I guess my “Building a cat shelter: a summary” post was a little premature, as I’ve just made some modifications to the feeder side.
But first, some backstory on the motivation (and cute cat pics).
I’ve had a periodic problem with some unwelcome nocturnal visitors to the feeder on occasion. Sometimes a possum:
And sometimes a family of raccoons (typically an adult and three young ones):
Once we had a deer too, but that wasn’t a bother (but if you look closely, you might see a pair of cat eyes to the left of the deer leg, on the deck of the cat house; the deer quickly retreated when it saw the cat, though I doubt it was a threat):
We even had an alien cat visit a few times (one that looks very much like our pet Paladin, but isn’t; he’s inside-only):
Here are four of the ferals:
Anyway, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the food level, trying to balance it so the cats get all the food they want, but don’t leave anything overnight, to entice the wildlife. The camera in the feeder has really helped with that, and I’ve adjusted the time and amount of food released by the automatic dispenser to achieve that goal, with mixed success. Sometimes the food runs out too early, sometimes the raccoons come at different times, etc.
So my next attempt to discourage the wildlife is to add a light to the feeder area. Hopefully that won’t bother the cats, but will put off the raccoons and possum. I expect they’ll adapt to it, but hopefully not.
I also wanted to make some other changes. The metal food dish is a bit too deep, both in the height and front-to-back sense, and the metal might get uncomfortable in freezing temperatures. So I wanted to replace that. A shallower dish would need to be more forward to line up with the pipe, so I also wanted to add a baffle to do that, and protect the camera (having been dislodged once by the raccoons).
Finally, I also wanted to caulk the edges of the wall, to prevent winter moisture seeping under it into the shelter area.
So I did that first, after removing the old dish:
(The caulk is actually clear; goes on white, but dries clear.)
I then built a wall structure, with cutouts for the camera and such. The boards sticking out from either side were intended to screw it to the feeder walls, but I didn’t end up bothering with that, since it seems plenty secure without:
The back side:
Here’s everything installed; the wall protecting the camera and acting as a baffle or backstop of the new food dish (which, like the first one, is screwed to the floor), plus the light strip on the ceiling:
The light strip color can be changed. I have it set to the dimmest red color initially, but could make it brighter, or another color, if desired.
Here’s a view of the storage shelf above the feeder area:
A closer view of the feeder area, with food in the dish, and the water dispenser in place:
The first visitor:
Let’s see how this goes!