OT (But on-topic as well)

Hello all,
I've got a woodworking question, only it's not really about the technical aspects of making something as much as it is a dilemma in deciding whether or not I *should* do a project.
A couple of days ago, I came home after work to see a cat that has been prowling the neighborhood since I bought the place huddling on my front steps (it was about -10*, and the steps have outdoor carpet on them, so I figure it must have been more appealing than concrete or snow)
Now, I don't need another pet, and I don't care to try and tame a wild tomcat at any rate- but I do hate to see an animal suffer like that and I figure he probably earns his keep eating rodents before they get near my house.
So I was contemplating building a little stray cat house with some insulation in the backyard to give the occasional semi-domestic passerby a place to get out of the weather on particularly cold or rainy nights, just as a little act of kindness to them. It'll be about 50 yards from the house if I do this, and I don't have any interest in really interacting with the animal(s) at all, aside from maybe peeking out the window every once in a while to see if anything is in residence.
But, I'm a little concerned that my good intentions may go awry in this case. I don't much care if the thing gets peed in or whatever else might happen to it, but I don't want to have to listen to alleycats fighting over the place in the middle of the night.
Anyone else ever done this? If so, did it end up causing problems of any sort, or is it as simple as I'd hope it would be? Won't cost anything to do, and be easy enough to maintain with a coat of paint every couple of years. Seems like it's so simple and cheap, that there must be some kind of catch involved- and that's why I've never seen or heard of one before. Can't just be me that doesn't like the idea of animals (well- cats and dogs, anyhow) losing ears and tails to frostbite needlessly.
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"Prometheus" wrote in message

For that very reason, I regularly incurred parental wrath when a kid by surreptitiously keeping the door to the barn feed room ajar during cold weather.
I would do it again. If you believe it's right, do it ... but with the proviso that if you notice detrimental/unintended consequences to whatever it is you're trying to help, stop doing it.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 1/06/07
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Yes. We've got a long shed--65', by only about 15' deep. One central area is elevated--I have no idea why it's elevated--and enclosed and underneath is a storage area. My wife hates it, but I always leave that open for the feral cats. They're a nuisance, but so is the constant flow of rodent life around here. They help to keep the teeming masses down to semi-manageable numbers, so I don't feel really bad about providing some shelter from the absolute worst of the elements.
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On Sat, 20 Jan 2007 07:43:33 -0600, Prometheus

Apparently in the UK people buy such houses for thier pets <http://www.gardenpine.co.uk/cat-houses.htm .
Might also want to read up on rabbit hutches--cats aren't rabbits but they're about the same size and should need somewhat similar shelter.
The cats won't fight over it regularly--cats are territorial and have protocols well established for deciding what belongs to who--if there's a fight it will be over something on the borders of a territory generally, or a newcomer establishing turf. There's not going to be the "occasional passerby" though, if any cat likes it it's going to belong to that cat.
Personally I'd be tempted to design it as passive solar, but I'm nuts--couple of layers of glass facing south at the proper angle and some cinder blocks or bricks for thermal mass and a nice overhang and good insulation and it will be warm as toast all winter long, without costing much more than doing it the old fashioned way.
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J. Clarke wrote:
| Personally I'd be tempted to design it as passive solar,
I like the way you think! :-)
| but I'm | nuts--couple of layers of glass facing south at the proper angle and | some cinder blocks or bricks for thermal mass and a nice overhang | and good insulation and it will be warm as toast all winter long, | without costing much more than doing it the old fashioned way.
Not so nuts...perhaps.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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wrote:

Further to this, been thinking about those shelters all morning--was wondering why they were on stilts and it came to me that the entrance should be elevated enough that it doesn't get buried in snow too easily--if it does the cat can get trapped in there. And stilts instead of a solid base let the snow level underneath instead of drifting against it.
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The feral cats in my neck of the woods live under the back porch, take shelter under the covered canoe, etc. Basically any recess (not a hole, but a recess) in the ground with a thick carpet of leaves and a lean-to style roof of boards or branches to keep out the worst of the snow will suffice. It's unobtrusive and sufficiently rustic in appearance that no one would even notice it on the border of your property.
J.
Prometheus wrote:

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Prometheus wrote:

I think your intentions are wonderful. I don't know if they'll be realized however. I live in a rural area, and we have a multitude of animals around here. Birds, coons, the stray fisher, deer, etc. Because of the way this place has been constructed, some of them have taken residence under the house, for the very same reason you've stated.
Some of them I don't mind. A family of coons shows up from time to time, and they don't bother me because for the most part they're harmless and part of the landscape. While skunks also claim equal residency, them I do mind, and I'd never encourage them with any kind of structure that would make them feel more at home on my property.
Neither coons nor skunks are necessarily rural animals, so regardless of where you live, the cathouse may very well be a lure to all kinds of critters.
YMMV
Tanus
--
This is not really a sig.

