Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cat Pyramid

Allie dozing on her cat pyramid

A gigantic scratching post, originally designed for my first two kittens, Sparky (below right) and Wolfie (left), stands proudly at the far end of our present kitchen. We call it the cat pyramid, for obvious reasons.

Wolfie and Sparky, having outgrown their pyramid, relax together on a danish-modern chair

Eric Steinhauer, who designed the pyramid, reminisced about his inspiration and construction of the post. He made it for my first two kitties, black and white littermates, who were energetically tearing up our house on College Avenue. It consists of four plywood sides, a square top and larger square bottom.

After cutting out the six plywood pieces with a power saw, he stapled carpet scraps onto all the outer surfaces, and screwed them together to form a tall pyramid. The kittens loved it. They raced up and down the vertical sides, chased each other to the top and scratched and jumped with abandon during their young, rambunctious years. But then they outgrew it and went back to napping and artistically scratching the furniture, as is so humorously described in the book Why Cats Paint. Since it was no longer being used, Eric took it apart and stored it in the basement and forgot about it until I found Allie— a darling calico kitten—at the Pinole shelter, five years ago. By this time, I had moved several times and was now living in an in-law addition in the Berkeley hills. From the moment Allie entered "her" home, she was a terror. While most cats would be drugged and drowsy right after being spayed, Allie tore around on every surface in the long, narrow apartment, squealing with glee at having been freed from her cage at the shelter. After several weeks of kitten pandemonium, I thought of the long lost pyramid.

Pyramid sits in back, right corner. Green Bin stays on kitchen counter

    Fortunately, the object was still stored in the basement of the College Avenue house and still in great shape. I moved the heavy pieces to our Shasta Road dwelling, Dean reassembled it, placed it in a comfortable kitchen corner, and introduced it to Allie. It was love at first sight! She scratched it ferociously, she bounded up, jumped down, leapt across and, best of all, held court on top. Now she naps blissfully on her perch while I prepare dinner. She can look out at the kitchen or through the small windows into the office (at right) or out the bayview window. She often lies on the floor at the base.
                                                                  She plays on top
A young Allie plays atop her carpeted roost (2009)
                                                             She stretches out at the bottom

                                                        She is queen of all she surveys
Full grown Allie looks out at the kitchen from her pyramid
                                                         A perfect place for a cuddle
Dean calls it "pyramid love"

All sorts of cat furniture is available in pet stores and online, and all too often these expensive objects are rejected by house cats who are particular about their perches. Below are two stylish examples from the website Hauspanther.

Frankly,  I think Allie looks much more comfortable on her very own designer cat pyramid. She refuses to outgrow it.

For a hilarious account of cats demolishing household upholstery in the guise of artistic endeavor, check out Why Cats Paint by Heather Busch and Burton Silver, Ten Speed Press, 1994.

                                      After all, not every cat is lucky enough to have a pyramid!


  1. Can I order one?

  2. Another great blog, dear Miss Monfried.
    Your Allie cat is lucky not only to have her very own pyramid— she's even luckier to have such a purrrfect kitty-mommy as you!