Send your kitty off to a space nap in this unique, limited edition CATSA Lander Mark1 indoor cat bed and support production of affordable, sustainable community cat shelters.
CATSA is a woman-owned, Pittsburgh-based small business on a mission to manufacture an affordable and easy to use community cat shelter. To help fund the manufacturing of that shelter they’ve created the coolest, space-themed, cat-centric design objects possible.
Proceeds from their design work have always helped to build hundreds of homemade community cat shelters to keep local outdoor cats warm and help fund cat rescue and advocacy initiatives in our local community. Through that experience they’ve designed the definitive manufactured cat shelter to distribute worldwide.
I’ll mention right up front that I know Samantha personally, and I’ve seen her at work at clinics and spaghetti dinners and online and in person, and know her dedication to animals. I was so excited to hear about her project, in part because I know her experience with community cats is extensive, and her standards are high. And the idea of a shelter I don’t have to make myself, finally!
Years of experience caring for community cats
CFO (Chief Feline Officer) Samantha Ginsburg has spent decades helping community cats have a better life through TNR (trap-neuter-return) for hundreds of cats in her own colonies as well as TNR for other cats in need in the Pittsburgh area.
In addition to running a family business, she cared for colonies at work and at home and annually sponsors Homeless Cat Management Team (HCMT) TNR and low-cost spay/neuter clinics to provide opportunities for cat lovers and cat caretakers to provide basic veterinary services to owned, rescued and community cats.
Beginning in 2012 Samantha volunteered her talents to Kopy Kat Sanctuary to help rescue, foster and place more cats in adoptive homes. Publicity, outreach and social networking, setting up and managing Facebook, a website, regular newsletters, merchandise, raffles, mobile clinics, even attending borough council meetings on behalf of community cats, and funding spay and neuter services for pet owners who could not afford it from sales of her homemade shelters and sometimes out of her own pocket, organizing and volunteered with publicity, outreach and soliciting auction items for the annual Kopy Kat Spaghetti Dinner, Samantha got Kopy Kat “on the map.”
In 2016, she was chosen for the Community Partner of the Year Award by the East Pittsburgh Community Development Corporation for the years of mobile spay/neuter and vaccination clinics she had organized in East Pittsburgh, as well as working with the East Pittsburgh Police Abused and Neglected Animal Fund to organize fundraisers, place animals in need in foster and adoptive homes, and educating the public about animal care and welfare.
The first plastic tote shelter design
But it was at the 2014 Kopy Kat Spaghetti Dinner that someone asked her help in feeding another colony in East Pittsburgh. “There was no shelter, water or electricity and winter was coming,” Samantha said. “These cats needed warm, protective shelter to survive our damp East Coast winters.”
She started building cat shelters out of donated old pickup cabs and plastic storage totes. “As fast as I could get them made, other caregivers would need them. I just could not make them fast enough,” she added. “This is when I realized that there was a real need for affordable, well-made cat shelters.”
Over the years she developed and refined a process to fabricate well-insulated tote shelters in an assembly line fashion—otherwise known as a “shelter party.” These homemade shelters are still being built in batches “whenever we can get the supplies wrangled.” They are distributed to the community in collaboration with local cat rescues, but are not for sale. However, the designs, templates, resources and production details for these homemade cat shelters are available for free on the CATSA website to help inspire and guide other rescue groups interested in scaling up their shelter building efforts. Visit their DIY Shelter Guide (Extreme Edition).
Which led to the design of the ultimate cat shelter
“One largely unmet need that CATSA volunteers identified as critically important to maintaining healthy community cat colonies is high quality, affordable outdoor shelters,” Samantha said. “Cats are crafty survivors, but severe winters and exposure can kill any cat that does not have a secure, dry place to sleep when the temperature drops.”
The ideal outdoor cat shelter needs to be durable, insulated, weather-tight, tip/roll-resistant and have two exit door options. “We put a ton of time and resources into designing our own low-cost shelter,” Samantha said. “We secured a patent-pending status on our design and have potential manufacturers lined up for what I believe will be the best outdoor shelter yet.” She has secured a patent-pending status for the design of the shelter seen below and has potential manufacturers lined up, committed to fabricating these shelters in the USA as cost effectively as possible, while keeping the shelter affordable, easy to use and environmentally friendly.
