Cover Image: Engineering for Cats

Engineering for Cats

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Member Reviews

Great book for do-it yourselfers who have cats. Projects are varied and I especially liked that they could be customized to accommodate larger cats. My little big guy weighs in at 24 lbs and is knee high on me (maine coon), commercial cat trees and other furniture is too small for him (I bought him a child's tent and tunnel that he adores!),  but conventional cat trees could potentially injure him if it falls over!  This book might be the solution to large cat other owners have. great book!
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This book offers some cute ideas to entertain your resident craft addict and your cats. It was entertaining but I don't know that I'll actually accomplish any of the projects.
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This instructional manual for building cat furniture is informative and humorous. It is organized with diagrams and instructions. 
Thanks to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for a digital ARC of this book.
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When cats take over the world, there will be more books like this. The ideas are fascinating with well laid out instructions.  If cats were to approve of books, this one would be on their lists.
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The last thing my cat needs to do is learn engineering - if she can figure out how to open the cat food container, we are all doomed.
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Engineering for Cats is a serious book offering designs for cat-friendly surfaces, fountains, and nooks. Many of the designs require carpentry or shop experience, and in particular require tools (e.g.circular saw, jigsaw), that the average apartment dweller may not have, unless they have access to a machine shop. That said, many of the designs are simple, practical and better made versions of those one can see on a variety of cat accessory websites. Delaney offers clear instructions on how to successfully accomplish these simple designs and weekend carpenters can find inspiration to satisfy their felines. The cat graphics in the book, while droll, reduce the appearance of serious information conveyed in the book. The cover design in particular is likely to lead some readers to believe that it's another cat humor book. This is a useful book for those who are set up to build for their felines.

I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from Workman Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Engineering for Cats by Mac Delaney feature 10 projects for the felines in your life.  My favorite is the drinking fountain although the cat treat slot machine is a close second.  While all of the projects are fun and useful, I do think they are geared toward people with advance DIY skills.  Each project features a detailed supply list and instructions.  If you are interested in building some clever cat items, this is the book for you!
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Beginning with a witty exchange between a manager and his engineer about how to create a better mousetrap, Engineering For Cats is a funny yet practical look at creating solutions for your various cat conundrums.

In the introduction, the author demonstrates his clear understanding that it is the cat who drives the relationship, not the human. He clearly understands the usefulness of a good cat who can not only get rid of pests like rats but lazy (allergic) ex-boyfriends as well.

Because of the territorial nature of the cat, one needs to make sure that they feel comfortable and the master of their own environment. This is especially necessary with a multi-cat environment, each cat needs to have their own space.

While describing the engineering fundamentals, the author indicates that the basic physics behind the cat structures in this book are the same physics which apply to other structures like the International Space Station and the Great Pyramids of Giza. Confirming (as we already know) that it is likely the great pyramids would qualify as a cat structure anyway, he does go on to indicate that by reading this book you would be qualified to work on the space station.

This was rather surprising to me because I thought one had to have somewhat more extensive training in engineering in order to qualify for such an illustrious position. But no, the author confirms that by reading this book it will teach you more about reading building space stations than any other do it yourself cat project book. And yes, I have to admit, put like that he is undoubtedly correct.

The first section after the two introductions is Before You Build. This gives you the information on how to measure map and scale your projects. It also includes information about how to read drawings and on working with wood.

Projects include:

Simple Cat Shelf
Advanced Cat Shelf
Advanced Shelf Ramp
Drinking Fountains
Small Drinking Fountain
Large Drinking Fountain
The Cat Cave
Simple Scratcher
Bunk Beds
Cat Treat Slot Machine
Drawbridge Cat Door
Litter Box Cabinet
Cat Wheel

Each of the projects starts with a problem and then the solution. The instructions then continue on to give you any background information you need.

An Engineering 101 lesson is included on the specifics of each project, followed by a detailed list of all of the tools required to complete the work. A complete materials list follows tools, and then your step-by-step instructions.

