Here’s a special shelter Catification Makeover for The Barn House AZ! This is their “West Wing,” one of the free roaming cat spaces at their facility in Peoria, Arizona. The goal was to add Catification elements to help the cats feel more comfortable during their stay and to make a fun and attractive space for visitors and potential adopters.
This project was sponsored by our friends at Armarkat and their new line of premium wood products that are perfect for use in shelter Catification. When designing shelter spaces, durability and clean-ability are top priorities. All surfaces need to be sanitized regularly plus they need to withstand heavy-duty use. This project put the new Armarkat furniture to the test and it passed with flying colors!
The furniture used in this project included Armarkat’s 3-piece Catification Set (the one with a box, a shelf, and a sisal post, we used five sets in this design), their wall-mounted sisal scratcher/climbers, the new Hexagon Wall Climbers, and a 46″ Multi-platform Wood Cat Tree. All the wood was painted with multiple coats of paint and then sealed with water based polyurethane for extra protection. We used a satin finish polyurethane to make it easy to clean and sanitize.
The design gives cats multiple levels for climbing and perching with semi-enclosed hideaways where they can retreat to. There is also plenty of seating for visitors in a tidy, flexible space that is easy to keep clean.
The hexagon wall climbers are extremely popular with the cats, giving them some privacy while still allowing visitors and caregivers to keep an eye on everyone. We eliminated all inaccessible hiding spaces, instead providing lots of comfy nooks where cats can lounge.
Three large litter boxes are tucked under a tall bench that doubles as seating for visitors and lounge space for cats. The litter bench was custom built and is a full 24″ tall, giving cats plenty of room to stand up inside.
We used the shelves from the 3-piece sets to create a corner climber leading to the top of an isolation cage (used for introducing new cats to the space) with a shelf above. The Armarkat shelves come with sherpa fleece pads that the cats love, plus I made some small fleece mats in a matching color scheme. Volunteers can easily make fleece mats like this so there are plenty to have on hand.
We added some IKEA furniture for storage and extra seating. I selected these PERJOHAN benches because they have a built-in cat hangout underneath! Two IVAR cabinets provide ample storage for cat care and cleaning supplies with space on top and a shelf underneath for cats to lounge on.
The wall-mounted cube hideaways are arranged to create steps for cats to climb on and the sisal posts give them plenty of scratching surfaces.
We added lots of cozy cat beds from Armarkat. All are easy to machine wash as needed and the cats love them. I also made several no-sew fleece blankets for a splash of color.
A bulletin board displays information for all the cats in the room so potential adopters will know who’s who and a wall-mounted toy holder keeps wand toys organized and close at hand. We built this wand toy holder using a design created by Maggie Swanson and Rick Wetzel for PAWS in Norwalk, CT. It’s a great design for animal shelters!
A big thank you to Armarkat for sponsoring this project! It’s really exciting to have pre-made furniture available that can withstand a shelter environment. I think this makes Catification accessible for more shelters. We’ve got several of the pieces used in this design on sale through the end of February at shop.hauspanther.com. Great for shelter use as well as residential!
You can learn more about The Barn House at thebarnnouseaz.com and if you’re every in the Phoenix area stop by and visit the West Wing!
The West Wing design has maximized our rescue space, created additional comfort, decreased stress levels, and allowed for vibrant photo ops. It has proven to be appreciated by all cats, from ninja warriors to shy cozy cats, giving them a chance to live their best life.
– Cassidy Porter-Whistman
Founder & Executive Director of The Barn House AZ