Thursday, October 1, 2009
A House for the Cats
Here's a picture of the cat house we built last weekend--the beginning of what, I hope, will be a fancier, comfier one in the near future.
It looks small in the picture, but it is pretty roomy for a night time cat pad. Its dimensions are 3 1/2 feet by 3 1/2 feet and over 6 feet tall. It has a total of 4 perches and reinforced wood floor. As of now, I put a horse blanket over the top, but I'm trying to think of something I could wrap over the top that would help keep the heat in and give them privacy.
The perches are covered in fuzzy material and I'm getting ready to add a heated perch.
No, this is not a dead animal...
It's faux fur!
This is going to be the material I wrap the lower perches in, covering a heated back pad that I can switch on and off to keep the cats warm in winter. They'll also have a space heater--one that turns off automatically if tipped.
It may seem extreme to lock them up at night, but around here, if you don't, you will certainly lose your cats to coyotes. Our "house" cats live in the garage that is attached to the house, and they have a pet door to let them in and out. So far we have only lost one of them to the Great Horned Owls. (It was a male--notoriously bad hunters). Both of the females have learned to stick to the side of the house and hide in shadows.
The barn cats are in the barn--which is 500' away from the main house. It's more likely to attract coyotes. So far, I've never seen a coyote actually in the barn. In my experience they avoid horses. And this is what I want to ask all of you about--do the coyotes around your place come into your barns? Do they come around your horses?
I'm hoping my plan works and the sweet barn cats live long, full lives mousing in the day, sleeping safely at night.
Here's a Beautiful story. We spent the whole summer putting in grass and a back patio and a HOT TUB. (After the two last "snowiest seasons ever" in Spokane, we decided we wanted to have something warm to do outside.) So, last night we were in the hot tub--which is every bit as great as we imagined it would be--and I saw a shadow moving around in the dark of the pasture.
Now, all of the horses were supposed to be locked in for the night, but I immediately realized I had an escape artist on my hands--Beautiful. So, I called her name and there came the shadow to the very edge of the pasture. What a baby!! She'd opened her stall door up and then it closed, effectively locking her out.
Later, we had to go back to the barn and tuck our baby in for the night.