Easy To Follow And Worth The Read

As someone who is somewhat challenged in the construction area, I found the detailed drawings and instructions easy to follow. I’m not saying I would find it easy to complete the projects, some of them have skills beyond me, but the instructions are very clear and easy to understand.

Throughout the step-by-step instructions, there are photographs of the various stages along with a picture of the finished project, complete with animated cat enjoying said project.

This is a thoroughly delightful book, well worth the read even if you never pick up a hammer or screwdriver to complete any of the projects. All of the projects are very useful and I think my cats are about to enjoy their lives a little bit more.

Reviewed for LnkToMi iRead in response to a complimentary copy of the book provided by the publisher in hopes of an honest review.
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Engineering for Cats by Mac Delaney is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late July.

Witty causal, instruction manual narration with a lot of the same pegcat motif from the cover art in collage and diagram form. The voice within the instruction offers true engineering speak and 3D renderings with ideas as basic as a shelf, fountains, beds, cat door, and scratching post. Sometimes, it can be a step per page, which can be cohesive and understanding in the moment (i.e. standing next to a band saw, wondering what to do), but ultimately very lengthy.
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Great looking projects for your cat. A book for readers who are very good with their hands. If you are not too manual, you might want to go for something a little less intimidating.
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My kitty Gracie was thrilled when I received an ARC for Engineering for Cats. And now that I’ve read this very clever and helpful guide to creating 10 inventive kitty projects, I am too! Because author Mac Delaney, an aerospace engineer, offers 10 projects that address the areas that meet major feline needs. Examples: fountains with fresh running water, a wall shelf so kitties have a great view high up, and a Cat Cave that offers carpeted angled surfaces for scratching, napping and lounging. 5/5

Thanks to the author, Workman Publishing Company and NetGalley for an advance copy. Opinions are mine.

#EngineeringForCats #NetGalley
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This odd book is 1/3 carpentry, 1/3 engineering and 1/3 silliness. Mr. Delaney is owned by two cats who have directed him to build furniture and exercise equipment for them to relieve boredom and stay slim. Given recent scientific speculation about the neurological effects of Taenia, it's possible that Mr. Delaney was urged toward building by his gut. Mr. Delaney, being an engineer and a carpenter has complied but decided to recoup the building costs by writing a book of instructions on how you too can build wonderful structures for your cats. 

The book is fun and if you have few carpentry skills you will learn a lot of useful stuff that will stand you in good stead as a tenant or house owner in addition to possibly pleasing your kitty (it's hard to know, cats being what they are). My issue with the book is that the 10 projects Mr. Delaney builds are a bit dull.

Over the years I have read lots of articles on building exuberant cat playgrounds up and down walls and in all kinds of settings. There is even an article somewhere on how to handle 24 cats in one supposedly odorless house by installing externally-vented extraction fans in dedicated litter closets.

Mr. Delaney's designs are basic, nothing like the jungle gyms you find elsewhere. The graphics are funky (cats look like Tootsie Rolls) and there is no conclusion or index in the ARC. No TOC either and there is no indication they might be added later.

Take a look inside before buying.
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I love this book and its projects! The different projects have funny details of cats and their behaviors that any cat owner can relate to.  I haven't tried any projects yet, but I am looking forward to trying out the cat perch! The instructions are thorough and entertaining.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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As the wife of a Google engineer and one who has helped her husband create cat furniture in the past, I was intrigued by this book. Unfortunately, in my NYC apartment, I don't have the power tools needed to make any of these designs, but it seems like the author did a great job showing a list of needed supplies and the steps with diagrams needed to help you finish the project. I have to be honest though, I'm not sure financially if a lot of these projects are worth making (versus buying) unless you enjoy tinkering in your garage. I also don't really find a lot of these ideas "ingenious" as the book's subtitle suggests. What is so ingenious about a cat scratcher, a cat shelf, or a litter box cabinet? My favorite project (and only ingenious one shared in my opinion) is the cat wheel at the end. I can see that taking a lot of time to complete but creating it on your own would save you money if the author's research is correct. 

