Greetings, Furriends! Mom here, posting today with permission of The Furry Bambinos.
Today is a melancholy anniversary. Mohawk, One Who Came Before, was adopted 22 years ago this evening. It is also the 11th anniversary of the date Mohawk left us to go to The Rainbow Bridge. Today, I wanted to remember and share with you about Mohawk and his cuddling.
Mohawk really liked to be close to me. He would snuggle on top of me while I was asleep.
He would snuggle next to me while I napped on the couch.
But his specialty in cuddling was jumping on my lap, then pawing at my shirt to indicate that it was time for him to climb inside my clothes with me. He would usually hang out on my lap for about 20 minutes, making me look like I was about 7 months pregnant. Then he would slither out and go about his business.
Several of The Furry Bambinos like to do their best Mohawk cuddle homages.
Ms. Floofs (Caramel) likes to sleep next to us on the bed. She also really likes to nap on top of me while I am on the sofa.
Panda Bear cuddles by telling me to lie down if I am still upright. Panda Bear’s bleat sounds very much like Mohawk’s bleat did. Then Panda Bear will purr loudly while kneading the blankets on top of my tummy, spinning slowing in a circle, then returning to face me. His rhythmic purring frequently lulls me to sleep.
This photo shows the maximum number of Bambinos photographed while cuddling. That’s Panda Bear and Cookie on Gizzy Quilts on the back of the sofa, and Sunny and Sky on my legs.
Recently, even Meerkat has become a cuddler. She has always been more reserved than her sibling Panda Bear, for which we love and respect her. However, this winter has really brought out Meerkat’s desire to snuggle. She will sometimes climb on top of me and sleep there for hours.
The best cuddle photo we have of Meerkat is this one. Padre and Meerkat are our resident Love Cats. That’s Padre with his protective arm around her.
Thanks for reading today. When one of our fur babies is at The Rainbow Bridge waiting for us, remembering their time with us is important.
Hi, “Dad” here with a report on how I built an outdoor cat shelter for Mama Rose.
If you’ve followed The Furry Bambinos, you probably know the story of Mama Rose and her 6 babies. If not, you can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and the final post about releasing Mama Rose back into the neighborhood.
After we had Mama Rose spayed and released her back into the neighborhood, she kept coming around the house for food. So, late in 2010, I decided to build an outdoor cat shelter for her.
We live in Northeast Ohio, and the winters can get rather brutal and cold. Since we had taken Mama Rose’s babies, gotten her spayed to prevent future litters, and she was coming around for food, we felt obligated to give her a safe place to stay warm in the winter.
Here is how I built her a feral cat shelter. You can find similar instructions to build a similar outdoor cat shelter on some other websites around the internet. At the time, our goal was to build an outdoor cat shelter for occupancy by a single cat.
Materials for Our Outdoor Cat Shelter
There were only a few items I needed to build our outdoor cat shelter. Here was my shopping list:
- Two plastic tubs. One had to fit inside the other
- A piece of plastic “coupling” for the opening to provide a smooth entrance and exit
- Styrofoam insulation
- Two (2) standard size bricks
For tools, I only needed an Utility knife and a keyhole saw.
Outdoor Cat Shelter Materials: Plastic Tubs
The first items I needed were two plastic tubs with lids. One tub needed to be smaller than the other because my goal was to put one inside the other, and stuff straw and insulation between them.
As you can see in the picture below, the grey container is larger than the green one. The grey container is made of a soft plastic. The green container is made of a very hard plastic. As you will see in the instructions below, if I had to build another of these shelters I wouldn’t use another hard plastic container like the one pictured. The plastic was hard to cut and cracked easily. The plastic grey container was perfect and cut without cracking.
You might be asking “how big do the containers have to be?”
An outdoor cat shelter doesn’t need to be very big. The goal is to give the animal a dry, safe place to sleep and that’s it.
My starting point was to choose the size of the green/inside container first since that was where the cat would actually be sleeping. Containers like these are usually measured in “gallons”, but that’s not how I originally was thinking.
Since I was building an outdoor cat shelter for only Mama Rose, and I knew how big she was, I picked a relatively small container for the inside. I simply measured how much space one of The Bambinos took when curled up asleep on the floor. Then, I bought a container that had about that same space in length and width. It was small: roughly 11 inches wide by 14 or 15 inches long and about 10 or 11 inches high.
I simply chose the size of the grey Outer Container so it could hold the inside container with room to spare for insulation. I’ve long since thrown away the receipt and label for it, but it’s a “Latching Tote” made by Sterilite. The outer dimensions are roughly 18 inches wide by 21 inches long by 17 inches tall, and according to the Sterilite online catalog, that size makes it a 20 or 22 gallon container.
Notice the vertical height of the containers. I had read that the opening for the shelter should be “off the ground” to keep out moisture and other animals, so I made sure to pick a container that had some height to it. The grey container is about 17″ inches tall. It’s plenty tall enough for this shelter.
