Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cats Part Three

I promise this is the last cat-centric blog for a while

Here is a picture of the cat houses after I primed them.  Yes, I primed two Styrofoam boxes that are going to sit outside for feral cats.  I know that seems excessively detailed, but I believe in a good primer coat.

I used latex drywall primer.  I'm not sure I needed to,
 but I had it and it seemed like a good idea

After a few days I painted both of them with a quart of mistinted latex paint I bought at Lowes for $2.50.  I got one coat all over and a second coat on all sides.  I also realized how soft the Styrofoam was and that I should have put something harder on the floor so the cat claws wouldn’t rip it up. If you are thinking of making one of these, I would suggest you put some old vinyl tiles or flooring down before you put the top on.  Just make sure it is something hard.  Don't use carpet.  I got something in there, but it isn’t pretty.  Of course the instructions warned me about this, but I just hadn't read them closely enough.   

Actually, this doesn't look too bad.
After the paint had dried I sealed all cracks with more silicone.  We filled one with dry straw (only use dry straw – any rugs or fabric will absorb moisture and will actually make the cats colder) and set it by where we feed them.  Since these are so light weight, we used bricks to keep them from blowing away.  It is still pretty warm but we want to get them used to it before it is absolutely freezing.  We’ll put the second one in a more sheltered area, and eventually move this one next to it.

This is Mr. Tom's look of pure hate.
As exciting as the houses are, the biggest excitement came last weekend when we actually caught Mr. Tom, the neighborhood alpha male responsible for a lot of feral kittens.  After setting four traps away from the house but near his favorite territory, he took the tuna bait.  He was big and fierce and angry, but I managed to drive the 10 plus miles to get him neutered even though he spent the whole trip thrashing and fighting and hissing.  His "proceedure" was uneventful, and after the 24 hour waiting period, we released him yesterday. He wasn’t moving as fast as he had, but I’m sure we’ll see him strolling around the neighborhood in no time.

Why is Mia pointing?  Beats me, but Will does it too.

In less than a month, I’d accomplished what I’d wanted.  I’d trapped and had neutered the three cats living in our yard as well as the big tom cat responsible for our feral population boom.  I’d planned pretty well for their safety this winter.  I also have a plan in place to help our neighbor get his colony under control next spring.  Not a bad way to spend a month.
The Butcher

Below is a diagram of how you cut up a 4’ x 8’ 2” Styrofoam to make two cat shelters*.  If you have any questions, please ask and I can direct you to some wonderful resources if I can’t answer.
*cut 6" wide by 5 1/2" tall holes for doors into 2 of the 12" x 20" pieces for entrances.


  1. Good job! Especially considering you describe yourself as not really a cat person, you deserve the utmost appreciation. I hope lots of folks are inspired to do likewise.

    The pictures, illustration and instructions were very well done, too. I shuddered at the look in Mr. Tom's eyes. Mia is a dear.

  2. Thanks Scrollwork! It is good to hear from you after your medical adventure. It is good to get feedback from real cat people since I feel like kind of a poser. Want to see a really scary cat pic? I posted one on Tumblr here:

    We've seen him roaming around the neighborhood again, but he gives our house a wide bearth. Little does he know that I'd feed and house him too if he could play nice.