We do get lots of frequently asked questions on specific points not covered in our Product, Info & Customer Notes sections so have listed these below starting with the most common ones.
Will our cats want to climb their Hicat®?
Yes, they will based on our experience & customer feedback - climbing comes instinctively to cats so we've only ever heard of a couple of instances where cats didn't want to climb.
If you want to check out you cats climbing prowess then one way of doing this is to roll up a rug, hold it upright & see if your cat takes off.
How long can we expect our Hicat® to last?
You'll get years of use from your Hicat® ignoring the usual wear & tear - we've been making Hicat® units since 2008 & we've only ever had praise from our customers regarding our workmanship & longevity of our products.
Do Hicat® units shed fibres?
The Twist Pile finish is a cut pile so this doesn't shed material however, the coir will shed fibres when scratched & climbed so regularly vacuuming the unit inside & out will make sure that this debris never become an irritation to your cat.
How durable is the bespoke Wool?
Normal climbing & playing will show up on these units over time & being wool this material will also become felted if your cat gets their claws in to it & uses it as their daily scratcher.
If you want to prolong the look of your wool unit we always advise having alternative scratching options available adjacent to your Hicat® to try & wean your cat's scratching attention away from it - we actually suggest doing this for all of our units to help maximise the lifespan of our products.
How do cats get down from the top of a Hicat®?
Most cats will generally want to climb down head first then jump to the floor.
Our cats climb down by reversing out of the upper Access Holes or twisting out head first then lowering themselves down - climb-through shelves will also allow your cat to climb down inside the unit, either head first or by reversing down bottom first
If you have a Polecat installed next to a Tomcat or Fatcat this also gives your cat the option of grabbing the Polecat & then reversing down from higher Access Holes - purchasing a Bobcat or positioning your Hicat® next to furniture is also a good move if you want to make that jump down easier.
Is it easy to make a mistake when measuring up for a Hicat®?
Of course mistakes can happen when measuring up but thankfully these are very rare - there is some adjustability in height for our floor-to-ceiling units to help take up any minor discrepancies but nevertheless take care & always refer to our Measuring Up notes section for guidance.
Are the coir finishes on the website accurate in terms of colour & material?
We've obviously done our best to give a fair representation of the finishes on the website but because of variations in batch dying & weave you won't be looking at an exact product match in terms of colour & finish - weave irregularities, yarn knots & colour variation are common place for a natural material of this kind.
We are happy to send out samples but please bear in mind that carpet supplies will also vary slightly in terms of colour & finish as noted above so please don't expect a perfect match between sample & finished article.
Are floor-to-ceiling units easy to install?
Will our cat fit through Access Holes & climb-through shelves?
Access Holes & apertures in Worm Hole & Crescent Shelves are 180mm in diameter - we've not met a cat yet that can't pass through this size hole but if you want to double check cut out a 180mm hole in a piece of cardboard & see if your cat fits through the hole without getting stuck.
What makes the coir used on Hicat® easy to climb?
We tested lots of different finishes when we started Hicat® & found that the coir boucle that we use is the best for climbing as it has a ribbed weave forming horizontal loops - this means that your cat's claws can easily grip & retract when climbing compared to other coir & sisal finishes.
Will our cat have more fun on one unit than another?
We can't honestly say which unit will best suit your cat but obviously the Tomcat & Fatcat units offer more variety & play opportunities than the Polecat given that they have more than four times the surface area & have Access Holes, Shelves & features - that said, customers who put in a bit of playtime with their cat on a Polecat have lots of fun too as our Thumbs-Up page shows.
We would also suggest reading through our Buying Guide section as well as there are lots of helpful notes on specifying & choosing the right Hicat® for you & your cat.
If we buy a Hicat® will we need to clip our cat's claws before they can use it?
Not as far as we're concerned - we've never clipped our cats' claws & they've never become snagged on their Hicat® when climbing.
Why aren't some of the finishes shown in the Gallery photos available to order?
Unfortunately, we are reliant on our suppliers for our finishes stock so when they change lines that particular finish becomes obsolete - the Gallery shows some of our older units in these discontinued finishes.
Are the bespoke End Cap options just aesthetic?
Yes, Acrylic End Caps are purely cosmetic & an optional extra - the standard Wrapped End detail gives the unit a softer more natural look whilst the bespoke End Cap option gives our units a sharper architectural feel.
Can we purchase a Hicat® if we live outside the EU?