There is no “one size fits all” container that I can recommend because you probably have different places to shop than we do in Northeast Ohio. Simply build your shelter for the number of cats you’re trying to serve and estimate sizes as necessary. The colors are not important either. I chose what was available. (Although if the outer container had been some bright neon color, I would have bought some brown or green spray paint for it.)
Outdoor Cat Shelter Materials: The Coupling
Since one container was going to sit inside the other, I needed a clean, safe way for the cat to get in and out of the final shelter. At my local hardware store, I found something called a 6” Snap Coupling that fit the bill nicely.
The coupling is made of thin plastic and very inexpensive. I think it’s supposed to be used for flexible drain pipes.
Outdoor Cat Shelter Materials: Insulation
At my local hardware store, I found a package that contained sheets of polystyrene insulation. The package of insulation was about 15” wide by 48” tall and contained several 1/2” thick sheets. If your store doesn’t carry the same brand or size, that’s fine. My plan was to cut it to the sizes I needed, so the overall width and height was not important.
Outdoor Cat Shelter Materials: Other Materials
The other materials I needed were straw which I found at a local garden center, and two (2) bricks.
Building the Outdoor Cat Shelter
Once I had all the materials assembled, I began building the actual outdoor cat shelter. Here is my documentation of the process.
Step 1: Cut the Opening for Entrance
I took the 6” Snap Coupling and simply held it against the inside container, at about the center of one of the shorter sides. Then I traced the outline of the circular coupling on the container so I would know where to cut.
Step 2: Cut the Opening in the Inside Container
I took the Utility knife and keyhole saw and cut around the circle I traced. This was very difficult to do and the hard plastic was very hard to cut and it actually cracked a few times as I cut it.
As I stated earlier, if I were to build another one of these outdoor cat shelters, I would pick a sturdier type of container for the inside of the shelter.
Here is the final result. You can see the cracks in the plastic under my hand and at the bottom of the opening. I ended putting some duct tape over the cracks just to seal them up nicely.
Remember, the inner container isn’t very big. The hole above is 6 inches across, so the container is only 10 or 11 inches high.
Step 3: Cutting the Opening in the Outer Container
In order to cut the hole for the outer container, I had to make sure the inner container would be in the correct position first.
So, I began by placing the two bricks in the bottom of the grey, outer container. The bricks serve two purposes. First, they provide weight to the shelter so it won’t tip over easily. Second, they lift the inner container so that there can be insulation underneath it.
Next, I used the utility knife to cut some of the insulation to fit in the space between the bricks. Turns out a stack of three slices of insulation was the perfect height to be flush with the top of the bricks.
Here’s the styrofoam in position between the bricks.
Next, just to be sure I had enough insulation on the bottom, I cut a stack of two (2) pieces of insulation to fit on top of the bricks.
Here’s what these pieces looked like in the final assembly. Again, these pieces are on top of the bricks at the bottom of the outer container.
Next I put the Inner Container into position so I could trace the hole location for the outer container.
Here I am tracing the outline of the hole on the inside surface of the Outer Container.
Here is the final result of the tracing.
Next I simply took the keyhole saw and cut along the line. (I had to take the bricks and Styrofoam out in order to be able to handle the container and make the cut.)
Step 4: Installing the Coupling
Now that the holes for the Snap Coupling had been cut in the Inner and Outer Containers, I could begin the final assembly of the outdoor cat shelter.
I began by putting the bricks and spacing Styrofoam back into place. This time I added some straw to fill in the corner spaces where there was no insulation.
Then I put the two pieces of insulation for the “floor” back into place.
Next I lined up the holes and put the Snap Coupling into place. Here are a couple of photos of the final result.
At this point, the “hard part” of building the outdoor cat shelter was done!
Step 4: Insulating the Cat Shelter
At this point, the only thing left to do was to insulate the space between the two containers. As you can see in the photos below, I needed two pieces of insulation on each of the other sides around the inner container. I simply used my Utility knife to size the different pieces as needed so it would all fit snugly.
Here is the final result before I began adding straw to fill the empty spaces.
Next, I started packing in straw into all the spaces where there was no insulation. I started by shoving straw all around the Snap Coupling so the entrance/exit would be well insulated.
Next I added straw in-between the Styrofoam and the inner container. Fortunately the translucent plastic of the inner container makes it easy to see where the straw is packed in.
Finally, I added straw to the inside of the Inner Container. I wavered back and forth on how much to add, but ended up erring on the side of enough to cover the bottom when smashed flat, plus more on top into which a cat could “burrow” for warmth.
Now it was time for lid of the inner container! It snapped right into position with room to spare on top for more straw.
I covered the top of the Inner Container with more straw for a final bit of insulation.
Lastly, I put the lid on the Outer Container!
