One of the new fixtures in our apartment dedicated to Harley's well-being is the Art Project. The primary element is the Ivar wall shelf/CD storage unit
created by Ikea
, which is made out of untreated, solid pine. Currently we're using four of the five supplied boxes for the Art Project; the fifth box is part of another Harley Enrichment Unit (more on that later). We've added a few perch-like things in various configurations, as Harley teaches us how he can best get around. You know, apart from us lifting him there ourselves, which he doesn't mind at all.
The hanging ladder below didn't last long; Harley didn't much like it when it started swinging.
The two strips of dowels are most of one of Ikea's Fanby dish racks (I can't find a link to this product on their web site). We have a few more of these, which we'll be adding soon so that Harley can climb to the very top.
Right now, he climbs from the ghastly
mostly pink rubbery perch on his cage to that long horizontal dowel, and from there to the dowel he's sitting on in this picture. From this spot he can easily get to the space between these two boxes, and he can easily climb to the box above. He can also get to the box below, although it takes a bit more work. Speaking of work, it's actually a bit of a stretch to get from the rubbery perch to that horizontal dowel. But Harley makes this effort several times a day.
Why would he expend this much energy? you ask. It's simple: we hide snacks in the boxes. Toys, too, but it's the snacks he's really looking for. Actually, we shouldn't call it the "Art Project" so much as the "Snack Project." Harley has been known to climb circles on that set of vertical dowels, several times over, in the hope that next time, maybe next time
, he'll find another tasty snack to eat. When he's worn himself out, he just sits on that top dowel, waiting for us. Waiting. For. Snacks.
Harley is ever hopeful, when it comes to snacks. I find this very endearing. And, when I'm totally wonked out with PMS, I find this a little sad. Because I'll never give him as many snacks as he'll eat. (Bruce might, though.)
The Art Project, with its requisite supply of snacks, is one of the reasons I've decided to stop obsessing about Harley's diet. (Um, not that it's working, but whatever.) Although I've steadily made his snacks smaller and smaller, he clearly needs his snacks. I mean, look at how much he'll work for them! And if he's subsisting on so many snacks, why should I expect him to be eating any "real" food? After all.
Here he is, climbing up from the couch, to grab the snacks I used to store in that bottom box for later in the day. You'll notice that the Art Project hangs directly over the couch, so that when Harley is eating his snacks, anyone sitting at that end of it gets snack crumbs in their hair. Well, this is our fault, of course; we really need a bigger place. We considered the placement of the Art Project carefully, but the other option — hanging it on the other side of Harley's cage, would have meant we'd be slipping past Bob the ficus tree several times a day to refill the snacks. We decided this would be more annoying (especially for Bob) than shaking snack sqeezin's off our heads, and vacuuming the couch much more often than I ever used to vacuum anything else in my life, ever. Besides, we're already used to getting splashed here during Harley's occasional bath in his water dish. And, since this is the couch that Harley eats, we're clearly not too worried about its longevity.
Soon, we'll finish attaching dish rack parts. Then I'll take some nice pictures with the new camera. And then we'll submit Harley's Art Project to the Ikea Hacker