My name is Richard Dolan and with my wonderful wife, Karen, we started showing Persians in 2005.
As we began to build our breeding program, it became apparent that we needed some "kitty condos" to accommodate the needs of our growing feline family.
It was Karen who first suggested the idea of building custom cat accommodations. Never have done this particular type of building before, I really needed her input. It was invaluable
I am a master electrician, and throughout my career I have often thought of different ideas to fulfill my creative needs. I have always liked working with various woods, but building kitty condos gave me a challenge in an area that I had not previously thought of.
After much thought and discussion, we developed the design of our unique cages based upon our own needs - coupled with the desire to have nice pieces of furniture that would fit our decor in shape, style and color.
Getting Started... Style
Our first thoughts were of the space in which these units would occupy. The color and style would have to fit our particular decor. Our first units were for our Asian-themed dining room - so a black lacquer was chosen for the finish to co-ordinate.
Each individual cage is 25 ½ inches wide by 49 ½ inches long including the trim work on the outside. The double cage is 55inches tall this also includes the height of the wheels since our cages are on swivel casters. This makes moving theses units very easy, and are positioned on each corner.
The sizing was based on ease of moving and the neat ability to move the units from room to room. Translated this means fitting them through a standard 30 inch door opening. Also with the swivel wheels negotiating around a corner or door way is very easily done.
The floor and ceiling are ¾ inch sheets of particle board 24 inches wide by 48 inches long, and covered with a washable melamine surface. This makes the task of cleaning and disinfecting simple. The supporting wood for the top and bottom of the cage is made up of six two by fours. This gives the unit its wonderful and durable strength.
The top and bottom are assembled with the two by fours with 3 two inch screws at each location top and bottom. At this time I paint the two by fours to co-ordinate with the colors of the room it will be located in. Now after the paint dries I am ready for the medium duty plastic mesh to be wrapped around the unit and stapled at a spacing of about every inch.
The trim pieces cover all the staples holding the plastic mesh so there is no danger for your cat.
All trim work should be pre-drilled first then assembled on to the 2 by 4 frame work using 1 ¼ inch screws.
All screws when assembled on the cage are flush with the surface of the finish wood.
The last part of the wood assembly is making the doors. The doors are made to fit an opening of 17 inches wide by 22 inches high. The wood used to make the doors is the same size as the trim which gives the outside a consistent look. The doors are four pieces of wood, two pieces 12 inches long and two 21 ½ inches long held together with flat T brackets and #8 flat head screws by 3/8 inch long. They also have plastic mesh in the center of the door frame. The staples used to hold the mesh are covered with wood trim pieces 1 ½ inches wide by 3/16 inches thick. They are attached to the inside of the door using #8 flat head screws by ½ inch long and installed flush with the surface.
Next all the trim wood and doors are ready for sanding. When all sanding and vacuuming are complete it‘s time to paint all prepared surfaces. I let this dry for 24 hours then lightly sand with fine steel wool before applying the final coat. This also dries for 24 hours.
The last step is to install the doors. The hardware used were two 2 ½ inch brass door hinges and a small brass slide bolt. Attach the hinges to the door first.
Center the door in the opening mark all holes then pre drill with a 1/8 inch drill bit and install door with the screws provided with hinges.
Finally measure the center point on the door frame opposite the hinge side and install the slide bolt loop. Make certain to install the bolt slide on the fixed part of the wood trim next to the door. This was our very first cage which is a double queen cage.
Creating these units has brought me a great deal of satisfaction and joy. The units have been exciting to build and I have the added bonus of seeing our cats enjoyment while they explore and play in each one of them.
We have progressed from building our first unit to building multiple kitty condos, matching supply cabinets, cat trees, and adjustable food dishes. Stay tuned for further designs and models that we will be showing sometime in the near future.