The Final Shelter!
From the outside, the outdoor cat shelter simply looks like an innocuous storage tub with a strange hole in it.
Final Inspection of the Outdoor Cat Shelter
At this point, all that was left was a final inspection! Would a cat actually climb inside and use the shelter? Hmmm … maybe the Bambinos could inspect it for me! (To prevent a mess of straw in the house, I removed all the interior straw for this “inspection”).
All five (at the time) of our cats turned out for the inspection. Our largest cat, “Cookie”, immediately climbed inside. You can see her tail dangling out of the shelter here:
Cookie was able to turn around inside and seemed very content with the new facility. She was reluctant to let the others inside, but eventually just about everyone had the chance to try it and climbed in of their own free will.
After the inspection was complete, I put straw back inside the shelter and we worked on deciding where to put it outside.
Final Comments on Building this Outdoor Cat Shelter
Overall, this was a fun project for a worthy cause. It took about 2 hours to build the entire shelter once I had all the materials on hand. If you have a reasonable amount of dexterity, you should be able to build your own shelter in about the same amount of time.
The final step was placing the shelter in a good location. Most rescue organizations recommend placing outdoor cat shelters far away from human intervention. In our case, that would mean placing the shelter in a corner of our fenced-in backyard. We knew that Mama Rose rarely ventured into our backyard, and we couldn’t see her changing her routine in the winter.
However, in the front of our house, we have a large Rhododendron bush and some other shrubs. We knew that Mama Rose had a tendency to walk back and forth in the area between the bushes and the house so she could get to our porch to be fed. So, we simply placed the shelter along that path in the front of our house.
There was a double benefit to this placement, the bushes helped shield the shelter from rain, snow, and harsh winds. The bushes also helped make the shelter practically invisible from view by anyone walking by the house.
Overall, the construction project was a great success. We weren’t sure if Mama Rose actually used the shelter until it snowed. That’s when we saw footprints in a pattern suggesting she (or some other cat) had gone in and out of the shelter entrance.
Last year (2011), I opened the shelter up and peeked inside. It was obvious the shelter had been used as sleeping quarters for an animal because of the rearrangement of straw that was left. I put in fresh straw, and sealed it back up for the 2011-2012 winter.
As of this writing, September 2012, Mama Rose still comes around to be fed just about every day, and we have actually seen her poking her head out of the entrance to her outdoor cat shelter, even during the Spring and Fall!
Hello Furriends! Sunny here! I am also repurrting on behalf of my brother Sky.
That’s me in the tube, and Sky down below.
Today is a Big Birthday! Sky and I are two years old today! You may remember that there are six of us in this litter, so that means our sister (Marigold) and brothers (Hunter, Rusty, and Woody) are two years old today too! Hunter is in Dad’s lap, and that’s Woody, Rusty, Marigold, and Sky on the floor. They were enjoying a snack of Baby Food! The photo is from October 2010 when we were about 3 months old.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy! Mama Rose (feral) still visits us every day and hangs out on the porch. Human Mom and Dad feed her every single day.
You can all come over for a Game of Thundering Herds of Elephants, enjoy some Stinky Goodness, People Tuna, People Salmon, Niptinis and Meowgaritas (milk for the kittens), and enjoy some Nap Action when you want to rest.
Thanks for visiting us! Be sure to visit The Tabby Cat Club today to see photos of our Birthday Toesies!
Happy International Box Day, Furriends!!!
Panda Bear here, to tell you about a Wonderful Box.
Mom and Dad brought The Wonderful Box home one Friday night back in Feburrrrrary. They put it on the floor in the dining room, but did not open it! We wanted to know what The Box was like.
So we just had to sniff the outside of The Box. And sit on The Box. That’s Cookie sitting on The Box.
Finally, Mom and Dad opend The Box on Saturday, and took all the stuff out. Which gave us the chance to thoroughly examine The Box.
Before I was done checking out The Box, Padre joined me inside. The Box was big enough for both of us!
Padre is giving The Box a Thorough Sniffing.
I am Trapped in a Box of Tremendous Size!
Just hanging out in My Box.
Happy International Box Day Efurryone!
Pee. Ess. Can you guess what was in The Wonderful Box? We’ll tell you about it next time!
Greetings Furriends! Happy Birthday to Me! Oh, and to my sister Meerkat too! Today we are five years old!
Check out this way cool tent Mom gave us for our birthday! Meerkat gave it a Good Sniff. That’s Ms. Floofs (Caramel) inside the tent.
Mom also picked up some way cool toys for us! Here I am checking out the Nip Shrimp. No, it was not a Real Live Fresh Dead Shrimp, but it was still fun.
Mom saw these tasty looking Canadian Geese at the place where she works. No, she did not bring us any Real Live Fresh Dead Geese for our birthday dinner.
Come join us to check out the new tent!