Pets x Domesticity.

The aim of the project is to create a space where humans and cats are able to live in a collaborative environment.

What does catification means?
Catification is the art of making changes and adjustments to your home that meet the needs of both you and your cat (aesthetically and spatially). You want to create spaces that really satisfy your cat’s primal instincts and challenge them the way being outdoors does. Your cat’s instincts propel them to jump, perch, climb, play, sleep, eat, hunt, and claim their own territory.

What does the human – feline relationship signify?
Cat living indoors are under the charge of their human caretakers. This means guardians control what, when, and where their cats eat, as well as where they use the litter box. Guardians also are responsible for their cats’ opportunities to engage in species-appropriate activities.
Cat guardians who try to get their cats to adapt to their human lifestyle and preferences without considering cats’ true nature and needs will likely find themselves with an unhappy cat who exhibits what the guardian deems as undesired behaviour problems. A cat guardian must try to understand how domestication affects their cats’ behaviours, well-being and health. (Benjamin, 2018)

Introducing Min Ying, who has been a cat owner of 9 years.

An avid cat lover who makes frequent trips to cat cafes and enjoys the company of cats.
Name: Min Ying
Pet Owner of: 9 years
Cat Name: Prosciutto
Breed: Domestic Shorthair

Q: In the house, where does your cat usually hangs out?
A: My cat usually hangs out at the balcony as most of her stuff is placed there. She likes to play outdoor and bathe in the warm sun during late afternoon to evening. Other times, she would stay in the living room or on my bed as it is comfortable.
Q: Why does she hangs out at the balcony in particular?
A: Her bed is placed there and there are many boxes for her to explore, as cats like boxes in nature. It is also easy for her to scratch the surface of the boxes. Since she is also not allowed to stray, the balcony provides a outdoor environment for her.
Q: Are there any interesting traits about your cat?
A: It seems that she is quite lazy but is more active at night (cats’ natural behaviour). She is quite picky with her items and does not need expensive pet items like the scratching posts as she is satisfied with the boxes.
Q: Are they any changes made to the interior of your home due to your cat?
A: I mostly changed the balcony area so as to put my cat’s items like food, bed and litter box. It results in lesser space for my family to put my laundry. Even though the balcony is not meshed up, my cat is smart enough to not jump out.
Q: What are some problems you faced at home?
A: When it rains, her items have to be moved into the living room from the balcony. Since she is also afraid of thunder and lighting, she would avoid the window areas. I feel that there is a lack of scratching areas as she ended up scratch the dining chairs and storage boxes.

Day / Night Light.
The following diagrams show the sun path ranging from 0900 to 2100 hours. By doing so, it provides opportunities to work on areas that are shaded/ unshaded. It can also be used to infer Prosciutto’s possible locations as she likes to be in the sun.

Cat Path.
This diagram illustrates the common route that Prosciutto takes. It shows the places that she commonly visits. By inferring from her locations and the sun light, it can be seen that she does enjoy the sunlight. The place that she spend the most time at would be the balcony/ living room, followed by Min Ying’s bedroom, the master bedroom and lastly, the kitchen.

Final Design.

I have came up with 7 different features for cats to live in the house, which are 90 degrees, Ventil(c)ation, The Cat Plank, Catallina, Raised (c)atform, A Catastrophe and CatWalk? Catwalk!. These are specially catered towards pets and the human lifestyle.

In Conclusion.

In total, there are 7 different features for cats to live in the house. I sincerely hope that the creation of these installations would allow for a more collaborative environment between the humans and the cats. To each has their own spaces, they are able to enjoy their comfort and privacy collectively.

Other than these features, owners should spend more time with their cats, so as to observe and control their behaviour. There seems to be a relation to playing and hunting, increasing their instincts level.

“In the case of a cat, we have never found any particular significance to the human being. Cats prefer to play with toys that in some way look like their pray; they got feathers on them or they are furry or they are about the right size that a cat would safely be able to prey on… and cats play more intensely when they get hungry.”
– John Bradshaw (Bradshaw, 2013)

As Mark Twain says, “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.” (Lezard, 2014) This project gives me a better understanding of the way cats perceive the world, and how humans can better accommodate ourselves to them.

 

 

Pets x Domesticity.

Diagram illustrates the spatial relationship of human beings and cats within the neighbourhood.

In terms of size, Prosciutto actually lives in generous comfort, occupying an area that is almost ten times the size of what a typical family member occupies. Prosciutto does move from places to places, depending on the weather and her mood.

Day/Night Light

Cat's Path

Observations

Textures

Floor Plan

The zoning of the programs will remain untouched as per the previous house.

Materials/Textures & Axonometric View

90 degrees.

In an environment with cats, there should be sufficient hiding and playing places for them. Thus, there are gaps underneath the sofas, which allows for perfect hiding and greater movements. Cat shelf is placed above the windows, linking it to the wall behind the sofas. The reason for placing the cat shelves at a higher height is as follows; according to Mieshelle Nagelschneider, who is a cat behaviorist, mentioned that most cats prefer to sleep and hang out in places with good vantage points. (Nagelschneider, n.d.) It comes from their instinct to protect their themselves, and a high position for sleeping or resting gives them an aerial advantage for spotting any potential dangers around them. By having window perches, it also allows the cat to look out of the window. Cats enjoy looking at ‘nothing’, in addition to birds, small wildlife, foliage, other cats, people, vehicles, and insects/reptiles. (Salvia, 2020) The cat shelf across the window leads to the cat tree, allowing the cat to return to their ‘cat home’. Also, cat shelves were installed on the wall, allowing the cats to move actively.

