Checking in to this cat hotel is easy, but it may be hard to get your furry friend to stay a while

By Moira Bailey
Updated February 05, 2010 12:45 PM

Cool looking kitty condos can often be hard to find. The market is flooded with shag carpet-covered co-ops which are plush but often tan, bulky and just plain ugly. I found what I was looking for in the Caboodle – it’s a cardboard cat-condo that’s easily assembled and comes complete with cutout cat toys. It was nice to have a stylish, more compact (and green – made with recyclable content and fully recyclable) alternative to those clunkier contraptions.

The completed Caboodle ($29.95-$32.95) is 20 inches wide by 30 inches high, arrayed on three stackable floors. It has a clean white exterior with holes along the front and sides for peeking and poking – and, of couse, holes inside to facilitate floor-to-floor climbing. Assembly was a quick, 1-2-3 affair. We tucked a towel in the bottom floor to cushion our cat’s entrance and waited. Not surprisingly, Rose crawled in and stayed for a bit.

However, the return visits were few and far between. We tried a plusher covering for the floor – but that made it a little harder for the cat to squeeze in. We tried enticing her to crawl through the hole between first and second “floors” for some upstairs visits. We even removed the top “penthouse” floor to encourage exploration.

No dice. Rose didn’t actively seek out the Caboodle. Even the three “Tumblorz” cat toys, little cardboard spheres, fetched little response; the toys scattered across the floor like forgotten jacks (I accidentally stepped on one, and flattened it out).

We wondered if Rose, a medium-size tabby with an indoor cat’s paunch, didn’t like it because she’s too big – but the Caboodle’s made of thick cardboard to support “cats of all sizes” according to promotional materials.

Maybe a pair of cats – or ideally kittens – would have found the Caboodle more captivating. We’ve taken it down already, acknowledging that Rose is more likely to seek out a lap or a radiator to call home.