There are a dozen or so commodities in our household that are so wonderful I can't imagine any substitutions. Neutrogena soap, for instance. Apple computers. Yorkshire Gold tea. Catman cat furniture.
I haven't written about the cat trees for a while, and it's because there's a tendency to take them for granted. These are not the flimsy cardboard trees carpeted in shag you find at the pet supermart (and see at the dump). These are cat trees made of solid lumber and plywood, covered in tough sisal and industrial-strength sheared wall-to-wall. They hold up against herds of leaping, scratching, shedding cats, and withstand a yearly cleaning with carpet cleaner. We have three that are at least 12 years old.
Two of them were custom orders with plain wood (instead of the usual carpeted) bases. That's because my old cat Bosco (now long gone) had been trained by a previous owner to use carpet scraps as a litter box. He saw a carpet, and he went. I painted the plywood bases with clear polyurethane and those trees were pretty much safe.
Post-Bosco, we acquired a fourth Catman tree, one of the Townhouse line (a model we nicknamed "The Alien" for obvious reasons). It's Sheba's favorite perch, with a view of the neighborhood, the Sound, and Zorg's computer screen when he's playing World of Warcraft. But recently, our elderly cat, Betaille, has decided this is where she wants to pee. Despite our vigilence about keeping the door to the room closed, Betaille's gotten past us frequently enough that the carpeted base of The Alien is now beyond cleaning or deodorizing.
So today I hauled it out on the front porch and began taking it apart, hoping to salvage the top portion and affix it to some alternate base that would have less appeal for Betaille.
I discovered more long screws and heavy nails (countersunk!) in that cat tree than in our entire front porch. Even after removing all of the diagonal braces, it's impossible to get at the countersunk nails that hold the base to the main pole. So tomorrow I'll be sawing the sisal-wrapped pole itself.
After visiting the Catman Furniture site and seeing that The Alien sells for $316, I am certainly inspired to salvage that top portion!