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How high is too high for a cat?

ancientgirl
July 2nd, 2007, 07:56 PM
I just came back from having a look at the new apartment I'm moving into. It's not as nice as my current place. They haven't done a whole lot of to modernize it, but its large and in a pet friendly building!

What I don't like about it is it's a loft apartment and the bedroom is in the loft area. The loft has a half wall. You can easily look over into the downstairs part of the apartment. I'm incredibly concerned because it would be very easy for Vlad & Oksana to jump on the ledge and not realize there's nothing on the other side, it's a cliff! My friends wife kind of jokingly said, "Well if they fell once they wouldn't get on the ledge again." I looked at her and said "Yeah, because they'd be dead!" Come on, its at least a 15 or 20ft drop! The stairs are kind of open too, and only has a banister on the wall, nothing for support on the other side.

I know I'm probably underestimating my cats. I know cats like high places, but I'm so afraid of that half wall. How high is too high for a cat? Can they be in a high spot like that and know its too far down? I've only had two other cats in my life, and they were both killed by the dog next door before they were 6 months old. I know so little about what they really can and can't do as cats.

rainbow
July 2nd, 2007, 08:06 PM
If it was me I'd be looking for a different place. :o

sugarcatmom
July 2nd, 2007, 08:32 PM
Ya, I'd be a little concerned about that half-wall situation. I know cats are supposed to be graceful and all, but speaking on behalf of the ones I've known, they can also be rather clutzy. And in a moment of rambunctiousness, it's hard to predict what they might attempt. I know a couple of people who's cats have fallen out of the windows of their apartments. :sad:

want4rain
July 2nd, 2007, 08:54 PM
here is what the aspca says about it-

http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pets_highrise

good luck on figuring it out!!

-ashley

krdahmer
July 2nd, 2007, 09:10 PM
Baby gates on the half wall?:shrug:

ancientgirl
July 2nd, 2007, 09:14 PM
I've actually been speaking to a friend of mine and she mentioned a friend of ours can probably help me with something. I can put a trellis there, which will still allow light, and allow them to have little holes to look downstairs. I might even been able to have him do this before I move in and eventually do the stairs.

Everyone keeps saying, "they aren't dumb, they won't jump." blah blah blah.

I think the trellis will work.

CyberKitten
July 3rd, 2007, 01:30 AM
Oh yes they will jump!! And believe me, they may have 8 lives but they don't always land on their feet. A serious fall can severely injure or kill a cat so I would either look for a new place or make major renovations. But I worry about my cats!!!

chsemi
July 3rd, 2007, 01:49 AM
I prefer to look for a new place

ancientgirl
July 3rd, 2007, 07:45 AM
I'm going to have to make some renovations. Looking for a new place isn't an option at this point. I can't continue living here because I can't keep the cats here. And I can't afford to live in another apartment because rent is just way more than what I can pay.

In this place, I can have the cats, I can afford it and I can just move in with no deposits.

I've already spoken to a friend and we have a mutual friend who may be able to help me with an idea I have. If not him, then I'll ask my dad.

Everyone keeps saying, "Oh you're underestimating your cats, or cats know not to jump." Well I disagree. I don't underestimate their skill, but I've seen them miscalculate a jump and lose their balance when excited about playing. Someone told me cats have survived falls up to 9 stories. I found that to be an incredibly stupid statement, since why would I want to take the chance, not to mention, how badly would they be injured.

I'm going to look for some trellis which I believe very much will solve the ledge problem.

krdahmer
July 3rd, 2007, 09:32 AM
Ah-trellis was what I was thinkin of when I said baby gate (just couldn't remember what it was called...:rolleyes: I was suffering from my 'some-timers'). That sounds like a really good solution. I would do it before you move the kitties though, that way they know right away that the ledge is off limits. No temptation.

Ya I'd never chance it, I know first hand how easily cats injure themselves jumping. Fagan's first knee injury was just from the kitchen table to the floor!

