According to the Cat Fanciers' Association, a cattery requires such basics as 30 cubic feet of cage space for each cat, storage cabinets, a grooming table, kitten play area, waste storage site, food preparation corner and an indoor or outdoor exercise run. Depending on the number of cats, you do not need a lot of space. A well-planned cattery can easily fit into the average-sized bedroom.
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Things you need
- Measuring tape
- Vent fans
- Light fixtures
- Litter boxes
- Grooming table
- Grooming supplies
- Cleaning supplies
- Storage cabinets
- Cat trees
- Cat bowls
Assess your proposed cattery room for space (length, width and height), light, temperature, air flow and ease of daily maintenance, as well as its relationship to the rest of your house. The room should be isolated from common living areas. A windowed sun porch that can be heated in winter is ideal. You also can use a bedroom or a basement if moisture is not an issue.
Measure the room in relationship to 30 cubic feet of cage size for each cat, plus public play areas, storage space for food and supplies, a grooming table, waste storage and an isolation spot. For example: In a 12 foot x 12 foot room with a seven foot high ceiling, you can have four cage stacks, each comprised of two "open" cages at a measurement of 2-1/2 feet deep by 4 feet wide by 3 feet high for each cage. The four stacks take up a total of 40 square feet. This is enough room for five breeding females, one stud male (in his own cage) and several kittens. There is 100 square feet available for the play and grooming areas. A closet can be utilised as storage space.
Make sure your cattery room has plenty of ventilation and fresh air. Open, screened windows allow outdoor air to aerate the room, which builds up the cats' natural resistance to airborne germs and viruses. Alternately, you may use vent fans to expel depleted air and draw in fresh, oxygenated air warmed or cooled by the house ventilation system. A vent fan can be as simple as an enclosed window fan to the more complex vent fans used in bathrooms and kitchens.
Provide plenty of natural or artificial light in the cattery. If you plan your cattery for the basement, locate it under a window, preferably to catch morning or early afternoon sunlight, which has a revitalising effect on the cats. Avoid dark corners because ringworm, like germs and fungi, breeds in darkness. If you decide to use a bedroom, your cattery will most likely still need extra lighting. A ceiling-mounted fixture with fluorescent daylight bulbs is the best because the colour simulates sunlight.
Arrange the cages along two opposite walls about eight feet apart to prevent the spread of airborne diseases. Set the cages on risers for easier cleaning or at a height of 16" to 20" for convenient storage of cat food and other essentials. Provide one litter box per cat. Place stabilised cat trees or shelves in the cages for climbing and hiding. Supply toys such as plush squeaky animals and plastic balls with bells. Position the grooming station---a kitchen counter unit found at home improvement stores is suitable---in a corner with good lighting.
Tips and warnings
- Keep the design simple and uncluttered. Create as much closed storage space as possible.
- Buy bigger vent fans with higher cubic feet per minute (cfm) revolutions. They last longer than cheaper fans and do a better job at air circulation.
- Make sure all electrical sockets in the cattery are covered with kid-proof caps when they are not in use.
- Provide a wall-mounted light for cats living on the lower level of a cage stack. One simple way to do it is to use an undercabinet fixture that mounts with double-sided tape.
- If your proposed cattery room is not large enough for all required areas, you can use other rooms such as a laundry room or kitchen for food preparation, grooming and litter pan washing.
- Do not use carpet on the floor. It is impossible to disinfect, eliminating odours is extremely difficult and it is a refuge for fleas.
- If you have linoleum floors, be aware that this type of flooring is porous, which means it holds urine odours no matter how many times it is cleaned.
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