(had computer problems yesterday so that is why this week’s column is late-GN)
I haven’t explained a building project for a bit and animals need shelter so this week’s column is obvious. We’re going to build a cat house.
First off, most of you will nod in agreement but to those who don’t, let me assure you of a fact; animals need shelter. There are some animals which tolerate cold better than others, however at some point they all will need shelter, food and water. The easier these necessities are to access then the more effective they will be in making your pet comfortable and healthy. I’ve told you this in the nicest way possible. The Bible states in Genesis that God put us in charge of the fish, birds and wild animals. Please do not be like the arrogant politician who believes that being in charge of something means others must answer to you. It means you must answer to others and carries great responsibility. You are in charge of your pet’s care.
Let’s build something, one of my favorite things to do. This project is a cat house but would serve a dog as well by increasing its size. I built our cat house for the strays who visit so it is located on our deck so we can easily feed them. The house is on caster wheels so that it may be rolled away to a shaded area in the summer. During the winter, I want as much sunshine as possible as the south facing wall of this house is Plexiglas. The sun shines through onto a small porch that is made of black padding to absorb as much heat as possible. The porch can then release heat into the house during the early evening. I built a small loft to take advantage of rising heat and to give our cats a place to perch. The main living room of the house is in the back and has an entry just large enough for cats to enter but small enough so that heat can exit only very slowly. The back room has a heated pad (which uses only 30 watts of electricity) and is insulated with foam board as is the ceiling throughout.
The outside of our cat house is made from recovered barn wood. I mercilessly caulked every seem to reduce drafts and covered the roof with old barn tin I’d recovered from the Viking Elevator before it was demolished. I found a roof cap under an old shed and used that too which kept my expenses to a minimum. Most of the materials for this project were sitting in or under a shed except for the Plexiglas and caulking. As in most cases, most of the benefits in comfort to our cats came from good ideas and good construction rather than money spent. One good idea is that there is only one entry door which is located opposite of the prevailing wind which seems to typically be from the northwest. This architectural element cost nothing but created much greater comfort.
There you have it, a good project that does good for others. I hope your pets spend their winter riding the couch like ours do, however good outdoor protection is a must for animals who spend time outdoors. It is your responsibility, it’s even in the Bible.