We don’t want another cat. We really don’t. It’s just that when I opened the front door a few mornings ago and saw a lonely, dirty, and shaking white cat sitting on our front step, my heart sank. I hate seeing stray cats suffer, so after this one looked up at me and scurried under the front porch, I ran inside to tell Laura that we had a project on our hands. We needed to make this poor cat comfortable and that comfort couldn’t delay. I heard Laura’s faint sigh, but she understood what needed to be done. She went into the kitchen cabinet to pour some old cat food we’ve had saved from one of our previous cats into a bowl. Within minutes after placing the food on the front step, the cat, or should I say, kitten, was out there feasting on it. Poor little guy or gal. We don’t know if this one is a male or female yet, but Laura’s pretty happy calling it Tammy. I don’t know why. We’ve been making up funny names for it since we first laid our eyes on it. I wanted “Stevie” because it wags its head like Stevie Wonder does, but that idea apparently faded away.
I know what you’re thinking. “Oop, once you feed a stray cat, you’ll never get rid of it.” I know, I know. The problem is, stray cats around here truly do suffer. Not many people fix their animals in this rural area and practically everyone lets them run around loose outside. If a cat doesn’t get picked off and eaten by a coyote or a fisher cat, it’ll starve to death. Seven years ago, we met our current very well fed and lovable house cat outside as a stray and I can’t stand the idea of another one of these little guys trying to make their way in this world alone and hungry. So basically, if I can do something, I will and that’s just the way it is. Everyone’s got their cause and this one is mine.
I suspect this kitten came from the colony one of our neighbors has got going on up the road. She’s (we’ll say she’s a she right now because she looks like a she) got sort of a goofy look on her face and she’s got Egyptian blue eyes. There’s only one other place I’ve seen eyes like hers and that’s up the road. And trust me, there’s no shortage of cat turnover up there. Every time we walk by, there’s a new crew. It’s terrible and one day I’m going to go up there to trap every last one of them to get them spayed and neutered. Someone’s got to be responsible.
The nights are still getting cold up here in Maine and tomorrow night and the one after is forecast to drop down to 10°. Because of this and because I want this cat to be as comfortable as possible, I made what’s referred to as a feral cat shelter. We’ve got lots of big plastic bins saved from moving around so much and one or two of them we’ve used as giant litter boxes for our previous cats, so I decided to use one as the shelter here. I insulated the bottom and sides with some old rigid foam insulation I had hanging around and then put a blanket inside. Then, I cut some more foam insulation and placed it on top, so the shelter is basically a waterproof cooler. Or, in this case, a warmer. Take a look at what I’ve got going on right up at the front of our house.
First, this cat of ours gets fed about three times a day. We ran out to Tractor Supply on Thursday to buy some stuff and we picked up a big 16 pound bag of cheap cat food for about $9. We also have some old Science Diet wet cat food from one of our previous cats. This cat surely loves that.
This is the front of the shelter. There was already a hole cut in the bin for the litter box use, but I cut the additional hole in the insulation yesterday. I used my six inch hole saw drill bit for that one. I loved using it for something like this. So clean and professional.
This is the shelter with the plastic lid removed. You can see the pieces of foam that I used for the top of the cube. I’m using a 2×4 to hold it down, just in case it wants to move.
Finally, this is the inside of the shelter. Pretty nice, right? I’ve got two inches of foam at the bottom and a towel towards the front to lift that part of the blanket up some. I tried to create a nest for the cat. Then, I’ve got foam lining the walls to keep things nice and snug for her.
The foam inside the plastic bin is friction fit and the top foam lies directly on top of the wall foam. It’s pretty solid and warm in there. I hope this cat is happy because she’s quickly becoming spoiled. Now, we’ve got to try to catch her to bring her to the animal shelter for spaying or neutering. Also for some quarantine. She’s bound to have something wrong health-wise and we don’t want to pass that onto our inside cat. More on this saga as it unfolds.