This article is Part Thirteen of a 15-Article on How to Build a Feral Cat Shelter. Since this is the first time we’d made a shelter, it’s perfect for newbies. You can read previous installments in this series here, to see how we reached the final stage where we can put the shelter in place and see if it will be accepted by Old Guy, the feral cat for whom we went to all this trouble:
The cat shelter was in place now. After all that work (and it WAS quite a job, but mostly enjoyable), we needed to get the cat shelter outside and try to entice Old Guy into using it. Cindy had the idea to put a little bit of catnip on the straw in the bottom of the cooler, to entice the cat inside. We sprinkled a few bits of catnip over the straw before we closed up the top, but we could also just have tossed some in there later, too.
Since by this time it was late afternoon on a cold day in December, we thought that Old Guy might still be around the yard and see us put the new shelter in place. We guessed right. He was there in the yard, all right, and seemed very interested in what we were doing. He watched us carry the shelter around the side of the house and set it up against the house snugly.
Once we put it on the ground, we found a couple of short pieces of dead branches that the tree trimmers had cut down from the trees after Hurricane Irene, and used them as support at the base of the entry, and at the back, to keep the shelter from moving around too much. We also placed a heavy slab of stone that was once used as a stepping stone somewhere in the gardens, and laid it on the top of the shelter. It was extremely heavy and should keep the top from opening in a heavy windstorm.
Finally, we looked for something that we could use to protect the entry from too much wind, and keep the rain out. You can’t completely protect the entry from the elements, but you can provide a bit of protection that will help somewhat. This wasn’t elegant but fairly functional and that’s all that mattered here.
You can see the paving stone on top of the shelter, and the old dog ramp that serves as a windbreak and helps keep the snow away from the opening. We put down some layers of straw just at the opening, so that the entry would stay somewhat dry.
Read the next installment to find out what happened next! Here’s a link to Part Fourteen.