Building a cat shelter: decorations, electrical, carpet, installation

The new cat house has now been completed and installed!

Where we last left the construction progress, I installed the windows, doors, and feeder.

Next, I worked on some decorative touches. Firstly I made some shutters for the windows:

But I had misgivings about them, since they’re a bit busy, and not particularly western-themed (based on pictures of old west buildings). So after trying them (without attaching):

Jenn and I decided it looked better without them:

I could always add them later if I change my mind.

I also added some decorations by the shelter entrance, including fake saloon doors, wagon wheels, and barrels (the latter two of which I got via Etsy). The barrels have a functional purpose too: they help hold the maintenance door in place:

A closer view of a wagon wheel and the barrels:

Next I added the two heating pads to the lower level of the shelter, plus a camera inside the shelter. The wires go inside the facades:

I added a power strip in the storage area of the feeder side:

The heating pads are now unplugged, since they don’t need extra warmth in these summer months, but I’ll re-connect them when it gets cooler.

All of the holes the cords go through are closed with screwed plywood panels:

Then I started adding carpeting to the floor and walls of the shelter:

The carpeting not only makes it more cozy inside, it also helps cover the wires for the heating pads. On the upper level, there are also a couple of thermal blankets, that reflect the heat of the cat:

That was the last step of the construction!

It was finally time to install it. As you may recall, I built the cat house in multiple pieces, so it could be moved from the workshop to the final location. We changed where we wanted it; originally it was going to be just below our deck, where the old shelter was. But the cats haven’t used that much of late, both because they didn’t need the heat as the weather has warmed up, and also they aren’t too keen on us and our dog Rory being nearby, as we enjoy the deck in the summer. They are still feral, after all.

So we decided to install it by our small pond. Still close enough to the house so they can pay their rent by taking care of mice etc, but hopefully far enough away to avoid crowding them. We’ll see!

Anyway, here we’ve brought over the facade and maintenance doors:

The floor, leveled and on concrete footings:

The walls, still sitting on the cart for transport:

Much appreciation to Jenn for her assistance in moving the heavy components!

The walls and roof added to the floor:

Fully assembled:

A slightly different angle:

The back:

The various components were then screwed together:

Very basic back steps; in the original location, they wouldn’t have needed steps here (since it sloped the opposite way), but now they do; I might build some nicer steps sometime, but this will do for now:

I moved the old shelter to next to the new cat house, as a hint for the cats. You can see how much more space they’ll have in their new digs:

Lastly, I moved the old feeder a little down the path. I’ll slowly move it towards the new shelter, to show the cats where it is. We’ll see how quickly they figure it out:

It’s exciting to have completed this project. Like with the chicken coop, I may have gotten a little carried away with my design… but I really like how it turned out. I started back in February this year, so it’s taken me about 5 months of part-time work. But it has been a fun hobby project.

Now I just hope that the cats approve. They may or may not move into the shelter for a while, but they’ll hopefully accept the feeder, and may enjoy the warmth of the shelter once the weather cools off.

Building a cat shelter: windows, doors, and feeder

More progress on the new cat house. (Previous post: roofing.)

I installed the Lexan clear plastic windows, the window trim, and decorative muntins:

I also installed cat doors in the front and back, plus ventilation grilles:

The vents can be closed in winter to keep it nice and toasty inside:

The cat door on the front is held open with a short bungee cord, to encourage the cats to enter. Eventually, once they get used to going through the door, the cord will be removed:

I installed the side door on the feeder part, with a continuous hinge, gate latch, and handle:

Inside the feeder, I installed a 2″ pipe to take the dry cat food from the dispenser to a metal dish (cake pan). Here you can see the tube (with excess pipe at the top) with the central shelf removed:

I made a drawer on top of the shelf, with notches for the tube:

Here’s the shelf re-installed, with the drawer pulled out. This will make it easy to refill the feeder:

The drawer pushed back in. I’ll store spare food in the space to the right:

Here you can see the nozzle of the food dispenser positioned above the end of the tube:

The food drops down the tube into the dish:

I also attached the signs to the facades with construction adhesive and screws from the back:

I added several roller catches to hold the front of the facades on:

I had planned to have the facades hinge down, but the roller catches seem to hold it securely, so I’ll just remove the front entirely when accessing inside the facades (which will be very rare; it’s basically just a conduit for power cords):

Here’s the (almost) completed front, with the windows, facades, signs, etc:

Front view:

The exterior is now basically complete, other than some decorative touches… which is probably the next step. It’ll be a week or two before I can get back to that, though. Stay tuned!

Building a cat shelter: roofing

Continuing my series on building a new cat house (previous post: finished painting), over the last few days I did the roofing.