Ventil(c)ation

Since the whole space is based on an open-plan, this wooden shelf acts as a division that separates both the semi-public and the public zone. Nonetheless, it enables both spaces to connect visually as it is made up of wooden planks. Among the wooden planks are squared shelving, which allows direct entries for the cats to proceed from the semi-public zone to the public zone, and vice versa. Items can also be placed on the squared shelving for decoration and/or aesthetic purposes. By creating different types of environments for the cats to loiter around, they are able to choose a suitable location for them to rest. By giving the cats enough vertical space options to choose from, it helps them to climb safely, jump on, or scratch furniture that has been designed for that purpose. It will benefit the cats physically and emotionally to have multiple perching spots throughout your home just like he would out in nature. (Nagelschneider, n.d.)

The Cat Plank

The ‘cat home’ is placed at the upper corner of the house so that it allows a space for the cat to rest and for privacy purposes. The only entrance or exit would be the series of wooden planks. Not only did it serve as aesthetic purposes, it creates a walkway for the cat to pass through. As mentioned before, cats prefer to hang out and sleep at high areas as they are able to supervise the surroundings and spot any dangers immediately. (Nagelschneider, n.d.) The wooden planks lead up to a series of squared shelves that are installed the wall. Its main purpose was to store items, but at the same time, by rearranging the layout and height of the shelves, it ultimately created a number of cat shelves which allows the cat to jump off from it.

Catallina

The cat enclosure is specially created for the cats. Made from wood and glass, it allows the cat to look out of the “glass”, mimicking a window. It is the only sole place that is for cats, which allows the cat to have their own private living space. It is a space where it has all the facilities catered to them, ranging from sleep to play. They are also able to hide away when they do not want to be bothered. It is also a smart way to build this ‘cat home’ as it could be integrated with the home interior. There are 2 ways to enter this enclosure. The first way would be entering through the cat walk from above, where there will be an opening. The second way to enter would be from the bottom of the enclosure where the cat would need to leap from outside.

Raised (c)atform

In order to create a collaborative environment, the house have been made into a wall-less apartment. Other than the structural columns, the main part of the house is an open plan. It allows plenty of sunlight to come through, as it is an important factor as the cat enjoys bathing in sunlight. By knocking down the walls of 2 bedrooms, a raised platform has been created. It creates pockets of spaces along the corridor (to solve storage issues) and can be a hideout spot for cats. Cats are able to hang out with their owners comfortably. The main thing is that movements are not restricted as the open plan home seems free-flowing and feline-friendly. Without any walls, cats are able to move around freely, going from one area to another. The raised platform acts as a space for living and sleeping. It allows for a larger bedroom space, bringing one closer to the windows, enjoying the outside view. Since this space has evolved from a private to a semi-public zone, there would not be any cat shelves as the main purpose is for resting. If the cat wants to play at the area, they can interact with the heights of the platform and the cat tree placed right next to it.

A Catastrophe

Another main feature of the house would be this series of cat shelves. They are placed around 2 perpendicular walls so that the cats would have enough space to interact. Combining with different elements and heights, they are able to move around freely. Since it is located next to the dining area and the corridor, it is an area where they will not be disturbed. As the higher shelf reaches out to the long cat walk, it allows the cat to move about the house easily. Scratching posts are linked from the floor level to some of the cat shelves so that the cats are able to de-claw and climb onto it. Post should be tall, sturdy, covered in a rough material (such as sisal) and, here’s the one many people forget about: posts should be placed in convenient locations where a cat likes to scratch. (“Q & A with Cat Expert Pam Johnson-Bennett | ARM & HAMMER™ Cat Litter”, n.d.) It is also essential to place several tall scratching posts as the need to climb is deep-rooted in the cat’s genetics, where his need to perch can be traced back to his wildcat ancestry. Cats will seek out high places even in a home where they know it is safe and well cared for. (Nagelschneider, n.d.)

CatWalk? Catwalk!

It acts as a passageway that links all the features together. It links to 3 main areas, the cat shelves above the window, the cat enclosure and the cat shelves along the corridor. It allows for easy access as it gets the cats from one place to another. Since the height of the cat walk is in a much higher place, it would not affect the owner’s lifestyle. Another important point to take note would be the location of a litter box.A litter box should be placed in an open area that allows a cat visual warning time to watch for potential danger. If the other boxes are located in cramped areas or corners, are in noisy places, or they don’t allow for adequate escape potential, they may not provide the safety a cat need. (“Q & A with Cat Expert Pam Johnson-Bennett | ARM & HAMMER™ Cat Litter”, n.d.)

Cats’ Perspectives

These images projects the perspective that the cat view. Standing in their shoes, it is easier to understand the way they move around. to see whether is it fluent, has all spaces been covered so that cat could live at another part of the house.