Cat Scratching Fever

No, this is not a blog about cats. But, our cats are doing quite well, thanks!

See? They get along splendidly now.

The two kittens, or cats actually, cuddling.

Too bad about that eye, this would have been a cute shot.

If you don’t want to hear anymore about what they’ve destroyed or how much UPS is making off of my deliveries for products to keep them happy and our apartment in order,  stop here.

(And maybe just look at a kitten! picture. Eeeh! The cuteness hurts my teeth.)

Ok, you’ve been warned.

Things have settled down and, other than an occasional tryst on the kitchen table,  the two have become a team united against us in begging for food, shedding all over the place, dominating the guest bathroom/catbox room and claiming a couch for their very own.

kitten love, whether sanctioned or not, happens everywhere.

Getting, ahem, close on 'their' (soon to be tossed) couch.

Having two cats that keep each other company has its benefits, but there’s a price. Doubling our cat population has forced some issues that we’d been able to ignore up until now:

The Hair

These two shed a lot of hair, especially now that the summer season is in full swing. Their constant play activity rips out extra tufts by the bagful. These wayward furballs roll around the hallway, gathering momentum and bulk like a demented hybrid between tumbleweed and snowballs. We’re searching for ways to deal with it, but haven’t attained any high levels of enlightenment. Yet.

We try to furminate them whenever possible, but both get so squirmy and excited, brushing them is a two-person job. When you can get them to sit still, this thing really works. I mean really. Maybe too well.

I managed to pull out a wad the size of a basketball off of Fergus while he was sunning on the balcony. A big gust of wind came by and knocked it down to the neighbors who always complain about noise. Guess we gave them something new to complain about.

Also, this is not good for use when judgement is impaired (like knowing when to stop).

The furminator cat brush.

This gets tons of hair, but be careful! Best not used when intoxicated.

We’ve also upgraded to massive lint rollers from Muji. Looks like a paint roller, it’s easier to use than the wand versions and the storage holder keeps it from sticking to everything in the cupboard. This thing is kind of awesome and the best instant-gratification hair tool so far.

The mighty muji roller.

Looks like it's meant for walls, the Muji Roller has proven to be a mighty tool in the hairy battle. Also, kinda fun to roll all over your husband before sending him off to work.

We’ve been planning to kick it up yet another notch, but for several reasons those plans haven’t solidifed yet into reality.

(Come to momma!)

With vigilance, we’re muddling through ok with the fur situation. But then there’s also The Claws.

Hmmm, what will I destroy next?

Here things start getting tough. Alone he was too lazy, but now that Fergus has a sidekick, the cats are going for the furniture with a vengeance.  This is not so bad as long as we hate the furniture they’re going after. But soon we won’t have these as decoys anymore. Check out this gallery of horrors in this article on Modern Cat.  We’re not at that point yet, but I have been known to put aluminum foil on chair arms these last few months (which makes me sad).

Yikes. Thankfully we're not this far, either in terms of damage or designer furniture as targets. Yet.

Clipping? Nah. Both cats are good at submitting to manicures, but that only reduces the damage to furniture, and doesn’t erase the urge. I’m admitting defeat in thinking I could get around having something for the cats to scratch, but I’m not quite ready to surrender and buy a cat tree/condo monstrosity. Anything we get we have to look at every day, multiple times a day. I can’t face this thing on a daily basis, so…

Oh for the love of Garfield, no.

I’ve been looking at some other options. There is a lot of ugly stuff out there. I want a cat scratcher that looks like people furniture, or at least doesn’t scream CAT FURNITURE! (This one below fails on that point.)

Why this design ever blossomed...I dunno.

I don’t have kids but I think I know how I would have felt in the 80′s with only clown print crap to put my kids in.

This is where being abroad becomes frustrating. I can find a lot of what I would like online in the US. And if I could keep more than half my paycheck, I’d have an easier time with the price tags. But I’m in Germany, so this is what I found after a lot of online research and espresso.

These guys at Modern Critters make a series of cat scratchers that can be fastened to or mounted on the wall, which could be great for our apartment, if only we’d had the wall space (and could swallow the international shipping price). But on the whole, I like!

Like the Flor carpet tiles!

Using Flor carpet tiles alone might have been an option for some, but where to put it? That remains a mystery.

No walls or furniture to spare for this idea.

