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amirahpaul

Pastels, Wood & Cats: A Soothing 3-Room Flat

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Specially for all the cat lovers out there -- this post will be on cat-friendly features we tried to build into our home.
1. Cat flap
Nuri loves going in and out, indecisive as she is. We got a cat flap from All Breed Pets (44 Jalan Merah Saga), which seems to have the widest range of cat flaps in Singapore. It has at least 5-6 models of different sizes, compared to about 1-2 in other shops. Ours cost $50 and allows 4 way access, meaning you can configure so it allows the cat to go both in and out, or only in or only out. Our ID had no problem installing it into the standard door, just a matter of cutting a hole.
2. Window grilles, main gate
ID came up with a design we were super happy with and has been working great.

As all cat lovers out there know, cats are curious and enjoy gazing out of windows. Some cats live in homes without grilles but it is dangerous as they can get distracted by birds or scared by sounds and jump out the window. I have 2 friends with cats who passed away this way. So to keep Nuri safe, we opted for grilles. We decided to go for normal type of aluminium grilles. There are also invisible grilles which you can get from Legate but they are much pricier, and we can't have them anyway because ours is corridor unit and invisible grilles are not suitable for corridor use as they can be cut through. Some homes use wire mesh to supplement their wide grilles. However, these are terrifically hard to maintain, and block out much of the nice views.

The grilles issue gave us a headache. The starting point is our grilles needed to be only 5cm apart as most average cats can go through holes which are larger than 5cm (depends on the size of the cat). We wanted as much natural light as possible, thus very dense grilles and wire meshes are out. Eventually, our ID Daniel figured out a plan which all of us immediately liked.

There are 2 parts to how it works:

1. We use sliding windows. Each window set consists of 4 window panels and grilles, with 2 tracks for the windows to slide on. Thus at any point in time, only there is at most 2 panels’ worth of open windows. Since the other 2 windows will be shut, there’s no need for grilles there.

2. We have 4 panels’ worth of grilles, but only two window panels that need to be grilled. Thus, one panel of grilles can be put in front of another, to form 2 pairs of overlapping grilles. Daniel helped us customize the grille spacing to 10cm such that when the grilles overlap, the maximum space between them is 5cm which is too small for a full-grown cat to squeeze through.

Pictures explain this better.
Window grilles before overlapping (position if windows are closed):
gallery_58380_224_183188.jpg
Window grilles after overlapping (overlapping grilles cover the open window pane):
gallery_58380_224_153201.jpg
We opted for horizontal grilles as they look best to us, but it can also be done vertically, diagonally, or in little squares. We chose 5cm because Nuri's head is around 5cm -- and once a cat can squeeze it's head through a hole it can wriggle such that it's body can go through. If you're estimating for your own cat, it is better to err toward caution because a cat’s fur makes it look larger than it really is.

Also, if your windows are along the corridor, it’s not safe to have sliding grilles. They have to be fixed as they can be slid from outside and compromise security. So for our corridor window, we didn’t use the overlapping grille method. We had two middle panel grilles of 5cm spacing and the two side panels of 10cm spacing.

3. Main gate

Same as windows, the max spacing had to be 5cm apart. We loved this retro design grille so our ID helped to custom make it at an affordable rate. Each of the bars had to be bent by hand because it couldn't be machine cut. Gives it a slightly uneven look but we don't mind. A mistake we made was that we didn't cut a hole near the lock area so we can stick our hand in to lock the gate. We thought Nuri might leap out but she has never attempted to climb the gate even though she loves climbing stuff so next time we would cut a hole, easier to use the lock.

4.Hiding places
We made sure she has some hiding spots like behind a big chest and above the fridge because when the delivery men and plumbers and electricians come in, she needs somewhere to feel safe.
5. Cat moving day
We moved Nuri after all the main furniture had been moved in, so she would not have to meet so many movers and risk getting hurt. When Nuri went to the new home it was unfamiliar and strange. We transported her in the evening. To help her feel safe we let her out of the cage in the study room with the lights turned off. When it is dark, cats will come out because they think they have cover of the night. We set up some hiding spots by draping a large cloth over the small sofa so she could hide underneath till she was used to it. At first she stayed in that room for many hours. Within about 1-2 days she was perfectly fine.

6. Cats chillout spots

Cats like having high places to perch on to watch the world go by.

We tried to include several such spots, particular by the windows. The idea is to have a surface that is the same height as the base of the window so the cat can lie down and rest on its belly and still be able to look out the window.

Most cats can jump high, but we figured Nuri might prefer the option to use ‘steps’ on lazy days. Thus our living window perch, an Ikea wall-mounted cabinet, is placed immediately next to a bench. When Nuri isn’t using that as a step to her favourite lounging spot, we use the bench to wear our shoes.

gallery_58380_224_515212.jpg

7. Cat & sofas

Nuri destroyed the faux leather sofa in my old home so we had to choose another option for sofa.

We did some research and found micro-fiber / micro-suede to be a material pretty resistant to cat scratching. It is very smooth and in general, cats seem to prefer sharpening their claws on coarse surfaces. Micro-suede is smooth, yet comfortable. We have also found it easy to maintain – a simple vacuum rids it of fur.

We chose a wooden sofa frame from Second Charm because the wood is very smooth and cats won't scratch very smooth wood.

gallery_58380_224_196694.jpg

The choices paid off -- Nuri hasn't scratched the sofa once.

Cat-proof materials work effectively when cats are given attractive alternatives for scratching. Do ensure there is at least one cat-scratching mat/post in an accessible area.