And its great by the way how you are putting those little adorable furballs first and making sure your home is safe for them.... good job!:thumbs up

joeysmama
July 3rd, 2007, 09:37 AM
I think the trellis would look pretty and give you a little privacy. Great idea ! Make sure it's secured well so the kitties don't bump it out if they jump up.

ancientgirl
July 3rd, 2007, 10:15 AM
Ah-trellis was what I was thinkin of when I said baby gate (just couldn't remember what it was called...:rolleyes: I was suffering from my 'some-timers'). That sounds like a really good solution. I would do it before you move the kitties though, that way they know right away that the ledge is off limits. No temptation.

Ya I'd never chance it, I know first hand how easily cats injure themselves jumping. Fagan's first knee injury was just from the kitchen table to the floor!

And its great by the way how you are putting those little adorable furballs first and making sure your home is safe for them.... good job!:thumbs up

Yeah, when you said baby gate, it's sort of the same pricipal. Trellis/Lattice is fairly inexpensive. I had a look at Home Depot, and they had some 4'x8' sheets in vinyl and wood. Of course the wood was less expensive but the vinyl was already painted and I think it really will look nice. AS long as I build a sturdy frame I don't see a problem. I just have to get my friend to help me since I'm sure he'll have the tools I need. I will certainly have to do it before I move in though, yes. They had two kinds, one with a very small square opening and one with a larger. Vlad's head might fit through there, but not for long, Oksana's will definitely fit, but she's still can't jump up high so by the time she could actually jump on the ledge, her little head would not be able to fit through that square.

ancientgirl
July 3rd, 2007, 10:18 AM
I think the trellis would look pretty and give you a little privacy. Great idea ! Make sure it's secured well so the kitties don't bump it out if they jump up.

I have this vision in my head of what it will look like and I do think it will look nice, and I like the idea it will give some privacy. If my friend helps me, we can build a sturdy enough frame and I think it won't be a problem. Besides, it will be sturdy enough so they can't fall if they are sitting on the ledge, because I don't think they'll try to break through, that much I really can't see them doing. Besides, its a very hard sheet of vinyl/plastic so it would work better than wood, that you could probably break.

Longblades
July 3rd, 2007, 11:18 AM
The trellis sounds like a good idea but how big are the openings? The little monsters can get through incredibly small spaces. That includes the space between the trellis and the ledge. You will need to have the trellis securely attached at small intervals. And I think the wood ones are usually made of very soft wood and they could claw or chew the opening bigger. Maybe the vinyl too. I wonder if small grid wire might not be a better choice, though not as attractive for you. And they will climb wood, vinyl or wire so it needs to be enclosed at the top.

ancientgirl
July 3rd, 2007, 11:34 AM
I saw two kinds, one with square openings is 1" square, and the second has openings of 2.4" square. While I think Vlad might be able to get his head through there, he'd have to force it, plus when he gets a little bigger he won't be able to fit his head through there. Oksana can't jump up onto the counter yet so right now, the ledge would be too high for her. Once she gets big enough to get up there, her head won't be big enough to fit through the square.

They are actually quite good at following some rules. I taught them to keep away from computer wires and from the blinds and this I did fairly easily. The trellis will serve well as a deterrent, and when I see them I can teach them not to mess with it. So my hope is to just get them to sit on the ledge and not try to mess with the trellis and just enjoy the view through the squares.

I do want to take it all the way to the ceiling, so yeah, I've through about them climbing it and also getting under it. I'd like to make a frame, which will keep it sturdy and enclose it a bit more. The sheet of trellis I saw was 4'x8' so I need to measure and see how high the distance from the base of the ledge to the ceiling. The good thing is they also sell half sheets, so if the full sheet isn't high enough, I can always get something to overlap.

krdahmer
July 3rd, 2007, 08:27 PM
I'm thinking maybe you should go with the smaller opening, because although they won't be getting their whole head through the larger opening, they could maybe get a good hold with their teeth to gnaw the holes bigger. The 1" would make even that difficult for them. The vinyl stuff would be great, especially because it's already finished and attractive looking, I think they would be maybe less likely to want to claw or bite it.

