Title:
SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR AN ANIMAL SHELF
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable, lightweight, collapsible pet shelf for the attachment above a windowsill, to attach on a window or other smooth surface, generally comprised of a square or rectangular frame open in the middle to accept a soft fabric-like material suitable for a pet such as a domestic cat. The middle fabric is suitable for the animal to rest, view or sleep. The shelf is generally to be above ground level, often placed on or near a window for the pets viewing pleasure. The use of suction cups attached to the frame as well as on the ends of the front support cables or support arms, which attach to a surface above the shelf, to create a level shelf for the pet.



Inventors:
Howard, James Edward (Seattle, WA, US)
Application Number:
12/141576
Publication Date:
02/19/2009
Filing Date:
06/18/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B47/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070017884Modular wine rackJanuary, 2007Yang
20090255887MOBILE SIGN RACK AND SIGN STORAGE UNITOctober, 2009Mrowiec
20080093314Crockery Basket For A DishwasherApril, 2008Classen
20100065523Slide Through ShelfMarch, 2010Northrup Jr. et al.
20050230334Portable folding field stand for holding paintball markersOctober, 2005Macdonald et al.
20060289367Portable hair care tool caddyDecember, 2006Cossey
20090194493PUSHER TRAY ADAPTERAugust, 2009Calpin
20070144985Vertically adjustable utensil holderJune, 2007Kaczmarek
20100036675Order-picking method and order-picking rack accessible from two sidesFebruary, 2010Schäfer
20060243692Shelf supporting bracketNovember, 2006Proffitt
20050082182Storage device for compact disk boxApril, 2005Mcbrady



Primary Examiner:
HAWN, PATRICK D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOWE GRAHAM JONES, PLLC (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A cat shelf comprising: a shelf having a first and a second suction cup; a first support wire coupled to the shelf at a first end and to a third suction cup at a second end; a second support wire coupled to the shelf at a first end and to a fourth suction cup at a second end; and wherein when the shelf is attached to a surface using the first and second suction cups and the first support wire and second support wires are extended upwardly and attached to the surface a domestic animal can be supported by the shelf.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/944,726 as filed on Jun. 18, 2007; which is incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Domestic cats often enjoy perching or resting near windows, on windowsills, and/or on cat shelves attached to windowsills. This allows them to be able to look out the window as they rest. It also gives them a feeling of being outside. Many perches are attached to the windowsill itself, hook under a closed window, or in between the window and windowsill for attachment. Often these animal perches are covered with a type of soft fabric like sheepskin, fleece, a soft blanket or other soft material cats particularly like. Some of these shelves also incorporate soft foam under the fabric or the use of foam-backed fabric to further soften the usually rigid shelf. This makes the shelf feel more bedlike to the animal.

There are a number of animal window perches available on the marketplace today. One of the more popular shelves is of a simple design incorporating pressed wood for the shelf and round metal wire for the shelf support. Generally, there is a rectangular piece of flat wood. There is usually a foam pad on the wood surface as well as a fitted fabric covering over the foam. Often the covering is a foam-backed fabric. This padded protection is laid or fitted on top of the wood board in its final assembly. There are two metal wire brackets shaped in a “U” which fit under the shelf on the right and left side for the shelf's horizontal support. It is intended for this shelf that the wood platform be screwed down to the windowsill using 1, 2, 3 or more screws on the back of the shelf towards the window. The “U” shaped metal is bent at 90-degree angles with approximate equal distance between the bends. On one leg of the “U”, the metal is bent tightly back against itself to create a slot effect. There are generally 2 brackets included per shelf. The brackets are attached on the left and right underside of the shelf with the “slotted” part of the bracket to the shelf's underside using supplied thumbscrews with large fender style washers screwed into predrilled holes on the underside of the wood shelf. This slotted “U” metal design allows for this bracket to slide in and out on the underside of the shelf for a universal fit on various windowsill designs and dimensions. There are often small suction cups mounted to the end of the angled round metal brackets where they come in contact with the supporting wall under the windowsill.

