Sunday, August 6, 2017

Staff Review: Cat Castles: 20 cardboard habitats you can build yourself by Carin Oliver

Gathering Materials

When I saw Cat Castles: 20 cardboard habitats you can build yourself by Carin Oliver on the cart of new books, I knew I needed to check it out immediately.

"Look at how happy that cat in an airplane is!" I thought. "Obviously my kitty Dexter needs a cat castle to be truly happy."

Dexter selects a box.
Luckily, my boyfriend was in agreement and had a stash of cardboard boxes waiting for recycling day. We looked through the projects in the book, which vary from fairly simple reinforced and decorated boxes for your cat to hide in to elaborate designs like trains and even the castle of the title. I asked Dexter for his opinion, but he was busy napping on a tote bag we'd left on a kitchen chair. Instead we decided to wait until we were babysitting my boyfriend's niece and asked for her help. She decided that we would make Dexter the largest cat castle we possibly could.

User Testing
The first step was to gather our supplies: cardboard boxes, hot glue gun and glue, box cutter, ruler, twine, and decorations. Unlike the designs in the book, we did not plan on elaborate painting or carefully applied craft paper. Dexter loves to destroy cardboard boxes, so we wanted the design to be something that he could enjoy chewing into little pieces. So we put our elementary student in charge of interior decorating and design elements, while the grown-ups took care of cutting and gluing. We found that the hot glue gun did not have enough power to hold the larger boxes together and ended up using non-toxic wood glue.

One of the best design elements are two cat toys attached from high points of the castle with twine for Dexter to attack (though my favorite is probably Dexter's name spelled out in felt letters on one of the towers). This gives us a way to interact with Dexter and the castle and has encouraged him to engage in active play in his new castle, rather than just napping (although he is definitely getting some good naps). Overall, this was a fun and easily customizable project that I can recommend as an entertaining weekend activity for cat lovers of all ages.
King of the Castle
~Sarah, Adult Services

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