30 Years of Quality Cat Furniture

Dear Cherished Feline Design Customer,

I'm pleased to be able to share this news with you today....Feline Design is 30 Years old. Simply put, this company has been out here in Pennsylvania, day after day, year after year, under the same ownership, and outfitting your cats for three decades!

It's a little mind-boggling, to be honest. As with many companies, mine was begun a bit timidly - quite tentatively, to be sure. In a nutshell, it was at a time when my future wife & I were renting a house a little north of Philadelphia, next to an apartment complex. As you may imagine, there were PLENTY of stray cats around. We found ourselves taking care of a couple, then a handful, and then...well, probably 11 or so. All with names, and all with problems, baggage, nasty infections, diseases.... YOU NAME IT! And so, since we could never bring them all into our house, I began making little houses and shelters for them. And my first little version of a compact cat condo was also created. I called it the "Paw Pad" and at some point in 1986, I took it to some pet stores and sold a few. It was pretty much of a flop, actually, and as I recall now, the repeat business was just not there.

One store owner - guy named Charlie - suggested that I make some scratching posts. So, taking my cue from Charlie, I started producing scratching posts, using, as anyone else would, carpet and wood. They were just good, strong scratching posts. And with all of my youthful energy and intensity, I started to add store after store to my bourgeoning dealer network.

At some point, I began wrapping sisal rope around the posts, and started to specialize in sisal scratchers. My trusty wood cutting guy and a very competent all around mechanical whiz, Bill, designed a couple of rope wrapping machines for me some time in the early 1990's. As I still use these today, I often wonder where Bill is. I'm going to need him when they begin to fall apart! Lucky for me, I'm also just handy enough to keep this excellent machinery working. I'd like you to know, though, that Bill had no small part in the creation of your sisal column!

Meanwhile, inside the rented house, we had a few cats who had found their way in. One cat in particular, was Eddie. Eddie was a mutt - a mixed breed. He was certainly part Maine Coon, and he was easily 20 pounds. Eddie had such a playful way about him and was always getting into some mischievous trouble of one sort or another... and he was my cat, to be sure. I was the one who had rescued him from the highest little branches of a very tall tree in a cold, driving rain. And ever since then, I was also his human. Eddie was the one who taught me that a cat needs a solid and stable cat tree - one that'll stand up to a rambunctious critter without falling over. He knocked over post after post! Finally, I arrived at the right formula for something that a big cat would want to use again & again. And I can tell you without hesitation that I owe much of my expertise in this business to my dear Eddie. We had some great fun, some exciting adventures, countless naps, all cuddled up, and many tender moments. One interesting fact about Eddie: He had a few nasty allergies that wreaked havoc on his beautiful fur, and he had bare patches that itched him to no end and were really hard for him to live with. But one day, our very competent vet - also a professor at the University of PA's vet school - concocted a regimen of hyper desensitization treatments for Eddie. This meant that we had to give him shots containing small amounts of the substances that he was reacting to... on a weekly basis, as I recall. This cured Eddie for good. And he soon had his fabulous coat back for good!

In the mid- 1990's, my independent dealers began to drop like flies, due to the proliferation of the Petco and Petsmart chains. Without going into too much detail, both of these chains almost brought an end to Feline Design, as well. This is why I vowed NEVER to offer my products to them, and will never participate in any way in allowing the Feline Design line to be sold on their shelves.


The Paw Pad (center)

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "nothing personal, just business" before. Well this is VERY personal. I also learned a valuable lesson during those very troubled times: It's best to stick with the INDEPENDENT PET SUPPLY STORES. I follow this philosophy to this day. Although I have very few retail dealers any more.

These days, my righteous product is sold in a very small number of stores in a few nearby states. I'm very interested in knowing about your great, thriving, trusty, independently owned pet supply store, too. We really do need more stores. So please get in touch if you know of a prospective dealer near you OK? Especially if you happen to be in PA or nearby ( including, but not limited to NJ, MD, NY, CT, DC & VA ).


Eddie


Jasper & Gateway

This leads me to tell you how Feline Design comes to be here online, and offering this line of products to you. With the growth of the internet ( late '90's ), I knew that if Feline Design was to survive, the company needed to have a web site. In short, I became my own web master, and learned what I needed to know in little bits and pieces (I often tell folks that my web site is cobbled together with twine & popsicle sticks).

Since I'd marketed many other things all of my adult life, and was formally trained in marketing, as well, the process of selling my company to the cat-loving public was something very comfortable to me. But I really need to emphasize that no formal training is a substitution for a long history of putting out a solid, honestly- made product, and treating your customers like they deserve to be treated!

Today, this company is largely a web-based entity. And my customer base consists of good people like you who love your cats, & who as you do, recognize that these critters need the better things in life: healthy food, excellent vet care, a place called home that's safe & secure to curl up in, and of course, great things to scratch on, climb on, and to sleep on.

And so, as I enter my 31st year of business, I should first tell you that I am in excellent health & full of seemingly boundless energy (especially for a man rapidly approaching 60). And you can look ahead to hearing about my company's 35th anniversary celebration some time in 2021. Right now, though - in 2016 - we have some busines to attend to! If you've taken the time to read my rambling story, I will now thank you for that, and for supporting this wacky venture over the years. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU! You have played a part in maintaining my sanity, to be sure (this has just been a blast!), and I can probably also thank you for helping to keep me in really fine shape, as well. This profession is hard on the body, and I embrace the rigorous activities that challenge my slight frame every day ( OK, maybe with just a touch of arthritis...heh, heh, heh) .

Your 30th Anniversary Discount:

As long as I can find your name ( or more likely - recognize it! ) in my records as a previous customer, I'll be delighted to be able to extend to you a one-time discount of 20% on a single purchase of any regular model of cat furniture (exclusive of the shipping charges, which I have no way to discount ). On do-it-yourself items, including rope, your discount will be 15%. Your purchase can be any size, though (as long as it's within my shop's capacity). And I'll honor this discount until the end of 2016, when I'll begin the next exciting 5 years of serving good cat loving people & their cats. Just let me know when you place your order that you're interested in celebrating with me. Also, I should add a small note of caution: The last anniversary sale in 2011 resulted in such a huge influx of orders from all over the country that I needed to extend my typical 2 week shipping turnaround to a little more than 3 weeks ( UPDATE: as of 11/8/16, there's no significant delay). As I recall, though, I got most of the early orders out the door very swiftly. So choose your cat gear now & let me know that you're in on this party!

Once again, please allow me to express my sincerest and most humble gratitude for being able to count of your patronage over the years, and for your purchases putting food on our table (mine & Mrs. Catman's) and in our bowls (for Jasper & Gateway, my little product managers and companions, now 11 years old, and thriving).

Warm Regards to All,

-Tommy
T Westerhold
owner, Feline Design Cat Furniture