You'll have to show us pictures of the finished project it really sounds like it'll look nice and be very functional!

ancientgirl
July 3rd, 2007, 08:51 PM
I hadn't thought of that, but I'll have to see if they have the smaller ones when I go buy the lattice. They seemed to have plenty of both. The vinyl was nice and even though its more expensive than the wood, I think its safer. The wood would have to be painted, and sanded, and I don't like the thought of them getting splinters. My friend mentioned they might want to climb it, but I can't see them doing that. I think they'll see it as a wall and leave it alone.

My friend Ernie, who is very handy and has done a lot of his own home improvements, said he would help me put something up there. He also has cats. I told him that some people had been saying to me things like, "Cats have been known to survive falls from 9 stories and that they would land on their feet but maybe be a little sore." He said, "Why would you take a chance of them being sore, they're going to get hurt and suffer pain! You're better off avoiding it and keeping them safe." I was so happy when he said that! At least I know he understood my apprehension. He told me not to worry and that we would figure something out. The thing I don't think some people get is, yeah, those cats are usually landing on the ground, soft grass or dirt. My apartment flooring is tile, hard tile!

I'm going to go with him to the apartment on Thursday and take some measurements. I also told him I'd help, so I'm actually looking forward to seeing what it looks like. I'll certainly take some before and after pictures.

krdahmer
July 3rd, 2007, 11:40 PM
Cool the first Pets.ca home improvement show! :laughing:


That should be a new forum, "Pet-friendly home improvement projects and ideas!" I know I have tons of ideas for when we finally buy a home. It'll be totally cat safe and fun!

Longblades
July 4th, 2007, 09:13 AM
I think you have some very good ideas and should be able to make it work. I would caution though: if you think they won't climb, that's the very thing they will climb. They will certainly be smart enough not to mess with it when you are not there but they are like children, forbidden fruit is the sweetest. I have read that cats SOMETIMES do survive falls from great heights. Seems the greater the height the more likely the survival because it gives them time to turn, midair and land on their feet. Falls from a lower height do not allow them to turn over in time, hence a lower survival rate. Nevertheless, you are wise to ignore such stories because survival does not say they are not badly injured.

ancientgirl
July 4th, 2007, 09:14 AM
LOL, that's actually a good idea. I actually have something I do now to keep them from charging the door.

I had a major problem whenever I'd come home. I'd open the door and they would run towards it to welcome me home, but when your arms are full of groceries, its hard to keep them from running out too. So I did this:

This is a rattan screen I've had for years. I made my own little enclosed foyer.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/ancientgirl/IMG_0623.jpg

Here's the view when you come in the door.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/ancientgirl/IMG_0626.jpg

It works incredibly well. Vlad can no longer fit under it, and Oksana can, but by the time she's on the other side, I'm in the door already. I can also use this in the new place. I love it because I can now get in the door without being nervous about them being right there or possibly slipping out. And when I have groceries its a godsend! I can maneuver into the door with all the bags and not worry about them because they are waiting for me on the other side of the screen :)

dtbmnec
July 4th, 2007, 11:48 AM
My parents used this chicken wire stuff to block off our basement from Leo and Pawz. We originally had one of those big huge pattern cutting boards (mom had two of them so we only used the one) and LEO jumped OVER it. The blasted thing is like 6feet tall! :yell: Evil kitty!

So far they haven't tried jumping over the mesh stuff...nor have they tried to climb it. I think they like it better because they can still SEE the other side and don't worry so much?

A lattice would look really really pretty though (from the sounds of it). :)

Megan

ancientgirl
July 4th, 2007, 12:08 PM
Oh, the chicken wire sounds good too. I wish I had enough money to do lucite or something, that way it would be like there's nothing even there because it's clear. But I do like lattice, and I think it will give that open space something aesthetically pleasing to look at.

I'm really looking forward to getting that up there.