We might get somewhere with a cardboard scratcher, and there are some nice ones out there, but they are either too far away, like this one from Marmalade Pets out of Seattle,

modern cat lounger

or this kind dorky, if well-intentioned “green” Cardboard Design option out of New York.

Yeah, I get it. It's a dog.

This is one of the very few providers in Germany that I’ve come across that has a style that works for me. The folks at Cat-On aren’t totally on target, but they’re close.

Cat-on makes scratchers in Germany that look more like their design and less like their function.

Not too bad.

I may come back to them once I’ve confirmed for sure that my first choice, my well-researched purchase, has totally and utterly failed. I went for these wall-mounted tiles because 1) they look good, 2) you can switch out the carpet squares, 3) we could fit them onto almost any wall in the apartment, 4) they were flat easy for mom to pop in the mail.

Behold, my best of intetions that didn’t pay off:

The Itch from Square Cat Habitat, A+ on design, so far F on function.

I got exactly the same thing as pictured, but apparently the cats don’t care for mohair. I’m going to switch out the carpet squares and see if that helps. In the meantime, I keep them entertained by lining up cat treats on top of the frames and letting them go after them like monkeys.

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8 responses to “Cat Scratching Fever

  1. just one other thought from a fellow cat owner–i often had luck finding things online in europe and shipping to DE. in particular, i found many things in the netherlands that i literally couldn’t find in DE.

    euro costs and intra-europe postage wasn’t so bad when compared with shipping from the US, and you can usually muddle through the dutch websites with basic german.

    as well, if you ever are on a driving trip across any borders, you may find other options outside of DE, in France, Poland, etc. not sure why germany is so many years behind other countries on selling some of this stuff.

    • Good idea, are there any design or cat websites in Dutch you can recommend?

      Germany is woefully behind on this kind of stuff. It’s amazing. I guess if it’s not a car or cool machine, no one is willing to invest the cash…

  2. Would suggest, look here for the words you seek: http://www.zooplus.co.uk/
    Then go to their Dutch site at the bottom of the page to get the Dutch version (like ‘krabpaal’) as the layout is the same for the same products so just navigate through the same path.

    Then search on google images with your word and .nl to browse photos for the right style that you seek, since style can be so individual.

    Or just shop on the German version of that site, or UK sites that would ship to DE in case it has more than you can find locally. I have the ‘sisal scratching mat’, nothing fancy but someone gives it two claws up as it’s easy to take along when we travel.

  3. I went for the cat furniture in the US myself- but its hard to find in Germany. I saw some amazing stuff in the cat area at Grunewoche, but the prices were verruckt!
    With three cats, my Dyson Animal was my best friend, but the price for that in DE is also unbelievable! (And I had carpets here). It looks like you are ding a great job finding the rught tools already.

  4. i over furminated one of my cats. She was a bit on the bald side for a while, but in my defense, she loved every minute of it.

    to train off corners, try foil. tape, staple, or whatever to get it on and if F&S are like all but one** of the cats I’ve cared for, they’ll learn to leave those corners alone after about a month.

    clipping the claws on a weekly basis works for keeping the damage down, but who can remember.

    my roomba, The Commander Evans, is a godsend. Puurfect for cat hair (had to be done). seriously, after two days when the cat hair starts to ball up, the commander totally kicks cat fur butt.

    Our loft is minimal furn and mostly modern. never found anything they’d use. have a big monster ugly thing that was used until the human kitten moved in. Now they use pillars. you might try something like that. just a big piece of raw wood in a corner.

    **Ollie takes the foil, smashes it into a ball and bats it around. He does that with every ingle item i have tried to keep him from destroying whatever it is he is hell bent on destroying. He is the sweetest pain in the ass.

    • Jen, I’m so glad you love Olli like you do. I definitely picked the right family for that scamp.

      I’ll remember to pack some foil for our trip. We’re taking the cats and I hope to give the furniture in the apartment to some of the mountain folk, but only if it’s in acceptable shape annnnd I’m a little concerned.

      A big piece of rough lumber is more attractive than a cat jungle-gym, food for thought.

      When are you back?

  5. Update! Over here in Austria we’ve covered the furniture with aluminum foil, grabbed a log from the woods for the balcony and bought a scratch tower for the cats. They’re sloooowly transitioning over. I think we’ll be able to give the furniture away in decent condition when we empty this place to renvate. That at least, is something.

    (One “cat-astrophy” couch in Nberg was picked last week and hauled away to the dump. Myhammer.de rules.)

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