While some may think the idea of altering your home for a cat is silly, unique cat furnishings are becoming increasingly popular on a global scale. In his article, “Outfitting the modern cat”, Paul Mullins showcases the swanky new designs for feline furniture and discusses our true motivation for buying them.
As of recent a new range of feline furniture has appeared on the market, ranging in styles from wheels to towers to beds to most anything you can imagine (an example being the picture shown above). According to Mullins, these furnishings serve as an example of material culture for both cats and their humans. They are pieces that are representative of hardcore cat owners and the animals that they belong to. While most people would brush this off as an example of wasted money (the cats won’t appreciate these gifts anyways, right?), Mullins suggests that the real reasoning for these purchases is a selfish one. He suggests that we buy these things more so for our own enjoyment than for the enjoyment of the cats. After all, who doesn’t love watching a cat try to get out of a box or plastic bag? The reason for our enjoyment is that it “shape[s] how how humans perceive their own domestic material spaces”. By this, he means that cats, with the way they can climb walls and get into incredibly small spaces, make us look at our rooms and furniture in a way we would not have thought of without a cat.
In conclusion, these furnishings are not only markers of a specific group (cat owners), but are also tools in viewing our environments in new and different ways when looking at it from an anthropological point of view.