To say our animals are spoiled would probably be the biggest understatement of 2013…or possibly of the entirety of the history of the universe. They all get plenty of love and affection, copious amounts of treats, and a nice big bed to sleep in-no matter how uncomfortable a position we have to sleep in to accommodate them.
Well, now our cats have yet another item to brag about to the squirrels they taunt outside the living room windows: their very own room. Okay, so it’s not really a room, it’s a closet, but I think that’s probably more than the squirrels have anyway. When we first looked at this house (almost a year ago!), one of the first things I noticed was the abundance of closets downstairs. Who doesn’t love storage space, right? The nice thing about having so many closets is that we were able to sacrifice one for dedicated cat space.
The first thing we did in here was install a cat door and push the litter box in. I cannot tell you how nice it is to not have to share my bathroom or laundry room with cats which is what we’ve done in the past. At our apartment, the litter box stayed in the guest bathroom but if we had people staying with us, it would have to be moved into our bedroom and then back again. At the rental house, our messy little hellions always covered the laundry room floor with litter which was never fun to step on. Having a dedicated space for them might possibly be one of my favorite features of our house – spoken like a true cat lady.
Anyway, getting back to the real point of this post, the second thing we did was rip out the carpet. Y’all, this closet smelled rank. We’re pretty sure the water heater used to live in this closet and that it leaked at some point so one day when we couldn’t take it anymore, Kyle ripped out the carpet and tossed it in the garbage (technically he tossed it in our garage and it sat there for weeks, but I digress). We had a box of leftover tile that the previous owner’s stowed away in another closet, so Kyle put them down temporarily (no mortar, no grout, just laid them loose to have some kind of flooring) and tossed a rug on top.
Fast forward 8 months, and I decided to finally do something about this sad little space. Mostly, it was because I was tired of staring at the eye sore of a cat tower living in our entry and wanted to somehow put it in the closet and I figured if I was going to do that, I may as well do what I could to make it a comfortable place for them to hang out.
So, one late Sunday afternoon, I decided to tackle this project while Kyle worked on our new table (Eeeeek can’t wait to show it off! Still have some staining to do but soon, I promise). Well, color me surprised, when I took out the rug and tile and found that while the carpet had been removed, the carpet pad was still there…silly husband. I thought that once I got this out and let the closet air a bit, the smell would start to go away.
Yeah, no. As soon as the carpet pad was up, I discovered a really disgusting subfloor. We looked into our options and decided the best thing to do was to prime over the subfloor, cover it with plastic, and then lay new plywood (of which we had just barely enough already sitting in our garage) on top of that for the new flooring. You guys, this closet still has an awful smell (and not a “two-cats-use-this-room-as-their-bathroom smell”). I’m thinking eventually I may go crazy enough to just rip everything out start from the studs and joists but by the time I realized the smell wasn’t going away, I was already too far in.
This post is getting crazy long so I’ll just give a quick overview of what I did:
1) Laid peel and stick tile flooring. This was super easy – I just found the center of the closet and started laying the tile there. These were easy to score and break when the situation called for it. Eventually, this closet will have hardwood flooring but that won’t be for at least a year and this box of tile was $20 so we figured it was worth it to have something other than raw plywood. I wasn’t particular with the edges since I knew we would be installing quarter round and the scratching wall.
2) Scratching wall. I ordered a sisal rug off Amazon for $35 (Available here, if you’re interested). I used an entire roll of velcro that I picked up at Home Depot (or Lowe’s maybe?) to adhere it to the wall. It’s been almost a month and so far so good. We’ll probably rub some catnip into the rug for extra attractiveness.
3) Climbing shelves. The three carpeted shelves were part of the cat tower I mentioned earlier. I just disassembled the tower (which was a pain and a half – there must have been at least 100 staples) and with a lot of difficulty, we secured them to the wall using brackets. Spoiler alert: we couldn’t find any studs so dry wall anchors were our saving grace here.
4) Storage/organization. The storage bins on the top shelf are from Target and are used to house the food, treats, and miscellaneous cat supplies respectively. The rest of the shelves that were originally in the closet are currently living in our garage. Now all we need to do is buy a bag holder (we used to have one and it was super convenient) and either buy or build a holder for the litter scoop.
5) Lighting. I (with the help of Kyle) removed the old exposed bulb and exterior box, and installed a new light fixture. I wanted to get rid of the ugly bulb but didn’t want to spend a lot of money. This guy was less than $20 from Home Depot. There’s no switch, and it was a little more work than I thought it was worth to wire one, so we just installed a remote (just like we did with the dining room light). This was the first time I’ve ever done anything electrical and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be but there were some frustrations.
And just for good measure, here’s a before and after, complete with MS paint edited litter box. It was clean but I still felt like it would be better to cut it out for good measure.
I’d say when all was said and done, this was definitely worth the <$100 we spent to make it happen.