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DIY cat hammock

I was randomly surfing cat-related things on the internet one day, and ran across cat hammocks. They are basically squares of fabric, hung by straps from their four corners, in a cage or under a chair to make a sort of hanging pouch. Well, the amorphous-slumping aspect of a hammock seemed like a perfect match for sleeping feline anatomy. But our cat doesn’t have a cage, our chairs have too many rungs, and our cat sometimes likes to spread out while sleeping.

We do, however, have a coffee table that I suspected would be absolutely perfect to support a cat hammock. There are some bolts on the underside that I figured I could attach a hammock to. (How did I already know there were exposed bolts? Because my son went through a phase around age 4 of crawling under the coffee table and unscrewing them. I never did learn why this was so appealing.)

So I found a spare piece of denim and some rope, and bought a 1″ diameter dowel. I cut the dowel into 2 pieces, each the length of the outside width of the coffee table legs. I cut the denim several inches longer than the coffee table, and about the same width as the coffee table. I sewed a narrow hem on each long edge of the denim. Then I folded over about 4-5 inches at each short end of the denim and sewed across to make a tube at each end that I could slide a dowel through.

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Then I used rope to tie the dowels to the coffee table, using bowline knots around the dowels. I was able to use one continuous piece of rope for each end, threading it through the hidden bolts under the table. If your coffee table had less exposed hardware, you could use lag eye bolts screwed into the inside of the frame. By having the dowels on the outside rather than the inside of the legs, it keeps the hammock from swaying side-to-side as the cat climbs in.

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And then we put a commercial cat mat on top, for extra warm snuggly niceness.

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Ta-da: cat hammock!

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It works well with all sorts of cat positions.

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Please note: as built, this was plenty strong enough for a single 11-pound cat. If you have multiple cats each weighing 25+ pounds, the way our neighbors do, you might need something a little stronger than mid-weight denim.

Although as built, it is strong enough to sleep two, even if one is human, as long as the human keeps her body on the floor.

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Since our cat not only has a walnut-sized brain, but is also elderly, we had this hammock set up in the living room for a few months before he finally figured out he was meant to curl up and sleep in it. But once he figured it out, he’s been absolutely loving it. He spends at least 75% of his sleeping time in it. When he’s gotten so over-tired that he can’t settle down, we just prod him into his hammock, and he usually curls up and relaxes. And he loves being able to snooze with us around him in the living room, but in a safe space where he won’t get stepped on and doesn’t have lights shining in his eyes.

Over time, the denim has stretched a little. So I’ve shortened the ropes a bit, and took a 1/2″ tuck the entire width of the hammock to compensate. In general, he’s only got about 1/2″ clearance from the ground at his lowest point, but that’s enough to give him all the slumpy flexibility he wants. The ropes are easily slid off the dowels and the entire contraption vacuumed, when the fur levels get overwhelming.

We haven’t heard anything from M since we said good-bye after moving him down to college on Tuesday. But E happened to chat with the neighbor kid yesterday after his first day of school. So at least we know 7th grade is going great.

And we’re assuming things are going equally well with M, in part because we haven’t heard from him. Move-in went much more smoothly than expected. Roommates were nice and dorm room was the largest we’ve ever seen. M managed to find his way around the campus/neighborhood well enough to take care of a couple different tasks by himself. And after we said good-bye, we saw him at the welcome session comfortably chatting with a group of students that included his two roommates and several other transfer students. Such a wonderful difference to see how confident he is this time around, despite the unfamiliar setting, compared to last year’s weepy good-bye and anxious texts later that evening!

Going into M’s first year of college, he had the usual freshmen angst about contacting his roommate after getting the housing assignment. What should he write, how to write it, not to seem too eager, not to seem too weird, etc. But with some parental nudges, he did eventually manage to communicate well enough to agree that M would bring a microwave for their dorm room, while the roommate could bring a minifridge.

So we bought him a microwave and drove it out to college with all his other stuff. He hauled it up 2 flights of stairs. He used it occasionally throughout the year. We packed it back up in May, he hauled it down 2 flights of stairs, we drove home, and he hauled the microwave into his bedroom, where it’s been sitting on the floor ever since.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. He got his sophomore housing assignment, and it’s essentially a studio apartment shared with 2 other guys. Their kitchen nook should have a sink, stove, and fridge, but anything else is presumably up to them. A few days later, we had the following conversation:

M: “I was Facebook messaging with my roommates.” (No angst this time around, thank goodness.)

Me: “Good! Did the topic of a microwave come up?”

M: “Yeah. Do we have a microwave I can bring?”

But it is beyond wonderful and amazing to see so many of our legislators occupying Congress, expressing how unacceptable the current level of gun violence in our country is,  and the desperate need for more gun control. Maybe, just maybe, something good and something productive can finally come out of Congress, for the first time in years. 

And seeing them start to hold up papers with names of victims was especially poignant. Because there were plenty of papers to pass around, and every single paper had a different name…

M: If a burner is making a hissing noise could that be a gas leak? 

Me: No, because we have an electric stove.

Office decor 

A dead potted plant is pretty pathetic. 

A foam rhinoceros-shaped stress toy is also not terribly appealing. 

But when you combine them, suddenly you get a desert-oasis-under-the-palm-trees scene that is actually rather entertaining. 

   

Or maybe someone just wanted to condense random stuff on an unassigned desk.  But I like to think there was an artistic impulse behind it – perhaps inspired by diorama assignments in elementary school. 

Politicians sent out thoughts and prayers after Sandy Hook. Politicians sent out thoughts and prayers after Aurora Colorado. Politicians sent out thoughts and prayers after Charleston SC.  

SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.  THEY’RE NOT STOPPING THESE MASS KILLINGS. 

You weren’t elected to be clergy. You were elected to be legislators. Go turn down NRA money and implement meaningful gun control. 

And then you won’t have to spend as much time praying for gay Latinos, or Batman fans, or African-American churchgoers, or young children, or all the people who love and mourn them.