May 11th 2011 12:06 pm
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It’s finished!!! Well, almost. There’s still some fine-tuning that the Mama and Papa want to do, but they couldn’t wait a moment longer for us to experience our new cattery, so as soon as the Mama had put the final piece of hardware cloth on the gate, the Papa propped the window open so we could come out. Mama came and sat in the pen with us, so we’d feel secure coming out into the yard. Meanwhile the Papa worked on installing our catdoor into a piece of plywood, which he then installed in the old window frame. The window really needs to be replaced completely, but that’s another chore that gets shuffled down to the bottom of the list of THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE.
I was first down the temporary ramp – Samhain, the intrepid explorer. But to give her credit, Sleeper was the first one up to the top of our “tree” in the corner. Mama’s sorry she didn’t get a picture of that, but there will be other times in the future, and by then, there will be platforms up against the wall at various heights, plus some aerial planking for us to travel on like the wild jungle cats we are – yeah!!!
To backtrack a bit, the folks have really been hustling this past couple of weeks to get this pen ready. They kept having to dodge weather, which alternated between fits of sunshine, rain, pea-sized hail!!!, 40 mph winds, and drops in temperature, which made work conditions unpleasant. Mama really loves standing on a 10 foot rickety ladder, trying to nail hardware cloth in a 40 mph wind in 40 degree weather – NOT!!!
The Papa took advantage of the existing balcony to make the skeleton of the main end of the pen. He nailed 2x4’s into the house to establish the back of the cage, to give him the back end of the frame work to attach the bottom boards. The Mama did the gopher work during this phase, digging the trench into which the 2x10’s were sunk, plus running and fetching for “the master carpenter” – MOL! (They’re neither of them what you would call “handymen”, but even so, I think they did a great job!) About the 2x10’s – the Papa reasoned that even if the cats didn’t try digging out, something else might try digging in. Well, they’ll really have to WORK at it to get below those 2x10’s!
At the front of the pen, it was decided that there should be an area that would be open to the sunshine, so there’s an extension past the balcony which has a hardware cloth roof. The Mama had said when they discussed what would be the best roof, that maybe it would be less work to go with a translucent plexiglass roofing, but the Papa said “Well, maybe they’d like to be able to see the stars!” Cool. Thanks, Papa! In all, the cattery is about 8 x 13 square feet, or 104 square feet at the base. The area under the balcony is 11 feet in height, and the extension is about 6 feet, tall enough for the Papa to stand up in.
The tree in the corner is a story in itself. The Mama had been eyeing some box elders that had split and fallen down at the edge of the property. They are notorious for doing this. They get too top heavy and just fall over, but don’t die completely, enough of a portion still being attached to the mother tree that the limb still lives. One was laying along the ground, looking like the perfect cat tree! So the Papa took his chain saw and lopped it off, trimming most of the top part as well, but leaving a couple of side branches at the top. This was just great, except according to the Mama, the whole thing weighed a ton!!! Between the two of them, they managed to haul the limb up to the cage (before it was enclosed with hardware cloth), and with difficulty, propped it up against the side of the house at the back of the pen. Originally, the Mama had this bright idea that she was going to put it in the center of the pen, cemented in so it would be stable, and look oh-so-aesthetically-pleasing. Uh-uh. No way was that gonna work! For one thing, to have something that heavy be REALLY secure, the hole would have to be several feet deep, and the Mama wanted a TALL tree. So, even if they could have maneuvered a limb the size it would have to be, they wouldn’t have been able to get it in under the balcony. The Papa was nervous, too, that the thing was going to come crashing down through the window – a not unreasonable fear. So, instead, they left the tree leaning against the back wall, and the Mama dug a trench in front of its base to ease it down into the ground for security. As she was carefully digging closer to the limb, it decided on its own to take action – that sucker was so heavy, that as soon as she’d gotten close to it, it slid down into the trench. Slowly, thank the gods! She would have preferred to have the top side limb parallel with the front of the pen, too, but NOTHING is moving that tree now, short of a builder’s crane or a tornado (and we don’t want to say that second one too loudly…)
To finish up the story of the construction, after he had the framework built, the Papa made the gate. Meanwhile the Mama cut and nailed on the hardware cloth, which she is SO glad they chose over chicken wire, which would have been cheaper, but not as strong. Remember those 40 mph winds? Oh, and standing on a ladder 10 feet up in the air during that is definitely not her idea of fun. MOL! And word to the wise: don't EVER leave your hammer sitting on top of the ladder. Mama was very tired, and forgot, and then decided to take the ladder down. She had a small but bloody gash on the top of her head as a result, and still has a nice little sore bump. She's not making THAT mistake again!
They finished day before yesterday, and as soon as we were down that ramp, we did NOT WANT TO GO BACK IN!!!!!!! The wind had picked up and it was spitting a few raindrops, but we just couldn’t get enough of running around that pen!!! At first we slunk around the perimeter on our bellies, but pretty soon I was throwing dirt clods in the air and racing around chasing my sister up the tree. Later, she ran all the way to the top and stood on the little side branch just like Mama had imagined she would! She’s such a climber, that Sleeper! Of course, Mama was a worrywort. Sleeper did just what she’d expected and hoped, but she couldn’t help but worry about her falling. It’s not THAT high, Mama. Relax. And then when we didn’t want to come inside, she worried about us being too cold. And she worried because we were having so much fun, we didn’t want to come in and eat dinner!!! I ran in long enough to have a few bites, then was back out. Sleeper did the same. Don’t worry, we’re not going to starve!
Today we are both inside sleeping – it’s been a busy day. We even had our first visitor – another black cat. He or she sat outside the cattery and looked in, but no words were exchanged. It might have been my father, but who can say?
Mama and Papa promise when they catch their breaths, they will install some more perches and aerial catwalks; plus the whole thing needs to be tilled up again and planted with grass. The Mama will include a few cat-friendly plants and flowers, too, just for pretty. Anyway, we are two happy kitties.
That is mega mega mega pawsome! You are SO LUCKY! Wow! Can we come over and pway!?
That is one cool cattery!! Your Mama and Papa did a great job. Too bad that the weather wasn't cooperating but that sure didn't stop them.
Very cool ramp that you have and I would be climbing that tree too. Sounds like you have even more great ideas for it in the future. But I bet you kitties love it just the way it is. Will be exciting for you everytime something new is added to your cattery.
I want to come over and play too! I wonder if that was your daddy cat coming to visit you. He must have thought you were adopted into a wonderful home.
Have lots of fun, you two!
We, Miller and I, were wondering if you could convince our mom to build us one????
This is a beautiful thing!!! A masterpiece of your very own! I LOVE it!! Luv, Tink
Wow! Wowey zowey! You are going to have so much fun out there! My mom's dream is to have a house with an outdoor enclosure for me (and any future brother or sister I might have). She read an article in the NY Times about cat enclosures, and there were all these great pictures of cool ones. One had a walkway high up in the air that crossed from the house to a big tree and wrapped around it.
Your parents did an awesome job! I can't wait to see it when it's finished! And I am glad your mom is ok after the hammer thing- OUCH!
Thanks, guys! Yeah you should all come over to play - wouldn't THAT freak out the pawrents if a bunch of strange cats showed up at the door! MOL. There's tons of room in there, though. They were both really pleased at how everything turned out. And just wait till they cut the hole in the roof so we can go up on the balcony!!! Mama says: NOT THIS YEAR!!!
But we aren't strangers! We're all your Catster furriends! All she'd have to do is look at our pictures to know!
That sounds pawsome!!
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