Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to modify your house to please your cats

They may look like empty shelves, but they are actually stairs for cats.
Last night SAT had the pleasure of dining with Gabriele and Alda, lovely veterinarians living in Bologna. It was a great opportunity to tour an incredible city and talk vetty talk – but mostly it was a chance to check out the modifications they’ve done to their apartment for the benefit of their feline companions.

From this height Pippa can dine in comfort while watching the humans below.
Gabriele, a surgical specialist who is handy with a drill, put his orthopaedic skills to good use building a fantastic cat track through four rooms. This allows the two cats in the household – Pippa and Gina – to observe proceedings from almost ceiling height. 

I’ve seen variations of this theme before but I like the width of this one – most cat tracks are pretty narrow, running the risk that frisky felines will fall from above. This one provides space for cats to walk, run, sleep in almost any position, eat and do whatever they want up high with minimal risk of falling onto unsuspecting people below. I know that Bologna is famous for its historic constructions but this was my favourite.

The bookshelf also becomes part of the track. Functional and stylish.

You know it is a brilliant idea when the cats actually use it!
In other news, on July 14 the University of Edinburgh’s FREE online course on Animal Behaviour and Welfare commences. You can sign up here (they have other courses too).

This is a MOOC aka Massive Open Online Course and the tutors have a huge amount of expertise. I appreciated the fact that when they introduced themselves they also introduced their dogs. There’s still time to sign up and nope, you don’t have to be a vet. (If the video below isn't displaying on your device click here).

This next link isn’t strictly vet related but I can see potential applications. It concerns a sensor made by Consumer Physics, which allows you to assess the ripeness and quality of fruit and veg and sends useful info like nutritional value (calories, fats, sugars) and water content to a smartphone or similar device. Saves all that awkward fruit palpation one does in the supermarket.

You could imagine a similar sensor to assess hydration of patients in a veterinary setting. It’s just a concept right now, but it’s worth pondering what we lose (palpation skills?) when we rely on these devices.

Pippa has a rest after her work out on the track.
P.S. If you liked this post check out our previous post on environmental enrichment for the apartment-dwelling cat here.