“Fabrication on the scale we aim to attain will require specialized molds and tooling,” Samantha explained, and said she had planned to help cover the tooling expenses and start-up costs by Kickstarter. “With Covid-19 and the state of our economy, we simply did not feel that 2020 was the right time to launch on a crowd-funding platform given the stress and financial upheaval that so many people were/are enduring and decided it would be best to put this on a temporary pause,” she remarked. “We hope to launch our Kickstarter later this year.”
Enter the CATSA Lander Mark1
She and her team decided instead to focus on making “the coolest, limited-edition, space-themed, cat-centric design objects possible and invest our proceeds from that in moving the Shelter Project forward.” The CATSA Limited Object Projects Lander Mark1 lunar lander-inspired luxury cat bed came to be, and could lead to other similar projects.
The Mark1 was created and fabricated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by “cat-loving design nerds,” and developed in collaboration with the Iontank design team, a specialized design studio that develops interactive art installations and software systems for Fortune 100 companies, award-winning ad agencies, world-renowned museums, industry-leading exhibition firms and inspiring event producers.
The product of over six months of persistent research, trial, and “quite a lot of error,” CATSA and the Iontank design team created a series of prototypes that evaluated proportions, materials, stability and durability with the help of their rambunctious Catsanaut test pilots. “Sadly, many Landers did not survive the rigorous process and several pilots were suspended after a large cache of catnip was found stowed aboard a particularly savaged prototype,” Samantha reported.
The Mark1 components are crafted from durable, innovative materials by artisans wielding digital and analog tools. Each Lander is hand fit and finished to ensure quality. Only 99 of the brushed aluminum Mark1 cat pods and 9 artist’s proofs will be produced with the debut colorway and material combination. The proceeds from the Mark 1 will be reinvested in community TNR (Trap, Neuter & Release) projects and the production of the CATSA Shelter.
If you’d like to send your cat to space with this unique and limited-edition cat bed, and help support the manufacture of a durable, safe and affordable community cat shelter, you can purchase it here.
Visit CATSAMart for other products to support the Shelter Project too
Branded and finely-designed cat kickers, kicksticks, apparel and more are available on the CATSAMart page, like these CATSA Kinetic Kickers.
“These vibrant sticks may cause rapid bunny kicks upon feline contact. The euphoric episode is typically followed by an irresistible wave of deep-space, catatonic chill. Made out of brilliant, Greenguard certified, Maharam fabric that is 78% post-industrial recycled material. Each Kinetic Kicker contains a generous heap of primo, locally grown CATSANip blended into poly stuffing to convert your fur babies into space kittens.
Choose from 3 delicious flavors of two-tone fabric: Gaia Green, Plasma Purple and Orbital Orange, or buy all 3 for a feisty feline fiesta! Each Kinetic Kicker measures 3” in diameter x 11” long.
Sent with love and a sprinkle of CATSANip space dust marinade in the shipping bag.”
A message from the CFO
It’s estimated that approximately a million cats are unnecessarily euthanized each year. This is not at all acceptable in a “civilized” society and is truly heartbreaking. Through ignorance and lack of humane, civic-minded policies, humans have created this problem; therefore, it is up to us to do what we can to try to remedy this dire situation. We must work together to educate and advocate about the plight of the feral/stray cat. No cat would ever choose this life.
I am grateful to have met such a diverse community of wonderful, compassionate, selfless people involved in rescue. The ear tipped CATSA logo honors the endless compassion and quiet dedication of community cat caretakers everywhere. The more you learn about their selfless, long-term commitments, the more amazing these community cat heroes are.
We truly need humane policies at the local, state and national level as well as education and funding to tackle the problem collectively. Until this day comes, I will do everything in my power to be a voice for the voiceless and provide these community cats with shelter.
For more information and to go shopping
Visit www.catsa.co for details on the outdoor cat shelter and Mark1 cat bed, to shop for other cool CATSA-branded items, and to learn more about caring for community cats and TNR opportunities in the Pittsburgh region.
All images for this article were provided by CATSA.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Great Rescues Day Book:
Portraits, Rescue Stories, Holidays and Events, Essential Feline Information, All in One Book
Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!