The discreet catwalk for Swiss kitties

An object typical of Swiss residential areas, the cat ladder, is finally receiving the attention it deserves.

They are a typical yet overlooked urban development phenomenon – cat ladders in Swiss suburbia. Nowhere else on the planet do they discreetly blend into the urban landscape in such incredible numbers and wide-ranging designs. Cats are provided with an accessible link between roaming freely outdoors and the warmth of a human home with great architectural skill and craftsmanship: spiral staircases, narrow and perilously teetering bridges, climbing aids in artistically designed zigzag patterns and fur-covered miniature balconies screwed into house facades. However, despite the great number of artistic structures installed for cats, no research has been carried out into cat ladders as yet. That is now about to change. The author and graphic designer Brigitte Schuster is currently working on a reference book about cat ladders and the relationship between urban residents and their domestic pets. A whimsical project? Schuster is deadly serious. She is looking at cat ladders from a sociological, architectural and aesthetic perspective. Her exploration of the topic raises the question as to whether the ladders are ultimately more important to people than the animals. They highlight a person’s need to provide the animal with access to the home. Cats would probably cope in everyday life without the climbing aids. Schuster’s artistically produced book will be published in German and English at the start of 2019 but can be pre-ordered now.

Marc Lettau


Comments (2)
  • Liliane Enjolras
    Liliane Enjolras at 26.07.2018
    Bonjour, désolée, mais je ne suis pas d'accord avec votre phrase : "Les chats pourraient sans doute vivre au quotidien sans ces aides."
    Les chats ont besoin de liberté et, suivant l'étage où se trouve l'appartement de leurs maîtres, ils ne peuvent pas aller à l'extérieur comme bon leur semble. On voit trop souvent des cas de chats qui ont sauté dans le vide et sont soit morts soit retrouvés estropiés. En plus, ces "escaliers" sont un terrain de jeux idéal et leur santé est ainsi améliorée, car ils bougent, contrairement aux chats continuellement enfermés. Je trouve cette initiative excellente et je vais sans tarder fabriquer une "échelle de poules" pour mon chat.
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  • Patricia Wyser
    Patricia Wyser at 22.08.2018
    Cats are estimated to kill ONE MILLION BIRDS EVERY DAY across Australia. Feral cats are estimated to kill 316 million birds and PET CATS kill 61 million birds every year and more than 99% are native birds. (References: Australian Veterinary Journal Volume 96 No4, April 2018). Reading the Swiss Review article with the photos made me understand why I seldom come across wildlife during my two-yearly visits to my native home Switzerland. Long live the wildlife!!
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