After working for a few years with cat shelters, cat cafes we have decided to write a short breakdown of the planning process for a large project based on a shelter project we did with Young at Heart Senior Pet Rescue based in Woodstock, Illinois, USA.

We start the process by talking to the customer and getting a feel for what their needs and goals for the project are. Initially we gather as much info on the space that will be catified to make sure the first drafts are as close to the customer's specification as possible. During this process we collect important info such as dimensions of the room, photos, planned budget, preferred items, and number, size and age of cats that will be using it.


Shelter-Project-making-process-Scratchy-Things-Young-at-HeartRoom photos from customer 


Photos help greatly in recreating the space in a 3D model and make the preview results much closer to the final version. The 3D renders bring the preview to life and customers can see a very realistic preview of their space after the installation is complete. This also makes any further adjustments much easier and ensure that we get the optimal layout which is approved by the customer.

Shelter-Project-making-process-Scratchy-Things-Young-at-Heart Room photos from customer

The number of cats using the space plays a great factor in the layout and affects the number of beds and access routes for the elements. Age, size and weight are also important as we optimize the layout to match the cats’ needs. This means that we can use different elements like BigCat elements for larger or more active cats and make layout adjustments like smaller gaps between elements for older or less mobile cats.

A great deal of time goes into preparation of every major project, but it takes out most of the guesswork from the process so we can ensure optimal layout and great results.

Shelter-Project-making-process-3d-render-TopdownTop-Down preview of the room before

Based on customer photos and measurement we created a 3D model of the rooms and started working on the layout. In this case, the shelter is for senior cats so we kept the gaps smaller and used standard sized Wally elements. Due to a larger number of cats that will be using the space and since it is a shelter environment where cats are adopted and new ones arrive we wanted to make sure the space is diverse and suitable form most cats along with a few isolated nooks where new cats can find a safe space while they get a feel for their new environment. Multiple levels and multiple access routes ensure that cats can reach most places without disturbing each other and minimizes any tension or conflict which is very important for a shelter.

Shelter-Project-making-process-3d-render-TopdownTop-Down preview of the room after


Shelter-Project-making-process-3d-render-room2-2Preview Render - Room 2


Shelter-Project-making-process-3d-render-room1-2Preview Render - Room 1

After the layout was complete, we created 3D renders for the customer to preview the space after the installation. Based on those previews some additional tweaks to the layout were made and once both us and the customer were happy with the layout we made the final renders and started making the furniture.


Ready to ship - Wally Flat Plus shelves

Shelter-Project-making-process-ready-to-ship-2Ready to ship - Wally Flat shelves with extra cushions

Shelter-Project-making-process-ready-to-ship-3Packages arrived safely

The logistical part of getting a large amount of furniture from Croatia to the US was a bit of a challenge but finally we decided that part of the furniture will be sent disassemble to minimize the number of packages and the shipping cost. With a few issues along the way, the packages finally arrived through a few batches and volunteers at the shelter did a nice job of assembling and installing the rooms. The final layout was nearly identical to the renders and the cats at Young at Heart finally received their new home.

 Shelter-Project-making-process-complete-1Final Setup - Room 2

Shelter-Project-making-process-complete-2Final Setup - Room 2

Shelter-Project-making-process-complete-3Final Setup - Room 2

Shelter-Project-making-process-complete-4Testing and Approval process

Shelter-Project-making-process-complete-5Testing and Approval process

Shelter-Project-making-process-complete-6Testing and Approval process

We would like to thank Dawn and the volunteers at Young at Heart once again for this great opportunity and their collaboration and patience through the project. Overall, the project has been an interesting and exhausting experience, but we are very happy with the results and it looks like we have received the approval of the senior cat citizens as well.