Yes, we can export to any country but there will be additional freight charges, tax & import duties levied by the authorities in the destination country, which will vary from country to country - you can request a delivery supplement cost using Delivery Quote Request form & this page also has some useful information on import charges & duties.
Can we mix & match coir finishes?
Yes, within the bespoke pricing for internal coir finishes we can alternate colours on the inside & outside of the unit but if you're looking to have different coir colours between internal compartments or across shelves this will incur an additional cost.
Why do 2 & 3 Access Hole units only offer half & three-quarter height internal climbing?
These units come with an internal cap installed just above the top Access Hole as a basic safety measure to stop cats climbing into the dead space above these Access Holes - that said, 2 & 3 hole units were initially made without this feature when we started Hicat® & we never had any reported problems so are happy to make these units without this internal blocking cap if requested.
Do you make a free-standing Tomcat or Fatcat unit?
Yes, we have previously made bespoke Fatcat units up to 1830mm tall that are mounted on to bases but unfortunately, Tomcat & Polecat units don't have a big enough footprint to allow us to make it a freestanding unit the same as the Fatcat.
We do also make bespoke Polecat, Tomcat & Fatcat units that fix to the wall using a Wall Fixing Kit - Tomcat & Fatcat units are normally specified with a Bird Nest feature at the top to allow cats to perch on the top of these units.
How does the ceiling measurement get used during fabrication?
Floor-to-ceiling units need to have some ceiling clearance when they are installed so we reduce your measurement by 35-40mm depending on the unit type, which means that after the Hicat® is installed there will be small gaps at the top & bottom of the unit.
Can Hicat® units be re-used if we move home?
Because our units are made-to-measure it's unlikely that you will be able to re-use your floor-to-ceiling Hicat® unless the ceiling heights are within a centimetre or so of each other, however, just like other types of bespoke or built-in items you may have the option of adapting your unit to make it shorter (Access Hole positions permitting) or adding an extension piece or longer ceiling connector &/or feet to make it taller.
Do you make an outdoor Hicat®?
Not at the moment but we are keeping our eyes open for suitable materials that are weather-proof so that we can offer this option - the main problem is finding something that is waterproof but easy to climb like our coir.
Is it safe to install a Hicat® if we have a plasterboard ceiling?
Yes, the ceiling hole used to lock our floor-to-ceiling units into position just acts as a locating point & doesn't take any of the unit's weight - virtually all of our customers' homes have this type of ceiling but if you happen to live in a period property with a lath-and-plaster ceiling or an apartment with a concrete ceiling that you can't drill into we do have installation options so please get in touch.
Is there an alternative to drilling holes in the ceiling when installing a floor-to-ceiling Hicat®?
Yes, Fatcat can be installed using a bespoke ceiling clamping kit as an alternative to the standard install kit.
Polecat & Tomcat have a smaller footprint than Fatcat so we don't offer this option for these units however, we have trialled a fixing whereby a mounting disc is secured to the ceiling using a Velcro® fastener & this did hold up to testing but still believe that a mechanical fixing (drilling holes) is the safest way to install Tomcat & Polecat units.
Our Hicat® wobbles when our cats play on it?
After some use you may find that there is some movement in your Hicat® between it & the ceiling - this is usually because the unit hasn't been levelled properly or the ceiling hole alignment is slightly out, which causes the plasterboard holes to open up over time.
If after levelling out & checking your unit you still find there is movement please get in touch & we will be happy to send out a Ceiling Mounting Disc that can be retro fitted over the existing ceiling hole/s to stop this from happening.
What happens if we can't get our an accurate ceiling measurement?
If you've tried to take a measurement & are still struggling after reading the instructions contained in the Measuring Up section in our Customer Notes we can send out a laser tape measure for you to use as long as this is returned to us using a tracked post or courier service.
Is it possible to specify units with our own covering?
Yes, this is a bespoke option subject to making sure that your material can be used in our fabrication process - obviously we can't test your material's suitability for cat climbing, durability, & wear & tear so you will need to be happy that your chosen finish is up to the job.
How strong are Hicat® units?
Our units have been tested to loads in excess of 100kg so we can say they are very strong, especially when compared to other products on the market.
What is the core material used in Hicat® units?
We use laminated cores made from recyscled fibre board (spiral bound cardboard tubes to you & me) for the construction of our units - these are the same tubes that are used on building sites to form concrete columns so after we've bonded our latex backed coir to this it makes for an incredibly solid structure.
Why can't we specify the Black Twist Pile internal finish on the outside of a unit?
