Square Paws designs custom cat spaces and cat furniture for both commercial spaces and residences. Our ultra-modern cat towers range from stylish to the truly unique. No matter what stage your project is in, we can help bring your vision to life.
Several years ago, Mario attended Kittycon Tampa as a vendor. He thought the convention would be a sleeper as it was a one-day show postponed from the year prior. It turned out quite the opposite, with wall-to-wall cat fanatics, great speakers, great vendors and great energy!
A young couple, Amber Redfern and Andrew Townsend, came to the Square Paws booth having learned of them through work done for The Cat Café South Beach. Amber and Andrew shared their excitement that they were planning the first cat café in southwest Florida, to be named “Cattyshack.” They had already forged an alliance with Gulf Coast Humane Society to promote their adoptable cats.
Amber and Andrew shared their vision that the café would be golf-themed, drawing inspiration from the 1980 film Caddyshack, starring Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Ted Knight. Andrew expressed his love and nostalgia for the movie, which he often watched with his late father.
The golf theme was purrfect! Immediately Mario went to work, thinking about how they could capitalize on the popular sport of chasing a small ball across a field, not unlike cats with their toys at home.
They had already decided the free-roaming cat space would be named the “Mulligan Room” (a mulligan is when you don’t count a bad shot and get a second chance). It was a perfect analogy for shelter cats getting a second chance to find their loving human companions.
Amber and Andrew knew they wanted the store to be friendly and welcoming to all, including non-cat people. They did extensive research on other cat cafés to ensure their success, when they found Square Paws.
Amber had already assembled several vision boards with appealing images of coffee shops, entry areas, seating, floors, walls, and more. She shared images of indoor putting greens as inspiration for the clean, fresh environment they both desired.
Mario offered input to Amber and Andrew after reviewing the plans of the primary architect and general contractor on the project. Mario can manage an entire interior design project from start-to-finish or, in situations like this one where someone else has started the project, he can act as a consultant and build custom cat furniture pieces as desired. Mario was involved in multiple projects in this custom cat space.
He helped to create the best views into the Mulligan Room upon entry, while maintaining a pleasant café service and seating area.
Cattyshack received a number of golf bags as donations, so Mario came up with the idea of a making a golf-bag rack and creating a cat sleeping area in the base of the bags. The rack is away from the wall and the sleeping areas are in the backs of the bags, giving the cats some privacy and a front-row seat to the cat TV above.
Mario was inspired by their logo with a coconut tree, so he created cat palm trees and placed them in grass-colored “knolls,” giving visitors a full view of the cats climbing and jumping. At the tree tops are cat-accessible perches.
The palm trees are made of aluminum pipes, painted wood and sisal rope cladding the pipes. The sisal was made to be replaced, as this tends to get worn out. The tree “fronds” were made of steel brackets and PVC board.
In case the cats are adventurous and attempt to climb onto the fronds, we made them strong enough to support a 20 pound cat.
Cattyshack had purchased a kid-sized golf cart and wanted to incorporate it into the room design somehow.
Square Paws sisal-wrapped the posts and steering wheel, as well as built a hammock-style roof for cat-napping.
Lastly, Mario struggled to find the right inspiration for the layout of the fairway and the green, until it struck him that the green should be in the shape of a paw print, surrounded by four toe-bean-shaped ottomans serving as the “sand traps.”
Amber and Andrew found a local contractor to build the ottomans, which are topped with washable pillow for easy maintenance.
Although it took some doing to find a resource for custom-cut AstroTurf, it was worth it and made the room feel complete.
Drawing upon our experience building lifeguard stands for The Cat Cafe South Beach and two Billy Joel cat rooms at North Shore Animal League America, we knew that all of our construction needs to be washable, to withstand the test of time, and, well, cats.
During installation, Mario mentioned to Amber and Andrew that they often don’t get to see the cats’ reaction when completed. On the last day, they surprised us by bringing two shelter cats in to test out the space. We were elated to see them take to it right away!
Cattyshack can compete with the best cat cafes around the world. Be sure to visit the next time you are near Ft. Myers, Florida.
They are located at 9902 Gulf Coast Main St D-140, Fort Myers, FL 33913. Please read their FAQ page on how to make reservations!