Monday, November 2, 2009

My Outside Cat Houses

...yes, you read the subject line right. I've just finished (well, with a little help from my son and grandson) making winter houses for my outside cats. I found the idea online and just changed it a bit.

Front porch kitten - Boots (he's about 7 months old now), lost his brother a couple of weeks ago and has become MUCH more loving since he's basically alone. He comes inside occasionally to visit with the skin grandkids, but the inside cats are not impressed with his presence. He's a great mouser and hopefully will stick close to the front porch instead of going out in the road like his brother did.

Here's Boots, lounging in the sunshine after supervising the placement of his new house.

Anyway, did some online research and found an idea for feral cat houses - my outside cats aren't feral - but they are outside. Take two rubbermaid containers, one larger than the other, put cut insulation between them and cut a hole in one end. And, that's sorta what we did.

Used the two containers, however, son got some spray insulation to go between the two instead of a big sheet to cut. You spray it in, it expands and hardens (and makes a mess). So that worked, however, I was concerned that the inside walls (plastic tub) wouldn't be warm, so I put flannel on the interior and covered a piece of foam with flannel for the bed.

This is looking down inside with the lids off.

I then glued foam on the interior lid for top insulation.

The finished product now sits behind the front porch glider and Boots has already inspected the inside, so I'm confident he'll be a happy camper on cold nights.

Then, there's Halloween. She's an almost 15 year old barn cat who moved to the back deck a couple of years ago. Basically had a bed in a box there, but not really a nice winterized house, and she's not getting any younger.

She hasn't been very enthusiastic about her box there since son & family came with their large, old lab who barks at her. I feed her on top of the bbq table on the deck and she stays when large dog isn't in site. If she would just hiss and slap him once he'd leave her alone. She and Belle get alone great. She has been sleeping back at the barn since large dog arrived, but I wanted her to have the option of the back deck if she chooses.

Anyway, back to her bed. There isn't room for the double box where it can be be protected from large dog, and, the back deck is more protected than the front porch, so I improvised. Got one rubber tub (same size as interior tub in front), a foam mattress pad and some flannel. Lined the entire interior with the foam covered in flannel. Made her a 'really' soft interior bed and glued foam to the inside top of her house. Another hole in the end and 'hopefully' she's set.
This piece of foam is glued on the inside of her top. Same mattress foam that's on the top of Boot's house, and what I covered with flannel for the inside of Halloween's house

Looking at the finished product

This is with the camera inside the little hole, so what she has is comfty and should be relatively warm.

It's put in a fairly protected spot on the shelf of the bbq table, so hopefully she'll actually use it. The back deck has two house walls and while the north side of the deck is open, there's another 'leg' of the house not far away, so it's pretty protected from wind.

She usually shows up at night, so I'll 'encourage' her to check it out tonight. The fan is wedged between the table and bbq grill to give her some added security from large dog.

I had priced exterior, insulated pet houses and the prices were prohabitive for my budget. The cost of both of these houses was around $30 (not including two bottles of spray insulation that son bought for larger house) and that breaks down: 3 rubber tubs-$12.00; flannel throw (cheaper than flannel by the yard)-$5; twin foam mattress pad (and I have a good bit left for future projects)-$13.

Maybe not as elegant looking, but much better than bought houses and I believe they'll be just as snug.

Oh, and I can take both apart easily to clean!!