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Taking the cat gym appart is in the next post.  I realized that it was important to give a list of tools and supplies needed on this project.  Getting Ready to repair the cat tree or cat gym is pretty easy.  I will call it a cat gym from this point.

1.  Gather your tools: 

  • Claw foot Hammer – to hammer the staples you are going to use on the rug to make them flat to the surface so your cat can’t catch them in its claws.
  • A flat head screw driver – to wedge out the old staples that hold the rug on and secure some of the parts of the cat gym.
  • A pliers – to remove any pieces of staples that break off – becareful they are sharp – and for other things you might need.
  • A portable drill.  A Black and Decker Pivot Plus could work.  It is long and bends so it can be used in tight places. You will need to drill from inside the round hideaway.  My large drill was okay for the other jobs but not for this purpose.  On the bottom of the cat gym the screws are about 3-4 inches long so a big drill is a good thing. http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-PD600-Screwdriver-Articulating/dp/B0000C6DXE/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t  or http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00911383000P?prdNo=7&blockNo=7&blockType=G7
  • An electric staple gun and nail gun that can handle 9/16″ staples.  You might have to buy one but it is worth it if the cat gym costs $129-139 or more. 
    • The Powershot Pro #9100K Contractor Grade at Home Depot for $27.00 worked great for this project and I will probably use it many other projects.  I really like the long electrical cord on it.  My old gun had a very short one which was annoying. http://www.unifireusa.com/retail1/item.php?vn=71704&blkNO=2750-1501
    • I purchased 9/16″ inch staples to attach the new rug to the posts. 
  • Crow bar to help with pulling apart the pieces that are attached with the 1.5-2 inch staples. 
  • Box cutter/utility blade with a fresh sharp razor
  • Digital camera for photos of the cat gym
  • Screws – some 2-2.5 inch to replace the really long screws they use. Additional 1.5 inches screws for replacing the 1.5 inches staples they use.
  • A long heavy duty electrical cord for the stapler.
  • Marker pen to draw some lines at the back of the carpet for cutting out your carpet pieces.

NOTE:  If you don’t have some of these tools, you can rent them at a tool rental place like Aurora Rents: http://www.aurorarents.com/  The other option is to borrow from a friend, relative or neighbor.

2.  Prepare a work area using a cloth or tarp to cover the ground, cement area or floor for it is going to get messy removing the old rug.  It will give you rug sand, rug fuzz, fibers etc.  Have a plastic bag for disposal of the rug pieces on hand.  It will make it easier to clean up.

WARNING:  DO NOT USE A VACCUM to clean up the rug fuzz–it will clog it.  Believe me I know.  Pick up the rug pieces, fibers and fuzz with your fingers and put into a plastic bag for disposal.  Using the vacuum to clean up the sandy part is okay.

3.  I would wear old clothing you don’t care about and have something to pad your knees if you get down on a hard surface.  Be prepared to get a little dirty and to wash your hands from the rug debree.   You will want to clean all this up after you take the cat gym apart before you start to reassemble. 

4.  Take photos of your cat gym as it is so you know how to put it back together.  Take photos from different angles.  I actually found it very helpful because you do forget how it goes together.  I took photos of the process, the staples used, the screws used, the pieces etc.  Anything to help me remember how to do this again and how to put it back together.  This tip and more came from flerper at the How To Do Everything Website – How to Fix a Cat Scratcher or Climber: 

http://www.ehow.com/how_5036452_fix-cat-scratcher-climber.html

Read this article carefully it can be very helpful.  I don’t agree with this person on all points.  The staple gun is optional in their directions but I am so glad I used it for this project for it made it so much easier.

5.  A nice bowl or container to put all your small supplies in like screws and staples.  You will want examples of the fasteners they used for future reference.

6.  Study the structure.  Feel the surfaces and note the construction.  Make a plan of how you are going to proceed.  I only had to repair the posts and replace the rug.  I didn’t have to fix the cradles or the hideaway. 

On my cat gym I observed that the posts were made of wood 2×4’s and there were two of different lengths. 

The cradle was probably a thick cardboard and so was the round hideaway.  I needed to be careful with those pieces so that I didn’t tear them or damage them for I wanted to reuse them as is.

5.  Practice using the staple gun.  I found some old used short 2×4’s in my stash to practice with.  I read the directions on how to use the staple gun.  Maybe a relative, friend or neighbor has some old 2×4 pieces for you to borrow for practice. 

If you have used a regular office stapler you will find that an electric staple/nail gun is very similar just a little more macho. HA!

I practiced using the staple gun and had some problems.  The chamber where you load the staples kept coming open each time I shot a staple.  Not good, so I had to learn how to fix it so it would stay closed.   I reread the directions on how to use it.

When you are loading or adjusting the staple gun remember to unplug it for safety. Make sure you point the stapler away from your body for safety. Remove your finger from the trigger when not in use.  You could inadvertently shoot a staple and you don’t want that.  Not safe.

Staple guns make a loud noise when you shoot a staple, so practicing helps you to get use to that sound and not scare yourself. 

I practiced shooting several staples, then removing them with the flat head screwdriver.  Once satisfied with that process, I tried it with pieces of rug and again using the screwdriver to remove them.  It was easy enough.  A whack with the hammer also made them more tighter to the wood.

WARNING:  You want the new staples to be secure and flat to the surface of the wood and disappear into the rug because you don’t want your cat catching its claws in one when it goes to use it for a scratching post.

Total cost was about $35.00 but in my opinion that is better than paying another $100 to buy another cat gym.  At the rate they are destroying the rug I will be repairing this every 4 to 6 months. 

Next post we really will take it apart.

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