The disadvantages of these shelves are that not all of these window shelves/perches are easily adjustable and some are not adjustable at all making it difficult for the consumer to fashion it to their specific window application. It is often true that some of these shelves will only fit specific window and windowsill sizes as they generally come in only one size big enough to fit a domestic cat. There are smaller pet shelves, which are often too small or cramped for most ordinary domestic cats. Some shelves or perches also are much too rigid and/or uncomfortable for pets, often needing additional padding or support. Other disadvantages of these types of shelves is the need for some sort of fastener(s) to set the shelf up, often screws or the use of sticky backed hook and loop (Velcro). Usually there is some sort of defacing to the surface where the shelf rests or attaches to the attaching surface such as the windowsill or wall. Also when the soft fabric covering is applied to the shelf, often the fabric must be tucked under the shelf on the window side prior to attaching the shelf to the sill making it difficult to remove the covering for cleaning. Another disadvantage is that the shelf platform is generally made of a wood or pressed wood product making it difficult to clean cat urine or feces, lice, mites or fleas from the wood, additionally the smell from cat urine and feces is very hard to remove once it comes in contact with the wood or wood product. If cleaning products are used to remove the smell they often leave a toxic residue and/or smell for a long time making the shelf unsuitable for pets. Quite often when the wood becomes to bad to use, the shelf is discarded creating undue early waste for landfills. Another disadvantage of these shelves is that special tools are often required for their setup, use, or take down such as a drill, hammer, or screwdriver as well as certain types of fasteners like screws, hooks, nails or Velcro. Also there are usually limited locations for the use of these shelves because of their need to be attached to something like a windowsill, between a window and its sill or under a window. Furthermore, when the shelf is attached under a windowsill, the window become unusable for ventilation since the shelf is held in place by the window being closed down on the shelf. Another disadvantage to this type of shelf is that window coverings such as curtains or blinds may need to be redesigned because the shelf tends to be at a height above the sill making the window dimensions different after the installation of the shelf.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Systems and methods for an animal shelf are disclosed herein. A cat shelf includes a shelf having a first and a second suction cup. A first support wire coupled to the shelf at a first end and to a third suction cup at a second end and a second support wire coupled to the shelf at a first end and to a fourth suction cup at a second end. Wherein when the shelf is attached to a surface using the first and second suction cups and the first support wire and second support wires are extended upwardly and attached to the surface a domestic animal can be supported by the shelf.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred and alternative embodiments of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the following drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective of the shelf in one embodiment attached to a glass window;

FIG. 2 is a view of the shelf without the fabric hammock to depict the parts of the frame;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of one side and back of the shelf frame to show a bushing inside the “T” fitting where the suction cup #52 fits;

FIG. 4 is a view of the fabric hammock showing the looped and hemmed edges;

FIG. 5 is a view of the suction cups used in the invention; and

FIG. 6 is an end view of the shelf to show the shelf support cable.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

In accordance to the described pet shelves or perches, window or wall shelves in general for pet animals, a window shelf made large enough for the domestic cat with a soft hammock like seat is provided herein. It is the object of this invention to provide a portable, lightweight, waterproof, moveable shelf for an animal to rest, sit, perch or view, in a window or wall location. It is also the object of this invention to be easy to setup or taken down, removable or moveable, without the use of tools, be set at any particular height or angle to the window or smooth non-porous surface it is attached to. It is also the object for this invention to be easily collapsible in its entirety, piece-by-piece for storage or shipping. Further it is the object for this invention to be washable entirely without undo deterioration of it parts and components. It is also the object of this invention to be used so as not to cause destruction to its attaching surface, in effect the use of screws, nails, glue, adhesive tape or the like for its use. Further it is the object of this invention to have a multipurpose use both indoors and/or outdoors as well as not being limited to specific locations for its use.

In its preferred embodiment the Kitty Cot is a flat panel rectangular shelf. The frame is made of plastic pipe or similar tube stock including metals, consisting of four lengths of pipe and four couplings or fittings, two of the fittings being 90-degree couplings and two fittings being “T” couplings. Two lengths of pipe are generally shorter and two are generally slightly longer to create the rectangular shape of the frame, though in some embodiments the frame can be a square. The lengths of pipe are joined together with the use of the described fittings or couplings. There is a single piece of rectangular, breathable, waterproof, plastic coated fabric that is hemmed on all four edges to fit inside of the frame acting as a sling-like hammock. The fabric panel is hemmed on all four sides in an open loop fashion to accept the four pieces of pipe, which make up the frame. There is a front and back to the shelf. The front of the shelf has a 90-degree fitting on the each end of the front pipe, while the back of the shelf has a “T” fitting on each end of the pipe. The two shorter sidepieces of pipe are inserted into the couplings of the front and back pipe assemblies to complete the rectangular frame. Inserted in the open ends of the “T” fittings is a short piece of pipe acting as a bushing to accept a large diameter suction cup that has a molded stud to fit into this short piece of pipe. There are two cables attached to the front pipe of the shelf by means of a crimped loop in the cable, which slides over the front pipe during assembly. The two cables are positioned on the left and right side of the front pipe just outside of the fabric hammock. On the other end of each cable is another small crimped loop; an attached “S” hook, connecting to a large suction cup, which has a molded closed loop on the back of the suction cup. These support cables hold the shelf level to the vertical surface the shelf is attached to by means of applying the suction cups to the vertical surface above the shelf. The shelf is positioned into place on the surface it is being attached to. The shelf is pushed in place from the front with slight pressure to engage the suction cups located on the back of the shelf. Holding the shelf at a level or perpendicular angle to the attaching surface, the front cables are then positioned above the shelf whereby engaging the suction cups to the vertical surface above the shelf.

