Crossing the Great Divide Part II: Crossed

Crossing the Great Divide Part II: Crossed

 Michaels Art Supplies 

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The planks were cut, drilled, and painted, they were ready to be threaded together!

Bead Landing Hemp Cord at Michaels.comWe estimated 184” of hemp rope would be enough to thread through the planks one way and back, so we cut two pieces of hemp rope at 190” for each side.  We added a few extra inches just in case.  Custard helped with rope management and made sure the pieces remained tangle-free.
 
Custard, Rope Manager

We used a saddle stitch to thread the hemp rope through the holes of the wood pieces.  Saddle stitch starts by either going up the first hole or down.  We started by going up, then threaded down the second hole, and continued and continued threading up one hole and down the next until we threaded the final plank. The final stitch threaded down, then we looped around the end and threaded down the same hole then up the next hole.

Begininng to thread the cat bridge Three planks threaded together Threading back through the planks
Sliding the hemp rope through beeswax

We didn’t use a needle and kept the thread from fraying by sliding the hemp rope through a bar of beeswax then twisting the end, and using a paper clip to punch the rope through when we couldn’t thread it through easily. We left about 3” of slack at the ends of the bridge for hanging.  It took a few days.

 

A shelf bracket attached to the bridge

After the bridge was finally done being threaded down one side and back, then down the other side and back, we attached a shelf bracket to each of the ends of the bridge that was then attached to the walls.  We used drywall anchors to mount the brackets to the walls, then tied the slack to the cat tree and the shelf bracket on the cat wall.

 

Eye hook screws screwed into the corners of the bridge

Once the bridge was threaded and mounted, we cut four more pieces of hemp rope the length of the bridge (plus a few inches) and screwed four small eye hook screws into the four corner holes at the ends. We tied one end of one of the pieces of hemp rope to one of the eye hooks on one side of the bridge.  Then we strung it along the side to the other end of the bridge and tied it to the other eyehook.  This piece would be the handrail of the bridge if the cats had hands and needed a rail to hold on to.

Lil' Fluff inspecting the cat bridge
The lower hemp rope threaded under the planks and over the upper hemp rope

The second piece of hemp rope was tied to the cat tree then starting from under the bridge we threaded the rope up through the planks and around the upper piece of rope then back down and under the next plank and up again until we reached the other side.  We tied the other end of the hemp rope to the bracket of the shelf and tightened the ropes so the bridge would be stable when the cats crossed it.

Once the bridge was up we had to test it to make sure it wouldn't fall with the cats on it.  No one around here does weightlifting, so we couldn't use weights to test the bridge.  Instead, we used a Costco size bag of sugar, and it held!

Lil' Fluff checking out the mounted cat bridge
Lil' Fluff testing the cat bridge with her paw

 Midnight and Lil’ Fluff were the first to check it out.  Midnight put one paw on it, and Lil’ Fluff put two.  Lil’ Fluff had the courage to venture to the middle but decided that was far enough and backed up.  Frosta had no interest in the bridge, Custard sniffed it, and Boo, Pooh Bierre, and La Lune don’t climb to the top of the cat tree.  None of the cats have crossed over the entire bridge, we think it may not be stable enough for their liking.  So we’re going back to the drawing board and starting a whole new bridge!  

Lil' Fluff on the cat bridge while Midnight inspects the cat bridge

*This project was constructed twice and images shown represent both constructions.  Also, we are not engineers, please don't replicate this design unless you are an engineer and know what you're doing.