Friday, March 16, 2007
More About Our Enclosure
Here is another view of our "enclosure" as Daisy aptly renamed it. Sally could live out there if we let her. Trouble is, she has to come in to get food and to get warm when it is cold, or to get cool when it is hot.
My husband built this in 2000, after Davy the White Panther was killed. I will tell you his story over the next few days. Up until that point, our cats were indoor/outdoor cats, doing the typical "meow" to let them out, then standing at the door ten minutes later wanting back in, or not wanting to come in when it was bedtime. You all know the routine. They were all very adept at leaping the 6 foot tall wooden privacy fence in the backyard. Annie's favorite trick was to go out the back door, leap the fence and run around to the front door to be let back inside.
This enclosure was to be temporary. We fully intended to screen in the patio because the cats do track in dirt, mud, and grass and they do come in and throw up grass after eating it. We also discussed painting this enclosure to match the house. Just haven't gotten around to it!!
There used to be 2 azalea bushes and Asian Jasmine in the area that is currently all dirt. The cats killed all of that off. Last summer when there was nothing but weeds growing in that area, I had the brilliant idea that I would do some "lasagne gardening" where one puts down a layer of cardboard or newspaper, then puts compost on top. Over the winter, the newspaper/cardboard breaks down and the earth becomes enriched, workable soil. Well, my brilliant idea didn't take into account that the cats would be tracking in compost for the next 9 months. Best laid plans, huh?
The cage was originally 6' x 6' x 6'. It was expanded to 6' x 6' x 12' when the cat family continued to expand. It has always had the 6' tall door with padlocks on it. The top originally was not reinforced and stapled as well as it is now. But one night an evil intruder was walking across the top and fell through. All types of screaming and fighting and carrying on ensued until my husband went outside and rescued the evil intruder from the cage, and we locked our cats inside. Then the top was promptly reinforced so that incident couldn't happen again.
Sometimes squirrels will sit on top of the cage and chatter at our cats. Drives the cats nuts. Sometimes, a bird will come through the wire and if G.T. is sitting guard at the cat door, he will fly through the cat door and nab the bird before it has a chance to make it back through the wire. He then brings the bird inside the house which gets all 10 cats in a hunting tizzy and leaves feathers everywhere and one either very traumatized, or dead, bird depending upon how quickly I can catch it.
We've tried numerous cat/dog doors. We've had the locking type where the cats wear a magnet on their collar to unlock the flap, we've had the dual flap for insulation purposes, the rubber flap for ease of use. We also ordered one of the "guaranteed to fit your window" doors, which didn't fit our window. We keep going back to the Staywell doors, and my husband puts the door into a wooden fitting and inserts it into the window opening. I think this current door is a small dog door because most of our cats are about 15 lbs. or more.
Although this door does have a magnetic closure to prevent it from blowing open in the wind, it will do so when there is a strong wind. And it makes a "flap/flap" sound everytime a cat goes through it. Unless Jenny is going through it. Then it makes a "SMACK" sound because she just goes leaping through it in one bound and it's all done with.
The "benches" in the cage are sawhorses with boards attached. There is also a step-stool for Gatsbi to use so that she can get up onto one of the benches. The water bowl is a plant saucer.
So, the moral of this story is that the cats thoroughly enjoy their enclosure and it allows them the freedom to come and go as they choose. They don't care how it looks. They don't care what it's made from. And it gives us some peace of mind that we hopefully won't lose another cat to wacked out humans.