A shelf 10 in accordance with one embodiment is shown attached to a window 12 in FIG. 1. With this embodiment, the shelf is generally comprised of a frame 14 as shown in FIG. 2 and a fabric hammock 20 as shown in FIG. 4. The frame 14 is generally rectangular or square and has a defined front and back and two sides as shown in FIG. 1. The frame 14 is generally made of a lightweight round pipe stock such as plastic or metal. There is a defined opening inside of the frame 14 to accept a fabric hammock 20 as seen in FIG. 4. The fabric hammock 20 is generally made of a lightweight, durable, washable, waterproof, plastic coated material designed for indoor as well as outdoor use, to provide a comfortable resting place for a domestic cat. The resting area is attached to the frame 14, which creates a sling hammock 20 and is generally lower in the center as it sags slightly, which gives the cat a feeling of being lower and/or more comfortable. Other types of fabric can be used to make the fabric hammock 20 as well as an additional piece of soft fabric to lie over the fabric hammock 20 such as sheepskin, fleece or a soft blanket which cats particularly enjoy resting on.

The shelf can be secured to a window or any surface by any suitable means but in its preferred embodiment the shelf is attached to a window or non-porous surface with the use of suction cups 52, 50 as shown in FIGS. 1,2,5, and 6. The frame 14 consists generally of ten parts. There are two end pieces of pipe 28 as well as two front and back pieces of pipe 42 as shown in FIG. 2. To connect these pipes together to make a frame 14 there are two 90-degree fittings 18 on the front right and left side of the frame 14, and two “T” fittings 30 on the back right and left of the frame as shown in FIG. 1. In the assembly of the shelf 10, the end pipes 28 are inserted into the sewn hem on the short side of the fabric hammock 20. The front and back pipes 42 are then inserted into the sewn hem on the long side of the fabric hammock 20. In its preferred embodiment the two support cables 15 as shown in FIG. 6 have a defined larger crimped 22 loop, which slides over the front pipe 42 on the left and right side prior to attaching the front pipe-fittings 18. The front pipe fittings 18 are now attached to the front left and right sides of the front pipe 42, then connected to the front left and right side pipes 28 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The rear pipe 42 is connected to the center hole of the “T” fitting 30 then connected to the right and left side pipes 28. There are two short pieces of pipe 75 as shown in FIG. 3 inserted into the end or back of the open holes of the “T” fittings 30 to act as a bushing for the acceptance of the suction cups 50 as shown in FIG. 5. The suction cups 50 are inserted into the end of the “T” fittings 30 as seen in FIG. 6. On the other unattached ends of the support cables 15 are small crimped 22 loops. Attached to these loops is a closed “S” hook 33, which is also attached to a closed loop suction cup 52. This method of attaching the suction cups 50, 52 to the invention allows for ease of changing or replacing the suction cups.

The advantages of this shelf is that it is lightweight, made of durable plastic pipe or metal for the frame as well as a durable plastic coated fabric for the hammock. It is easy to assemble and/or disassemble, making it compact for shipping or storage. There is no need for special tools to assemble, setup, take down or disassemble the shelf. The shelf is easy to put up and/or in place hence the use of suction cups on the shelf for its attachment. There is no defacing of the surfaces it attaches to since there is no need for screws, nails, hooks, glue, fasteners, hook and loop (Velcro), etc. for its use and attachment. The shelf can be put at any height or angle to the attaching surface. The shelf can attach to slider windows, double hung windows, sliding glass doors picture windows. The windows or doors can be useable for ventilation with the shelf attached to the glass free or clear of the opening features of said components. Replacement parts are easily replaced due to the common pipe tube and fittings used in the invention, additionally there is no need for fasteners or glues to assemble the shelf. The fabric hammock is easily cleaned without disassembling the shelf because it is open webbed and plastic coated. The hammock is also easily replaceable because the frame can be disassembled. The fabric hammock is sling-like with the sides higher than the center making the animal more comfortable than a normal flat cushioned board other shelves use. The shelf can be made in different sizes for different window and/or wall fits. Two or more shelves can be set on a flat vertical surface to create a step effect for the pet as well as allow for more than one pet to perch on the same wall or window. The shelf can be used indoors as well as outdoors without undue deterioration due to its waterproof qualities. The invention has a wide variety of uses and/or applications beyond the use as a pet shelf. No wood products are used in the invention making it more desirable since cat feces or urine will not penetrate the plastic as easily as wood. The plastic frame is recyclable.

In alternate embodiments the shelf could be used for, but is not limited to: outdoor or indoor pool shelf for toys and supplies; sauna or hot tub shelf for supplies, reading materials, drinks or chemicals; plant shelf for indoor and/or outdoor use; watering shelf for plants; shower shelf for soaps and shower supplies; sink shelf for washing fruits and vegetables; towel rack or holder; shelf for boats to hold maps, beverages or supplies; shelf for motor homes to hold supplies; spice rack for the kitchen; soap rack for the laundry room; shelf to ripen fruit on; office shelf for office supplies; photo shelf to hold pictures; clothing shelf to hold clothes; shoe rack; clothes drying shelf, window food dehydrator; outdoors drink holder; bookshelf; magazine shelf, sunshade for plants; cut flower shelf; and/or a sun-visor shelf.

While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, as noted above, many changes can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is not limited by the disclosure of the preferred embodiment.





 
Previous Patent: CABINET

Next Patent: PANEL TURNER FOR A GANTRY CRANE