Cats and Ladders anyone?

Cats and Ladders anyone?

29th September 2014

While doing some online research on health and safety issues, I ran a search using the word “ladder” as the search terms and came across something very curious – Cat Ladders.  I had no idea what a cat ladder is but I am aware that cats are everywhere on the internet.  It seems that the whole world wide web is dominated by images of cats, photos of cats, videos of cats and a frightening number of “crazy cat ladies”.  Aliens visiting this planet for the first time and accessing the internet could be forgiven for thinking that cats rule the world.  So, back to the cat ladder – what is it and what does it do?

Well, according to construction industry websites, a cat ladder is a board with a series of cross pieces nailed to it that is used to provide footing on steep surfaces like a sloped roof.  That makes sense, right?  Well, I then came across some YouTube videos showing how to build a cat ladder and decided to have a look at that.  The video gave instructions for building a ladder from the ground to a balcony and the “ladder” was installed to let the owner of the apartment’s cat get in and out easily. 

So, a cat ladder provides easy access for cats who live in high rise apartments or blocks of flats.  Well, that’s just part of the story.  Because this involves cats, a cat ladder means so much more than just a method of ingress and egress.  People are also building these cat ladders to provide a cat with an exercise routine, an obstacle course, if you will that will keep the cat entertained for hours. 

In fact, there is a guy in Sweden, Jimmy Robertson, who blogs about cat ladders after discovering that there were a lot of these installations in his neighbourhood.  When this guy was unemployed a few years ago, he began wandering round the neighbourhood with his camera, taking photos of all the cat ladders and posting them to his blog.  This was just the start.  His blog has become extremely popular the world over and people from every corner of the planet send in pictures of their own cat ladders or cat ladders that they have seen and admired.

Apparently cat ladders come in all sorts of shapes and designs, depending on the cat owner’s home.  Robertson revealed that most of the photos that come in are from Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.

Cat ladders actually make sense when you think about it – if you live a few stories up and have a cat, then you need a way for the cat to go in and out of the flat.  Because cats are such good climbers and have notoriously good balancing skills, a narrow ladder is all that’s needed to provide your cat with unlimited access to the outside world.  Beware though, Robertson has heard of a cat that has fallen from the ladder (and his blog provides a link to the video footage).

So, what about Jimmy Robertson’s own cat ladder – has he managed to build something spectacular for his feline after getting photos of weird and wonderful ladders from around the world.  Er, no – Jimmy Robertson doesn’t own a cat himself as he’s allergic to them!