The only tool you will need to assemble your Cat Solarium is an Allen wrench, which is provided. In about 20 minutes time, your cat will be in their Solarium and be enjoying the outdoors. Your basic Cat Solarium will contain the following components:
A wood top and a bottom, 2 sides, a safety bar (top bar for the back panel enclosure), 16 dowel rods, plexiglass top, an Allen wrench, 8 steel screws/ 12 if you ordered the cat perch. Velcro and plastic to enclose the gap between the Solarium and the edge of the window, (if requested).
1) The first step is to attach the sides to the bottom of the box. Align one of the sides so the narrow groove in the side aligns with the groove in the bottom of the solarium. Use your fingers first to start the screws. Screw one of them in a few turns and then insert the other screw. Use the Allen wrench to tighten the screws. Repeat attaching the corresponding side.
2) Place the top onto the sides. Insert two of the screws into one side of the top. Align the screws with the screw inserts in the top of the side. Again, start the screws with your fingers first and tighten them with the Allen wrench. Insert all of the dowel rods through the top, into the bottom. Remove the film on the plexiglass top, (usually blue wrap), and place it onto the box. Your cat should be in the Solarium at this point, completely in your way.
3)Align the holes in the plexiglass with screw inserts in the top of the Solarium. Ensure o-rings are still on screws. Start the screws with your fingers and tighten with the Allen wrench. Tighten these screws to ensure the plexiglass top is not loose. If loose, your cat may push top up and cause a dowel rod to come out. Also, being tight, it will keep water from getting into holes.
Your Cat Solarium is ready to be placed into the window.
CARE FOR YOUR BOX
At the base of each dowel rod place a bead of clear silicone or white bathroom caulk. This will keep moisture and or snow from accumulating in the dowel rod holes. DO NOT USE GLUE. *If you are going to disassemble box for any reason, dowel rods aren’t removable once glued.
*Rain-X is an excellent protectant. It can be used as often as desired. Rain-X is hydro-phobic. This meaning that water will sheen off and out of the Cat Solarium.
Placing your Cat Solarium in the window
To put the Solarium in the window, you’ll need to remove a screw from the top safety bar, which spans the top of the box. Turn the bar vertical, (up & down), and use it as a brace when installing into the window, (this is so you don’t drop the box outside the window).
“Remove one of the screws in the bar and turn the longer end pointing up. This will make it almost impossible for you to drop the box out of the window when you are installing it. The screw should be fairly tight to keep the bar in a vertical position.”
4). Open the window to approximately 14.5”-15” (Just over the height of the box). Grabbing the top bar and the other hand under or on side of the box, slide it gently into the window. Center the box inside the window as closely as you can, horizontally. The box will catch on the “stop bar” installed on the bottom of the box. Lift the box slightly (about 1”) and slide the box over the edge of the window channel- the bottom. The box should fall into place into the channel of the window. (The channel is the area where the window rests when it is completely closed.) The box will have a slight slope. The slope will be about 3-4% downward and will let the rain roll off the plexiglass top. Without the slope, water can collect inside the Solarium and cause it to get mold or mildew. Once you get it in place, lower the window onto the top of the Solarium and it will be secure.
** IMPORTANT: The window should be closed tightly down onto the box, in front of the top bars. The box cannot fall out of the window. The “safety bar” which you attached vertically should not be touching the window when lowering the window. If the safety bar is touching the window, the box needs to be leaned back slightly to be able to close the window onto the plexiglass.
If you ordered the back panel with a cat door, remove the other screw from the top safety bar. Insert the back panel into the channels on the sides. Reattach the top safety bar. Now you have a Cat Solarium.
5). Check the box to be certain it is in place properly. Make sure there is a slight slope to keep rain out of the Solarium.
6). The last step is to measure the gaps between the Solarium and your window frame. There is enough material to fill the gaps of any standard window. Since all windows are slightly different, you must measure the size of the gaps on each side of the box. This is the most complicated part of the installation. Take your time. Remember – measure twice – cut once. You should measure the rectangle size of the area on each side of the box. The plastic should be cut as accurately as possible, but it is not needed to keep the weather out. The accurate cuts are only to make it aesthetically pleasing. Cut the pieces to be about 1.5” wider than the gap between the box and window frame. After cutting the pieces place them aside.
7). Next measure where you would like the plastic to connect to the window frame. Cut one of the velcro strips to match the length of the height measured and then one of the width. There are two different types of velcro strips. One is the hook and one is the loop. The hook is coarse and the loop is soft. Cut one of each to match. Clean the area where the strips will attach to the window frame with soap and water. Let it dry and then repeat with rubbing alcohol if available. Makeup remover will work well also. Do not use fingernail polish remover – it will remove paint also! Lightly place the hook strips where you would like the plastic to connect to the window frame. If satisfied with the placement, firmly press the strips down.
8). Next, place a sheet of the plastic you cut over the area. Make small marks on the plastic, if you wish, to guide where you will attach the loop tape. Place the loop tape on the plastic. It is hard to remove the strips from the plastic so be careful to place them where they will be permanently placed. Place the plastic into place. If the plastic is acceptable, trim the excess from outside the velcro. Repeat on the opposite side. The plastic may be curved a little bit. It is impossible to create a perfect fit for every window.
There are other options you can use for the gaps, but this is the best thing found for the job temporarily. We recommend having wood or plexiglass sides cut to fit the gaps and secure with weather stripping or caulk for a permanent solution
Back Panel with cat door: Slide the plexiglass in the channels. Replace safety bar.
Cat Perch: Slide the two dowels into the holes on the back of the Solarium bottom. Line up holes on back of perch, slide onto bottom. Insert screws into the braces and screw in with the Allen wrench.
Mesh screen: attach the velcro on the screen to the velcro on the Solarium. Push them together.
Pillow: Just toss it on into the Solarium.
Weather Enclosure: Remove the plastic cover on both sides of the plexiglass panel, (we keep it on for shipping), put a small screw through the penny, insert same screw into the hole in the panel, screw into a knob on the opposite side. Repeat. You may need a screwdriver to tighten. Put the wood piece on a flat surface, slide the plexiglass panels into the channels on the sides of the wood piece, grab the knobs and place it in front of the Solarium opening, slide the weather enclosure into the Solarium. See video at bottom of page. The wood piece will fit between the front two dowel rods, the plexiglass will snap into the grooves on the sides of the Solarium. The Solarium now becomes a bay window. Do not use the weather enclosure and back panel together unless it is winter.
Installing Weather Insert