clearly she approves.
The two large scratching poles also serve as excellent climbing columns. These are Acro-Cats after all!
Griffin the groundhog also enjoys the nice deep shelves that have a lip on the edge so no one slides off (particularly helpful when you are a groundhog).
The lower cabinets are designed to house litter boxes. There are multiple large openings for entrance/exit with ventilation above. This keeps the litter boxes from sliding around when the bus is moving and it creates another large lounging surface on top, right in front of the windows.
More perches on the wall surrounding the door to Kitty City create places for the cats to climb. This is a great spot for ambushing visitors when they come in to say hi!
You can see the space just outside Kitty City, which was designed to house individual condos for the divas in the show who don’t want to hang out with the riff-raff. There’s also a special condo for Griffin the groundhog and Cluck Norris, the resident chicken, who also makes an appearance in the show.
If you have a chance to see The Amazing Acro-Cats on tour, please do! I guarantee you will laugh yourself silly. Please visit circuscats.com for their upcoming schedule. They can always use volunteers at each tour stop, so sign-up to help if you can. You never know, they might let you peek inside the bus!
Catification design, renderings and photos by Kate Benjamin, all rights reserved.