Cat furniture with a design twist

Grids by Mr Andrew Loh is meant to be a versatile piece for cats to play and rest on. Stacking Cat by Ms Chan Wai Lim comes with detachable boxes and covers that can be customised. A group of designers including (from left) Ms Chan Wai Lim, Mr Andrew
A group of designers including (from left) Ms Chan Wai Lim, Mr Sim Hao Jie, Ms Tan Chin Chin, Mr Rodney Loh and Mr Royston Phang have created furniture for cats including A93 by Mr Pang, which is inspired by the idea of animals exploring rooftops.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

A lack of stylish options led to an exhibition of eight specially designed pieces for felines

You own a cat and also have a stylish home. There is just one problem, though. That ugly cardboard cat litter box sticks out like a sore thumb amid your chic decor.

That was the dilemma of user experience designer Tan Chin Chin, who had trouble finding attractive furniture for her two cats.

So she created the 9 Lives Design Show, an exhibition of eight unique furniture pieces designed for cats. It is the first cat furniture exhibition here and will run from March 4 to 6 at the Visual Arts Centre at Penang Road. Admission is free.

Ms Tan, 42, hopes to show that furniture designed for a cat's needs can be more than just cardboard boxes.

"There are solutions out there, but often, they aren't as appealing and they don't fit in with the design of the house," she says.


Grids by Mr Andrew Loh is meant to be a versatile piece for cats to play and rest on. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

She got nine industrial designers to create furniture pieces for cats. The event is sponsored and organised by Ms Tan's company, Goood Pet Collars, which designs and sells pet collars.

The designers, none of whom own cats, had to be mindful of the furry users' behaviour. This includes taking into account a cat's tendency to scratch items and climb.

Ms Chan Wai Lim, 43, from industrial design studio Trigger Design, says that for her piece, named Stacking Cat, she ensured that the wood was dyed instead of painted over, as paint, which could be toxic, could peel off easily when a cat scratches the shelves. Her piece consists of four wooden boxes held vertically by metal poles.

While none of the items are available for sale yet, some of the designers are looking into mass producing their items.

Ms Tan says that with more people adopting pets, there will be an increase in demand for beautifully designed pet products.

"Some pet owners think that as long as they provide food and water, they are done," she says.

"I'm hoping that with this exhibition, they'll learn how to adequately prepare their homes for their cats."

Whether or not the furniture will appeal to the felines, however, would still depend on the creatures, which are known to be temperamental.


Stacking Cat by Ms Chan Wai Lim comes with detachable boxes and covers that can be customised. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

Undergraduate Nadhirah Ismail, 23, who has two Persian cats, says: "We used to buy scratching posts and cat towers, but my cats hate them.We don't have cat furniture, but I'd like to think that my cats would be cool with that.

"But I know that even if I have a kitty mansion in the house, they'd still choose to cuddle on my laptop while I'm rushing to do work."

The exhibition is a fringe activity of the Singapore Design Week. After its run at the Visual Arts Centre, the pieces will be displayed at cat cafes Neko No Niwa (54A Boat Quay, Level 2) and The Company of Cats (6B Mosque Street), from March 7 to 31.

Correction note: In our earlier photo caption, we had wrongly identified Mr Sim Hao Jie as Mr Andrew Loh. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2017, with the headline 'Chic cat furniture'. Print Edition | Subscribe