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Prometheus wrote:
| I've got a woodworking question, only it's not really about the | technical aspects of making something as much as it is a dilemma in | deciding whether or not I *should* do a project.
It's pretty difficult to find fault with a project that relieves suffering.
If you decide to do this; and if you like J. Clarke's idea of incorporating a bit of passive solar heating, I have some twin-wall polycarbonate solar glazing cutoff material that I'd be happy to contribute...
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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Prometheus, you're a good man. I hope you manage to work something out for them.
Tom Dacon
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The cheapest, easiest to make cat shelter -
Every year I make a couple of cat igloos. They're easy and cheap to make and the cats seem to love them. I don't have ferel cats, but I own a few that can't behave in the house, so they've been evicted. I replace the igloos every year as they get pretty dirty and the styrofoam gets brittle and begins cracking, but since they only cost about $2 each and about 15 minutes to make, it's worth it.
I buy styrofoam ice chests and use construction adhesive to glue the lids on. The ice chest then gets inverted so top then becomes the bottom in the final design. I cut a doorway centered in one long side, about 5" wide and 6" high from the seam up. I round the top corners of this doorway to make the top form an arch shape and I take an old towel or a piece of fuzzy bathrobe and place it in the bottom (they like several layers for cushioning). Since my cats are "evicted" pets I place these igloos on an open porch, but they could just as easily be put almost anywhere under some kind of rain shelter. The first year that I made these igloos I fastened old wash cloths over the doorways with duct tape to act as a flap door, but they seemed to only use these igloos when it was extremely cold. Lately I haven't been installing the wash cloths, and they seem to like them better and sleep in them every night from October to March. I guess the wash cloths made the inside too warm for them.
You could fasten these to a board if the location of choice subjects them to blowing in the wind or build a leanto type rain shelter for them if they will be directly exposed to the elements and not placed on a porch out of the rain (my obligatory connection to woodworking).
--
Charley


"Prometheus" < snipped-for-privacy@NOSPAMcharter.net> wrote in message
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Pro,
We've built two "cat houses" for friends with outdoor and feral cats. We lined the insides top bottom and sides with old carpeting, put platforms inside for sleeping, and added a tunnel entrance to keep the breezes out (the tunnel roof acts as an additional platform).
At last report, one house was seen to have 5 cats sleeping in it at night, no fighting.
The other house is fully occupied as well. It seems that cats are willing to share sleeping quarters on a cold night without too many problems.
Since we used cedar and pine reclaimed from shipping pallets to build or side the houses, we went ahead and made them look like small shacks or cabins, complete with faux windows and porches. We also added a flat roof, covered in outdoor carpet, for outdoor lounging. That was just for fun and the people we made these for loved the look.
If you want pictures of the houses under construction and finished, let me know and I'll put them up on a server and publish links.
Andy 6 cats 2 rabbits 2 Harleys

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On Sat, 20 Jan 2007 12:57:59 -0700, "Andy"

Good deal- that's what I was wondering. As far as I know, there are only one or two real strays in the neighborhood, but I was concerned about yowling all night from them if there was a dispute. They seem to keep the rodent population low (at least, I've never had a problem with mice or rats, and my indoor cat has never had occasion to catch one either)

Yeah, that was kind of my thought as well- I figure I'll make it kind of like a scaled-up decorative bird house with some of the bits and pieces of leftover siding and shingles the original owners left in the garage. Then it can match the house.

You can if it's not too much trouble, but I don't really need any how-to to do it, like I said, it was just a concern that it could cause more problems than it solved.
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Not much of a cat lover, but we do have a family of stray dwarf rabbits (unwanted pets?) that hang around. They took up residence under my 50 Pymouth that I was going to restore and never did. The car has since been sold and the rabbit evidence became clear. I just rearranged some framing lumber under a loose tarp for them. I like these rabbits hopping around here even if they try to chew the hell out of my apple tree.
I don't hate cats, but you have to flatten them out first before you can hang them on the wall. :)
Pete
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http://www.all-creatures.org/ak/feral-shelter-01.html
http://www.altavista.com/web/results?itag=ody&q ral+cat+shelter&mik=photo&mik=graphic&mip=all&mis=all&miwxh=all
Some places have a trap, neuter and release program for controlling feral cats.
--

FF


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http://www.alleycat.org/pdf/feral_cat_shelter.pdf
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Sat, Jan 20, 2007, 7:43am (EST-1) snipped-for-privacy@NOSPAMcharter.net (Prometheus) doth pondereth: Hello all, I've got a woodworking question, only it's not really about the technical aspects of making something as much as it is a dilemma in deciding whether or not I *should* do a project. <snip>
It'll be good Karma. Even if all you do is toss out an old cardboard box.
JOAT Bugrit. Millennium hand AND shrimp.
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