Overall, a great book for a cat lover but I think most cat lovers won't be in awe of the shared projects and most of the cat wisdom is readily available on the web. Honestly, if I was a cat, I'd rather my owner just buy me most of the products rather than spend so much time and money in the garage when that time could be better spent petting me haha! On a final note, I really enjoyed the author's occasional humor and wit that made an appearance throughout the book.
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I almost didn't look beyond the introduction, where this statement is found:  "Not that cats are exceptionally intelligent."  HA, I thought!  The authors don't know cats?  But then I turned the page to see a hilarious diagram illustrating the domestication of cats.  Then I knew that the authors definitely understand cats completely!  
While you might think a book with this title would be extremely boring (unless you're an engineer, of course), that's not the case!  The author interjects humor into every paragraph (e.g., "Mewton's Second Law")!  And the illustrations are also very cute! It was really fun to read this book!
Now, about the book:  It's all about making structures that will enhance your cat's environment.  Each project is complete with approximate costs, level of difficulty, estimated time to build, list of materials, and some alternative suggestions.  The directions are illustrated nicely, and easy to follow.  Some projects (e.g., the drinking fountain) are very simple--even someone with no experience using tools (like me) could make them.  Others are more complicated, such as the ramps with curved wood.   While some of the projects are commonly constructed items (cat shelves, scratching post), others are quire imaginative (e.g., the Cat Treat Slot Machine). 
I do have one worry about the cat bunk beds.  It seems like it might be easy for kitty's feet to get stuck in the edges where webbing attaches to the pipe.  I'd suggest using canvas cloth instead, making a curtain-rod type seam on each long end to attach it to the PVC.  
If you are at all handy and want to make some things for your cat, this is a great book to use.  You'll have lots of fun reading it, you might even learn a little engineering, and your cat will love the projects!
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Coming from the Workman Publishing Group, Engineering for Cats by Mac Delaney will be available on August 7, 2018.
Review:
The introduction for Engineering for Cats by Mac Delaney (no relation) is as clever and charming as you can imagine. A project engineer engaged by the project manager in how to build a better mousetrap leads them to determine that all they've "invented" is the cat. Since they can't reinvent cats, they decide the thing to do is build projects that make cats happier during their cohabitation with humans.
"The projects in this book can help resolve behavioral issues and make your cats happier, but they are unlikely to change their overall personality."
The author includes sections on each project on engineering fundamentals which he admits you could skip over and head straight to the projects, but given the humorous delivery, I say read through it. He begins by explaining the common mistake about what is meant by "measure twice, but once." I won't spoil it for you.
In my own experiences as a cat companion, I've noticed that store-bought cat trees are designed for tiny cats and kittens. Gus is an average size, 13 pound domestic short hair. He's not even a huge Maine Coon. Yet, Gus often has his legs falling off the edges of a tower or he can only sit upright prim and proper on the platforms. Scalability is lacking in store-bought cat furniture. Engineering for Cats will help you solve that problem especially since the illustrated cats are cute and based on Delaney's seventeen- and twenty-pound cats. Not going to lie, there's some algebra in this book. I had to repeat algebra a few times and I think my professor passed me out of kindness and desire to get me out of his class.
Each project is rated with difficulty level and approximate costs for the build. There's great advice about why you would want to build something specifically for a cat when there's something available on the market that's not for cats but seems like it could work. Example given: a simple shelf. A simple bookshelf may be able to hold twenty pounds of books, but that's a "static load," meaning books don't move around like cats do. A cat shelf needs to be able to support a cat leaning more on one end when it lands and leaping off an edge unlike books. If your books do that, call some paranormal investigators. The difficulty level slightly increases from a basic flat shelf to curved and carpeted shelves.
Estimated costs are also included and usually options are given for how costs may vary. Some projects like the basic cat scratching post are intended to be constructed out of leftover materials you might have in your garage or scavenge from a neighbor's home construction leftovers (maybe ask before dumpster diving though).
The illustrated cats certainly look pleased with the results. If you can't trust illustrated cats, who can you trust?
Honestly, I prefer the wooden pieces of cat furniture. The PVC pipe assemblies don't really go with my personal taste in decor. I suppose if you're a plumber you might think PVC cat furniture is super duper awesome. One of the best wood projects in this book is the litter box cupboard. What makes it unique is that there are simple hooks on the outside marked with the days of the week and a token that's moved from hook to hook daily after scooping. If you have kids who are assigned chores this is probably a fantastic feature akin to public toilets having a sign-out sheet for the cleaners noting when the last cleaning was.
The final project is constructing a cat wheel. Cat wheels are a huge trend right now. Certain indoor cats have a ton of energy that they need to expend and their human companions can't always play with them enough. I don't think Gus and Oliver would like a cat wheel especially since Gus is leash trained and gets to climb real trees. However, I have seen people like Jackson Galaxy (My Cat from Hell host) proclaim that cat wheels can solve behavior problems caused by bored cats. Constructing your own cat wheel will certainly provide a sense of accomplish and save you money. Hopefully your cat can understand your effort for the project and know how much you love them.
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This is both entertaining and practical, for the pet owner looking to improve their little friends' kingdom with ingenious projects. I look forward to adding it to our library collection.
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Useful and creatives projects to improve the cat's live around the house. The book contains practical step by step project to create amazing furniture for cats. My favorite was how to create a Scratcher from scratch.
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Clearly written by an engineer with a great sense of humor, this is a surprisingly useful book for creating DIY items for your cat - starting with a simple shelf and then moving on to items such as a water fountain and litter box enclosure.  I could see my cat using most of the 10 projects as well as me creating them easily - they were neither too expensive, too complicated, nor required a lot of tools.  As well, many were surprisingly decorative.

