Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Kitty Safe Bed Slideout

Traveling with a curious cat has some challenges. Thankfully, our cat Bobbi is an indoor, litter box trained cat. But there was one issue that caused us a little concern: what is under the bed slideout that may cause her harm. Probably nothing? But the small space and the acute angle prevented me from seeing anything under there except for part of an electrical junction box and some electrical conduit. That was enough for me.

The only time that is an issue is when the slide in IN. When the slide is out, the pedestal or "frame" of the bed's headboard butts up against the oudside wall closing off any access to that area. However when we are underway and the slide is in, there is an opening about 4 1/2 inche high and about 32 incles long that appears to be made for nothihg other than a curious cat.

I have been able to take care of this situation in our Bounder. I made what I call a kitty fence. On the floor on each side of the bed, I attached a piece of wood that is 4 inches high and 3 feet long to the floor. The end butts upagainst the outside wall under the head of the bed and runs parallel with the bed pedestal. (What I am calling the pedestal is the wood frame under the bed that the matress sits on and it forms the storage area under the bed.. this is kind of hard for me to explain without drawing a picture!) I attached the board to the floor with a couple of 1 1/2 inch L brackets like you would use to attach a small shelf to the wall. I mounted it on the floor leaving a little less than 1/2 inch between the board and the bed pedestal to allow room for the bed to slide without touching it, but it is close enough that the cat can't get behind it. I used 1/4 inch thick by 4 inch wide finished shelf board from Lowe's so it would look finished and I wouldn't have to cut and sand it. I stained it with Cherry stain to match the other wood in the Bounder.It seems to work pretty good so far. When the bed is in, it completely blocks the space under the bed. When the bed is out.. it is barely noticeable because the wood color blends in .I'm not much of a technical writer, so this whole description may not make sense to to anyone that hasn't seen it, but I dont know how to describe it any better. If anyone would like more info, you can email me and maybe I could send a picture or maybe I will just post a picture here later when I have time to take one.

Like I said before, there may be absolutely nothing dangerous under there, but knowing our cat..she would get under there and refuse to come out when we were ready to set up camp and put the slides out. I would rather she not get under there at all.


During one of our trips we had pulled into a rest stop late at night to get a few hours of rest before continuing early the next morning.  Whenever we do this, we do not put the slides out.  Both the bedroom slide and the living room slide remain in the IN position for travel. 

About 3:30 AM, we were awakened by the sound of the cats meow.  She is not a vocal cat, so I got up to see what the problem was.  I found her in the narrow space between the living room slide (in the in position) and the rear wall of the living room.  Due to the flange on the slide, she had gotten in there but could not get out.  How did this happen?

The curious little creature with the good night vision, had jumped on the top of the drivers seat, seen the nice little passageway on TOP of the slide, jumped up there, gone the length of the slide on top of it, then jumped down into the space between the slide and the living room wall.  Curious??!!  I would say so.  

But how in the world will we get her out?  After looking at a number of impossible options, it finally dawned on me that there is a window at the rear of this living room slide that faces toward the rear.  When the slide is out, it opens toward the back of the coach.  I was able to open that window and barely reach her collar down in that space and pull her out.  Wow!

Now, whenever we travel, we take a foam pillow and stuff it in the space at the top of the slide over the drivers head.  Yes, it is one more thing you have to remember to do.  But it works.

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