In Caroline Beaupré’s century-old house, located in the heart of Old Sherbrooke, the five cats often walk around without putting a paw on the ground. They much prefer to have fun jumping from shelf to shelf, to go from the living room to the kitchen and then out on the back porch.
Once there, they can enjoy a space protected by a discreet fence. The two shy ones can bask in the open air on one of the cushions without fear of predators, while the other three, bolder ones, slip through the cat flap to explore the surroundings at their leisure. They will no doubt return at the end of the day to stretch out on the window frames, widened for their comfort, in order to observe the birds and enjoy the last rays of the sun.
“My husband did it all,” says Beaupré. Alain [Sirois] was a very good carpenter and he was very creative. The cats immediately liked what he did for them,” the 49-year-old recalled.
“It all started in September 2014 when I saw a cat that had just given birth. She seemed exhausted and winter was approaching. So we got her used to coming to take refuge with us with her little one,” she says. The word has obviously passed in the neighborhood, since two other wandering souls have also quickly taken up residence with the couple. A duly adopted kitten completed the now tight-knit family.
“When Alain died of cancer in 2017, we all grieved together, me and the cats,” says Ms. Beaupré.
Cats are literally part of the furniture at Roxane Paradis and Patrice Paquette, of Mont-Saint-Hilaire. They can curl up as they please in the cavities of the living room table and the shelf of the stereo system, designed especially for the feline-loving couple.
“We’ve always had cats at home. Lots of cats. We had 11 at one point,” says Paquette, a color specialist at Fujifilm.
Seeing that their favorite whiskers liked the enclosed spaces of cabinets and bookcases, Mrs. Paradis one day took to imagining “cat condos” in the house. This painter-illustrator immediately drew plans for small pieces of furniture that were both aesthetic and practical for them, but also comfortable for the cats.
An amateur cabinetmaker, Mr. Paquette spent four weekends in his workshop to create the Swedish-inspired furniture imagined by his wife.
The success with cats gave the two artists other ideas, so a yoga chair is one of the next projects. The reaction of Internet users to a publication on Facebook also earned several orders.
“I’m not closing the door, but I’m not there yet,” Mr. Paquette laughs.
The walls of Annie-Claude Asselin’s bedroom in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu are decorated with photos of 51 different kittens. They are all little boarders that the woman and her husband have taken in for a few weeks, until they are old enough to be offered for adoption, over the past three years.
The layout of the room is designed to adapt to the growth of toddlers. A space confined by small glass partitions gives babies all the confidence they need for their first learning before they embark on exploring the rest of the room.
Quickly, the boldest set themselves the challenge of reaching a coveted place, at the very top of a wall, very close to the window: an observation platform equipped with railings if they ever took an impromptu nap there. But to achieve this, they have to develop their motor skills through a course made of tablets and cylinders.
Kittens, often fearful, also learn to mix with humans. Their hosts have just placed a bed to spend time surrounded by their little guests. “It’s a benefit of working remotely. Since the pandemic, we have a lot of free time that we have chosen to devote to cats, ”says Ms. Asselin, delighted.
By her own admission, two boarders won her heart and never left. “A seriously ill cat that I cared for for eight weeks. And a five-day-old kitten that didn’t have a 5% chance of survival. I fed him night and day. You end up getting attached,” she concludes with a laugh.
Lucie LeBlanc’s two cats have their own apartment in her Terrebonne home: a 4-by-9-foot room located under the basement stairs. Were it not for the bowls and litter boxes, it looks like a children’s playroom with sunny yellow walls and funny decals.
The small loft for Balourd and Dracula was born out of the pandemic. With a basement suddenly transformed into offices, Mrs. LeBlanc had quickly come up against the problems of food odor and dirt from the litter box, incompatible with an atmosphere conducive to work.
“The underside of the stairs was useless except for storing a few things. I decided to make a room for the cats with leftover plaster and paint. We pulled the joints ourselves,” says this financial analysis.
“I got a little carried away with the decals. It’s my girlish side,” she adds with self-mockery.
“When it’s time to clean up, a single vacuum will do the trick,” says Lucie LeBlanc.
This room does not prevent the two tomcats from imposing themselves in the professional life of the couple. “I always have one lying on my computer to enjoy the heat,” she concedes. But that, I accept without problem. »