8. Cats & carpets

It’s tough to never have your cat scratch the carpet. It’s however possible to make such occasions very rare. We don’t have a perfect solution. The best we’ve found so far is to place a great alternative very near the carpet like a scratching mat. And of course to patiently train Nuri not to scratch the carpet by scolding her and carrying her to the scratching mat if she does scratch the carpet.

Edited by amirahpaul
 
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Thanks amirahpaul for the details re the sofa and window grille. We also have sliding windows and since I've lived with casement windows for a long time, I forgot that with sliding windows, some panels will remain closed at any point. Will share with my hubby the idea about the varying grills, cos it was getting too technical for me :wacko:

We were just thinking to re-upholster my sofa since Muffy and Coco will scratch them again anyway but they've been with me for almost 5 years now so you'd think they'd have learnt by now! So still need to get fabric with minimal scratching possibilities.

 

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most welcome, mellenur =)

it can be pretty stressful worrying about the sofa getting scratched! We've tried leather and faux leather -- to no avail. But micro-fiber works great so far... I guess it helps that our cat really likes our 2 official scratching items, i.e. both mats.

as for the windows, we'd be happy to send you the grille measurements if needed... just let us know =)

 

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Hi Dreamlove, PMed you!

If you adopt a kitten, they are soo cute and from young you can teach it many things. They have their own personalities.

 
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Hi retchlow, you have a gorgeous cat! Is he/she a Siamese? Wonderful that she can live in harmony with your dogs =)

Does your cat often scratch your sofa?

 

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don't know what breed she is as she was a stray. but i suppose she's cross siamese. super affectionate cat.

ya she scratches my bed & sofa very often, despite having 3 scratch posts in the house.

540751_10151565583733078_1645179640_n.jp

 

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don't know what breed she is as she was a stray. but i suppose she's cross siamese. super affectionate cat.

ya she scratches my bed & sofa very often, despite having 3 scratch posts in the house.

540751_10151565583733078_1645179640_n.jp

so cute.. is that her tongue sticking out. haha.. I love cats.

 

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Oops! Think my mailbox full liao.. need to do spring-cleaning.. :P

Got ur message! Really qiao! Welcome bro! :D

Edited by jus4fun
 

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don't know what breed she is as she was a stray. but i suppose she's cross siamese. super affectionate cat.

ya she scratches my bed & sofa very often, despite having 3 scratch posts in the house.

540751_10151565583733078_1645179640_n.jp

She is beautiful and that is a super farnie photo... so cute and huggable!

 

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Study Room

Some pictures of our study room.

Chose a more vibrant wall colour. The right side of the pictures are bookshelves which are outside the frame.

Got a 2m table and a 1.8m table to create a L-shaped table. Restored old rattan 2-seater and lacquered it a dark brown. Posters from society6.com.

Before:

gallery_58380_224_177903.jpg

After:

gallery_58380_224_416713.jpg

Parquet floor from Hau Hau Parquet:

gallery_58380_224_12027.jpg

Edited by amirahpaul
 

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One of the most draining aspects of renovation is running all over the island to search for suitable items. We were wonderfully helped in this by many recommendations from renotalkers. Here's our chance to add to the collective store of wisdom.

We've compiled a list of shops we would heartily recommend, and those we wish to caution others against. Like several others, we were disturbed to encounter companies that treat customers awfully, knowing they are very likely to get away with it. There's just too little ordinary folks like us can do to hold them accountable. On our own, that is. But when we join with many others, the critical mass might get rogue companies to be more responsible. Likewise, excellent service deserves to be better known.

Our list is quite long, so we'll post in parts...

*Recommended*

(1) Second Charm

We started our furniture hunt in this shop. The place is like a treasure trove, helmed by the magisterial Sharifah and her excellent assistants. We chanced upon a newly brought-in, but pre-restored sofa set. The curves were very charming, although the wood tone was dull and the age clearly showed. Apparently this was a mid-century piece by Scandinavian company Diethelm.

And after some intense discussion and a bit of negotiation, we had purchased our very first furniture items. A 3-seater and an armchair from that set. But we had to wait several weeks while they were restored. The result pleased us – here they are.

gallery_58380_224_251375.jpg

Some weeks later, we also bought a custom-made school bench. We foresee visiting Second Charm many times in the future.

We would strongly recommend Second Charm to others. Sharifah is a straightforward and fair person (although super busy). We also interacted much with Hasli who is knowledgeable about wood furniture and an incredibly nice person.

Incidentally, our sofa was ready before we could move in – we found ourselves in a bit of a fix. But Sharifah kindly allowed us to collect the furniture only when we’re ready some weeks later, although the sofa took up precious space in her crowded store. This is solid customer service.

www.secondcharm.net

(2) Kia Meng Trading

We were looking to custom make cushions for our sofa, and revarnish our many-decades-old rattan 2-seater (from orange-brown to dark brown). This company is a family business and we liaised with JJ, who seems to be the owner’s son. He was very easy to talk to, and genuinely helpful – happy to put up with our prolonged search for the right colour and fabric at his shop.

In the end, he delivered exactly as agreed and we’re happy with the outcome.

http://www.kmtrading.com.sg

(3) Fotohi Carpet Gallery

Massive range of carpets at their shop in Tanjong Katong Complex #03-38. From ultra costly hand-sewn Persians, to more affordable/ modern Belgian machine-made ones. We spent more than an hour poring through dozens upon dozens of carpets, with a very patient salesperson guiding us through the many options. He was passionate and knowledgeable and happily provided an in depth tutorial on carpets (the handmade ones are passed down generations and each are unique), even though he knew we were picking one of the cheaper machine made ones. Our choice is in the photo above.

Edited by amirahpaul
 

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