The projects include: shelf, advance series of nautical themed shelves, drinking fountain, large and fancy drinking fountain, cat cave, simple scratching post, bunk beds, cat treat machine, drawbridge cat door, litter box cabinet, and a cat wheel.

The book begins with some practical information on cats, some techniques to help you build items better, and an amusing exchange between a boss and an aerospace engineer on designing for cats.  The book is illustrated throughout with 3D modeling software examples of cats, people, the projects, etc.  It fits perfectly with the theme of the book and is rather cute as well!

Each project has a color coded introduction, the problem the item will solve (e.g., a scratching post to keep cat claws off couches), the science behind cat behavior with the problem, step by step directions with images on each step, and tips/info needed to complete the project.  E.g., the simple cat shelf gives you the problem (cats will employ destructive behavior to gain a height advantage), how the shelf will solve the problem (discussing why cats like to get high), and the solution with a call out on cost, difficulty, and estimated time to build.  Additional information is often also included on several: e.g., how to hang on drywall and making sure a shelf is sturdy and can take the cat's weight.  Each step also has a complete list of materials in large print and very easy to use.

The really neat thing about the book is that you learn more about your cat and engineer principles as you do the projects.  Only a few are difficult (e.g., the trap door so cats can go outside) but even those look very doable and approachable. The only materials used are pvc pipes or wood - perhaps some carpeting and screws of course. So we aren't using exotic materials.  The fancier items, such as the nautical themed shelves, may require more than simple screwing and sawing (e.g., a jigsaw to create a wave shape).  But the emphasis is on making the items look attractive and cleanly made.

In all, this was a fun read with great projects that are approachable and doable, many only requiring a few hours time to create something lovely and useful for your cat(s).  Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.
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This book had a lot of great projects for the indoor cats in your life.  The description of each item was extensive and easy to understand.  I am looking forward to trying some of these.
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