In Our Homeschool This Week – The Cat Condo Project

A few weeks ago, Z adopted a new kitten. A very sweet, playful, cuddle bug of a kitten, named Robert aka Robbie.

Z's new kitten, Robert

And as part of the deal, Z really wanted to get Robbie a Cat Condo. You know one of those carpeted towers for cats to climb, play, and scratch on. The ones that cost $80 to $170 plus at Petsmart.

Well, a cat condo is not really a line item on my family budget, and I’m not willing to spend that much out of my grocery budget. So I proposed that we use our scrap wood to build Robbie a cat condo.

So, for the last few weeks Z has been playing around with cat condo ideas. He drew several designs, and then decided to go with a simple design for the first one and then build more than one. After all, if Robbie is going to get one, then Little E’s cat Ginger needs one too. :)

So imagine if you will two, two-drawer file cabinets next to each other. That’s about the size of Z’s design.

Z and I worked together to draw the design, where the holes would go, and then broke it down into a set of plans, showing each board needed, where each hole was needed, and a materials list.

And on Labor Day, Greg, Z, and I set out to salvage and cut the boards. Z and I did the measuring and drew all the lines.

Greg did the cutting, with Z’s help holding the boards.

Z had never drawn circles with a compass before, so he learned all about setting the radius to get the diameter he wanted, and working with a compass. After 7 circles, he had it down!

And there was a little math to figure out to make sure we put the circles in the right place. Most of it he was able to do in his head, but there’s at least one board with a math problem on it.

And there was  a bit of an issue with cutting out the circles. Our skill saw isn’t working, so Greg used the circle cutting attachment for his Rotozip saw. It was slick, but our wood was thick particle board. For a while we were trying to determine if that was sawdust we were seeing, or smoke. Turned out it was both.

Z came over and explained to me his theory on why it was smoking, complete with an accurate description of how friction and heat causes fire. Apparently, he says, you can pick up a lot watching the survival show, Man Woman Wild. :)

Anyway, all the boards for Robbie’s cat condo are now cut out. Now it’s time to find some carpet remnants or scraps, and put the thing together. In the meantime, I call that a good day of hands-on learning :)

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2 Responses to In Our Homeschool This Week – The Cat Condo Project

  1. Kara says:

    We are also making a cat tree right now! We didn’t make our own design though, we got it online. Nice work! We are also in the carpet hunting phase. If I don’t find any free carpet on craigslist, we’re going to start hitting the carpet stores begging for scraps. I’m interested to hear where you find yours.

  2. Arisekartaji says:

    If, by secular, you mean not rieogilus, you should still check out Quaker schools if you have any where you live. They are strongly grounded in values (simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, stewardship of the earth, and service) but they are not rieogilus in the traditional sense. At the Quaker school my children attend, there are large numbers of Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, and Christian students (only 4% are actually Quaker). Plus, the education is progressive and inquiry-based. A few years ago, we were FULLY committed to public education, had some negative experiences we couldn’t ignore, and had to find an alternative. We were totally not interested in a rieogilus education but we checked out the Friends schools b/c they have such a strong reputation for academics and the arts. We have been thrilled for the past 9 years! Wherever your child lands in school, I hope it turns out to be a wonderful experience for all!!!

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