Have you ever had something come into your house that your cat was inexplicably afraid of? Maybe it was a new recliner or a really cool lamp with a shade that somehow alarmed your kitty.
This happened recently at our house with something that was supposed to be fun. The people at Automated Pet Care Products offered to let us review the Kitty Play Zone. The problem came up nearly immediately, because Newton was afraid of the box.
You can tell he’s frightened in this photo because his hindquarters are lowered and he’s ready to spring away and run from the thing he is afraid of.
Here’s what the box looked like to humans:
Assembly of the Kitty Play Zone is easy. With the exception of the bowls, the whole thing is made of cardboard, and it goes together easily. The hardest part of assembly was attaching the adorable shutters to the windows. I didn’t figure out at first that you needed to bend the tab before trying to insert it into the bottom slot, so two of my shutters ended up a little bent before I realized that a ten-year-old would have figured that part out.
Here, he’s showing you one of the things that makes it so sturdy: the whole base is a solid piece of cardboard, and it wraps around the outer walls. If you need to pick the Kitty Play Zone up and move it to another room (I move it around weekly), it’s easy to do, and it feels sturdy. I’m sure it is also important structurally when a cat is playing in the loft area.
He naps up there, plays up there…he would even eat up there, but I decided not to feed him in the Kitty Play Zone despite it having a dedicated spot for eating and included bowls — as well as a large flap that opens so you can access the food. We only eat canned food around here, and with messy eaters who like to drag the canned food out of the bowl, we didn’t want messes we couldn’t clean up on the cardboard. Pierre doesn’t mind. He thinks that the eating area is actually a special place to drop his favorite mouse toy.
Pierre: Did someone say mouse toy?
Pierre also likes to lurk upstairs and wait for a wand toy to swing past.
Did you notice who was lurking behind the Kitty Play Zone in the photo? It’s Newton!
After a month of ignoring Newton’s fear of the Kitty Play Zone and pretending it was just another piece of the furniture, he finally got curious about it. Not quite curious enough to climb upstairs when I tossed in a treat. He outsmarted that.
Finally, after everyone else treated the kitty play zone like it was fun for weeks on end, Newton decided that maybe it would be fun to explore, too.
Pierre: I told you, Newt!
When a cat becomes afraid of something in the environment, you can’t force him to change his mind. Forcing a cat into something that scares him is only going to frighten him further. Give him time — as much time as he needs — to approach whatever it is on his own terms. Newton now thinks that the kitty play zone is fun because it was his idea to approach it again.
Disclaimer: We received the Kitty Play Zone at no charge from Automated Pet Care Products. Receiving free product did not influence our opinion about it; all opinions expressed on this site are our own.