Cat proofing -- is my design sound?
In about a month I'm moving in with a couple who owns two young cats. I've never owned cats and never had much experience with them, so I'm hoping that the design I've developed is sound.
The 2x4 C&C is going to be elevated so that it sits about three feet off the ground. I'm going to use these shelves, cut to the length of the cage, for the lid.
I intend to zip tie the back one on, and it will be non-removable. The front one I want to be hinged so I'll zip tie it to the back one, and then to keep it closed I was thinking about using binder clips, or those velcro things like you see on computer a/c adapters. I'd prefer the latter but I'm not sure how adept cats are at removing velcro. What I'm not sure of, is whether or not I need to support the shelf so that it doesn't sag tremendously in the middle if a cat decides to sleep there. I could probably run a piece of wood all the way across to help with support, or add a PVC pipe in the middle of the cage if I need to. But, if I could do without it, I think the cage would look a lot better without the wood or support.
To be clear it's more important to me that the cage be safe obviously, but I like that my cage right now is something that guests look at and think that it's a good solution for giving guinea pigs the space they need. What I don't want people thinking when they see my cage is, "wow, look at that ugly thing... I think we'll stick with the store bought cage."
For the sides of the cage, do I need to worry about kitty hands getting in? I have extra grids, so I could double them up around the outside, staggered, to keep the holes from being big enough for kitty paws, but a lot of the pictures I saw in the animal proofing gallery didn't have any protection like that on the sides. I've never met these cats so I don't know their temperament, so I want to be safe just in case. At the same time, if kitty paws are not a huge issue, I would like to keep my grids single spaced so that I can add a loft eventually.
Any advice from cat owners would be greatly appreciated. I hope I'm moving in the right direction with this!
Re: Cat proofing -- is my design sound?
I can't speak for the cat behavior, but I don't think you'll need any reinforcement for the lids. That's what I use for my cage, which is six feet long, and it doesn't sag. It's also certainly strong enough to hold up several cats, and too heavy for them to lift and squeeze under.
If you do need support, you can get a length of 1x2 and ziptie it to the grids across the middle. It won't be very noticeable at all, and will be easier to deal with than a support pole of PVC, which will have to be taken out every time you clean the cage.