Most readers of this blog will have met Boris (the ginger one) and Arwen. Possibly even in person at Lawn Road or during one of our summer concerts here in the garden in Highgate.
Despite the fact that all of their lives had been spent at Lawn Road, they were both very tolerant of the move up here to Highgate and settled in well. And when lockdown came the three of us were happy to snuggle up round my computer –
But at the beginning of December we moved from the lower half of the house, where eventually I hope to live, to the first and second floors, so that work can be done on my flat below. As suggested in all the manuals, I kept them in for a couple of weeks so that they could get used to the new environment and they obligingly made use of a litter tray – although neither they nor I were up for this as a long term solution. But how do you get two cats out from a first floor which is a good 7 metres /20 feet from the garden below – the only other exit being via the front door which gives on to a main road and instant death?
Sonja, my cousin’s wife, sent me this wonderfully elegant solution from her sister in Switzerland – but Alex, my builder, reckoned that it would cost around £5,000 to have made which seemed excessive for six months!
First he chose a window at the bottom of the stairs just inside the front door – already reducing the drop to about 4 metres –
And then…. he ran a plank from the platform down to ground and so into the garden. The only trouble was that the plank as it stood was really slippery. However, the offcuts of matting may have done nothing for its looks, but certainly improved its usability.
A quick five minutes round the garden to check out that nothing had changed and he was back up and in.
Arwen – ever the wimp – was an entirely different matter. Physically pushed through the cat flap he just sat on the platform or forced his way back in knocking off any of the obstacles I had put in front of it to stop him.
It finally took three of us – one to force him through the catflap and keep it closed so that he could not get back, one behind him to whoosh him off the platform onto the ramp and me at the bottom of the ramp to encourage him down! The first descent was a bit of a scramble and the return journey somewhat hesitant – but he did not bolt straight back in. In fact I finally got fed up with waiting for him.
But having done it once, it was a doddle – and the look I got at the end definitely suggested that I had been making a lot of fuss over nothing.
Last night was the first night that I had risked it and left the litter tray covered and out of use – and how happy was I to hear a double flap from the cat flap this morning and the patter of eight paws coming up the stairs.