Boy meets girl. Boy and girl bring home a cat (despite boy’s allergies), and begin prototyping some functional, elegant cat furniture for their newly shared abode. Boy and girl hit on a winning formula and spin their designs into a booming business that employs 25 workers in a 12,000-square-foot facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s not your typical start-up tale (or your typical rom-com plotline, for that matter), but for Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman of CatastrophiCreations—and the more than 10,000 customers who’ve incorporated their handcrafted cat bridges, hammocks, and sisal poles into their pets’ lives—it’s the ultimate happy ending.
More than just a good-looking line of perches and play areas, the wall-mounted, mostly modular furniture that Mike and Megan’s team turns out gives indoor cats the energy-burning and instinct-indulging stimulation they need to be calm and content. “To me, my cats are my kids. I love giving them a really cool play place and seeing other people have the same passion we do about keeping their cats happy,” Megan says. “I’m glad that we can help people realize those kinds of dreams.”
What are some of the benefits of having furniture like this for cats?
Megan: Cats have high energy and tend to get bored, so it’s really important for their environment to have a lot for them to do and interact with. Especially in a house with multiple cats—when they can run around and get some exercise, let out some steam, that actually calms them down.
Cats are also very territorial; we have four boy cats, and every time we’ve brought in a new cat, we’ve added more wall structures so they don’t feel like their area is being encroached upon. It gives way more square footage to a room when you start can using the walls that way. Then everyone can have their own high perch and look out over their kingdom.
Which of your products do your own cats like the most?
Mike: As our cats have gotten older, they’re less into jumping around and climbing on stuff and more about lounging, so their favorite things would probably be the roped bridge or the hammocks. We have quite a few hammocks across the wall at our house, and there’s almost always a cat on the wall just napping. But we recently got a kitten that has a ton of energy and races all around the house and loves to run up the sisal post.