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Author Topic: Built a shelter for a special cat  (Read 11172 times)
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mikken
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« on: October 06, 2012, 03:56:36 PM »

A friend of my mother lost her husband late last year.  He used to putter in the garden with "Scorcher" a barn cat from across the way.  Scorcher isn't a cuddler, but seemed to enjoy keeping the man company.  The man would talk to him and enjoyed his company.  Well, Scorcher's people moved early this year and left him to fend for himself.  The wife decided that she would start feeding Scorcher because he was so special to her husband even though she is not a "cat person".  But it's Ohio and winter is coming and the woman was concerned about the cat, who has just a piece of plywood leaning against her house for shelter...

I told her that I had a plastic dog house (from an emergency foster situation) that I would gladly modify into a cat house for her.  I had nearly everything I needed, anyway as long as she didn't mind me using paint colors that I already had on hand...

I finished the house today and took it over to her (good thing - going to be COLD tonight).  She was a bit overwhelmed at the size of the thing, but we found a good spot tucked in next to her house and only slightly infringing on her garden.



Now all we have to do is convince a semi-feral cat to try it out!  I sprayed Feliway on the inside to try to encourage him...
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catbird
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 04:16:33 PM »

I am sad about the situation in which poor Scorcher finds himself, but how awesome that the man's wife cares, and how even more awesome that you provided him with a shelter!  I hope Scorcher will make use of it tonight, and have a warmer place to stay.
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catmom5
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 04:28:37 PM »

That poor cat. Thank you for giving them the house. I hope Scorcher will use it. Bless your hearts for looking after a cat who is surely missiing his friend, too. Has the cat been vetted and neutered? I hope you will stay in touch so you can help if she needs it.

I just put out a kitty tube for whoever has been visiting at night. I hope someone will use it.  It was a relatively inexpensive investment and required no assembly -which I really liked. These cats have such a challenge just to survive.

catmom5
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mikken
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 05:16:57 PM »

I believe he's been neutered, but could not get close enough to see for sure.  He kept a very serious distance from the new scary people.

The woman is enamored with him!  Everything he does is AMAZING.  He SAT ON THE ROCKING CHAIR IN THE SUN TODAY!  It's lovely seeing someone so happy with the little things. 

We talked about heated water bowls (she had no idea such a thing existed) and she's going to get him one.  Also about needing a sheltered spot for feeding.

The cat and the woman are bonded by their common loss.  It is fitting that they comfort each other.  In fact, the woman's daughter told me when we were out of earshot that the cat has been "a real blessing in disguise" for her mother's well-being.

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Mandycat
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012, 09:57:54 PM »

Bless you for helping this woman and Scorcher. I hope he uses it. Just have to give him some time to get used to it, I suppose. Cats love to explore anything they can hide in, so it might not take too long!
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August
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 11:45:38 PM »

There's so much about this all that is very moving and emotional.

Thank goodness this world has some really incredible people in it to help overlook the incredibly unincredible ones.

Keeping fingers crossed that Scorcher will like the cool house you made!  (And hoping that he'll figure out it's safe to go inside the woman's home and call it his own.)   Smiley   It's really wonderful that they are there to support each other (and for you to help out with your pet experience).
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mikken
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2012, 05:41:26 AM »

A shot of the interior with the "warm box" visible before I put the front panel on -



It has straw inside and I added a "lip" around the top of the warm box to help hold heat against the top and keep so much from leaking out the door.

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merrihart
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2012, 07:19:40 AM »

that is awesome, mikken!  I would never have thought of such modifications to help keep it warm.
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lesliek
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 03:41:20 PM »

How wonderful that you could help them !
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GKit
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2012, 04:15:47 PM »

The inside is awesome, mikken!  I hope Scorcher will like it.
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petslave
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2012, 04:27:25 PM »

What an amazing, touching story.  Thanks for sharing it with us!  And I love how you modified the inside of that dog house - very smart thinking!!  I have a feeling someone is on the other side directing all this.....
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Fizzy1
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2012, 09:26:57 AM »

Very moving story, mikken Cry  Thank you so much for helping them. Let us know what you hear! 
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catwoods
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« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2012, 01:51:03 PM »

Thank you for that moving story, mikken. Very imaginative thinking in the way you modifed the dog house into a feral shelter!
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mikken
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2012, 03:18:40 PM »

Just got a call from Scorcher's person - she said that she hadn't called me because there had been nothing to report.  Scorcher would look into the shelter, but then back out like he was afraid.  He's been sleeping under his plywood leaning against the house and not in his shelter at all.  She was very worried about him and would talk to him every day about using his little house and isn't his little house nice and wouldn't he be warmer and happier in his little house?

She said that they kept this up for a week, when today she went out to feed him and he wasn't in his usual spot.  She was very worried that maybe he'd left, moved on, and looked everywhere for him.  Finally, she says, "Lo and behold, he comes out of his little house!  He must have spent the night in there!"  She said that she's "just tickled" that he used it because now she can stop worrying about him being too cold or wet or anything.  She noted that it took him "a whole week to decide that it was HIS house", but that she's so pleased he finally has.

I reassured her that now that he's comfortable with it, he'll spend lots of time in it in the winter and that's why it has a nice little window in the front, so he can keep an eye on things without having to set foot outside.  (I think the window also makes them feel a touch less "trapped" on the upper shelf because they can see things coming.)

Odd that Scorcher chose such a temperate night to try his shelter, but hey, whatever works! 
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lesliek
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2012, 03:22:40 PM »

That is great news !
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