The standard Black Twist Pile carpet does not have a boucle weave like our coir finishes so it's not as easy to climb but does offer a softer & plush interior finish more suited for sleeping & perching.
What's the maximum height floor-to-ceiling units can be made to?
Because of the carpet widths available 4.8m is about as tall as we can go without having to add in seams or joins on the units - that said we always offer a word of caution to customers thinking about ordering extra tall units as climbing basically becomes an extreme sport & can be daunting for some cats.
Also, units with four Access Holes will have the top Access Hole positioned 300mm below the ceiling as standard & therefore creates a large internal span down to the third Access Hole below, which will mean a long drop down if your cat wants to climb down internally.
Do you offer discounts for large orders?
Sorry, we don't. However, we do offer discounts to returning customers & individuals working within animal welfare associations or practices so please get in touch before placing your order.
Are there any other UK delivery options in addition to those listed?
Yes, there are a number of options including weekday deliveries before 9AM, Saturday deliveries & also assisted deliveries as well as customer collections from our studio - we can advise on a specific supplement price before placing an order so please email us if you have a request.
Can floor-to-ceiling units be installed upside down?
Yes, Polecats can have the foot & ceiling connectors swapped on the ends & can be installed either way up - you can swap the feet & connector on Tomcat & Fatcat but shelf & Access Hole positioning may not work for your cat if the unit is inverted.
If you have an existing Hicat® unit that has screwed-on feet as opposed to threaded tilting screw-in feet it won't be an easy job to re-install the unit upside down because the feet & inserts will need to swap ends so please bear this in mind before attempting to re-install these types of units inverted.
Can we recover our Hicat® if it becomes badly worn?
Because of the way we fabricate our units recovering units isn't an option as we bond the external coir to the body so once it's fixed it can't be cut out - we can sometimes patch in worn areas but matching the coir finish will present problems & the collection/redelivery cost can be off putting if you're working to a budget.
Are your able to rotate Tomcat & Fatcat units after they've been installed?
Yes, because these units have a single point ceiling fixing they can be rotated 360° so that the Access Holes can face in any direction - you may need to adjust the feet after doing this to re-level the unit.
Do Hicat® units contain any materials or substances that could be harmful to cats?
No, we don't use any harmful materials in the fabrication process - the glue used during assembly is non-toxic & we do not use carpet that has been chemically treated with stain guard protection, which means there will be no danger to you, your family or your pets.
Does the coir used on your units smell?
There is a slight natural odour from the coconut husks used to make the coir, which is normal for this type of carpet & because our units are fully wrapped when despatched they can sweat in transit causing the unit to smell but this will wear off over time once the Hicat® has had time to air.
Can we add a shelf to our Hicat® after it's been installed?
I'm afraid that adding a shelf isn't possible after the unit has been fabricated - the construction along with Access Hole sizes means that it’s impossible to retro fit a shelf into the unit once it's been made.
Can a Pad or Fat Pad cushion be used on top of climb-through shelves?
Yes, they can be placed on Crescent & Worm Hole Shelves to make the equivalent of a Full Shelf & give your cat an even softer sleeping area.
Can our cats try out a Hicat® before we make a purchase?
You & your cats are welcome to visit us at our studio so your cat can test our units but as noted at the beginning of these FAQs, if you are trying to work out if your cat will climb our units a simple test is to roll up a rug if you have one & hold it upright to see if you cat runs up it - that's what some of our customers have tried in the past before making a purchase.
Why are your products not available to purchase online via Amazon & other stores?
We have looked at selling our products through online retail stores in addition to our website but because our units are bespoke & made-to-measure the ordering process isn't easy to adapt for these types of shopping cart websites plus the margins that these retailers work are unworkable as far as we are concerned.
Are there any alternatives to placing ballast in Bobcat units to stop it from toppling?
Yes, if your Bobcat unit is sitting on a hard floor you can stick heavy-duty Velcro® discs under the base keep it upright or if you have carpet & don’t mind fixing through this into floorboards you can screw the unit to the floor.
We would really like to make our own Hicat® so would you be able to give us some tips?
We can go one step better than that as we've actually produced a detailed guide on our DIY Polecat page & also put together a DIY Kit of parts that can be purchased to make the fabrication process as easy as possible - we have also been asked for tips on making versions of our Tomcat & Fatcat units as well but the fabrication process is very complex compared to the Polecat & requires some specific skill sets along with specialist tools so even if we knew where to start in terms of a DIY guide for these units we would still not advise taking this on unless you were an expert DIY'er or maker by trade.
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