But first, I put the walls back onto the floor:

Here’s a view inside, showing the feeder storage area on the left, and the shelter on the right:

The roof and facades also back on:

I then added metal drip strip to the edges of the roof. This helps protect the edges from rain:

Also on the awnings:

Then added roofing underlayment tar paper, which serves as a layer of waterproofing:

Tar paper on the roof:

Next is a shingles starter strip, which has self-adhesive underneath, and a strip of adhesive at the bottom of the top side, to help secure the first course of shingles. While not strictly necessary, without this starter strip, the bottom edge of the shingles wouldn’t be as securely attached, so could blow up in the wind:

Then the asphalt shingles were added, with each course offset (for a nicer appearance, and so the gaps aren’t all in a line):

The shingles are nailed in the center, so the nails are hidden under the subsequent row. They have adhesive at the bottom, which sticks when the shingles heat up once they are exposed to the sun:

Here’s the roof almost completed (just the very top course not installed yet):

Starter strips on the awnings:

Shingles in progress:

The roof fully completed:

With the facades added back, you can see the wall-to-roof flashing on top of the shingles:

The awnings finished. The nails at the top of the awnings will be hidden under trim boards. The one on the shelter (left) side will also serve as the bottom frame of the windows:

I may have over-strained myself doing the roofing yesterday; my hand was feeling pins-and-needles for hours afterwards, and is still slightly tingly, though improving. So I’m taking a day off construction and other garden projects today to rest.

Like painting, doing the roofing was a major milestone; it’s looking much closer to being finished now.

Next up: installing the windows, window trim, doors, etc.

Building a cat shelter: finished painting

I’ve now completed painting the new cat house, including two coats of the four colors, and touch-ups. (Previous post about painting here.)

Here you can see several of the pieces: in the foreground is the feeder side door and several bits of trim for around windows; behind them is the floor, then the walls, and in the top-left is the facade front door:

Here’s a closer look at the facade front door (sitting on a pile of wood):

The walls, from the front-right side. The unpainted top of the awning will be covered by roofing materials:

The back-right of the walls:

The back of the facades:

I was supervised by Pepper, one of the two feral cats that live in the shop:

Next up: roofing for the awnings and roof!

Building a cat shelter: floor & roof painting

I thought I wouldn’t do any more till next weekend after Sunday’s painting, but I decided to do more painting yesterday afternoon.

I started by separating the components; this is the first time I’ve removed the walls from the floor since building them. As expected, it’s a little heavy, but not too heavy for me to lift, so that’s a relief for installation:

I then painted the floor a dark brown color:

I also painted the underside of the deck; not entirely pointful, but it’ll help protect the untreated deck boards from ground moisture:

I painted the edges and underside of the awnings with the same color (which closely matches the metal drip strip that will go around the edges):

Plus the roof eaves:

And finally the top of the facades:

(By the way, I made a mistake when painting the front of the facades: the right side in the above picture should be red, not blue. I’ll fix that when doing the second coat.)

Now I’m really done till the weekend (plus or minus a few days; weekdays have no meaning for me).

Feral cats: an update

Yesterday I linked to an excellent video that the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) produced that featured our feral cats. So I thought I’d do a little update with some new photos of the cats.

They’re all still doing well, and are enjoying scampering around and laying in the sun on these warmer days. This morning was a bit damp, but of course they still turned up for breakfast from the auto-feeder, and took turns eating.

Here you can see Spud sitting on top of the feeder roof, one cat eating and another queued behind her, and Portabella in the foreground:

Can you see two cats in this picture?

Look closer: Poppy sitting amongst the flowers next to the lawn:

They’re still enjoying their heated shelter, even on warm days like yesterday:

Sometimes ya gotta stretch out:

And yawn!

I am continuing to work on a fancy new western-themed combo shelter and feeder for them. Check out the cat shelter blog posts for details of the building process.

Here are a couple of recent shots, showing the current state:

Want to see more of the cats, building the shelter, and more? Follow Yellow Cottage Homestead on Twitter, FacebookMicro.blog, or via RSS.

Building a cat shelter: trim

Another weekend, another few hours on the cat shelter construction.

This was one of the last bits of primary building: adding decorative trim to the walls, to make them appear like board-and-batten siding.

But first, a rare photo of Pepper, one of the two feral cats that live in the workshop. Pepper lives high on a shelf in the front part, and Pansy lives in the back half:

As previously mentioned, I ordered some signs for the two parts of the structure. I actually got two custom signs from two different people, and decided on one pair that we preferred. Here’s the “Cat House Saloon” sign for the shelter, made by HarkenHomeWoodcraft on Etsy, temporarily resting in place:

And the “Mercantile” sign for the feeder:

A view of both signs:

Anyway, back to the trim work. I added 1×0.5″ boards (ripped from 1x2s) to the walls, glued and nailed in place, to simulate board-and-batten style siding:

On the front:

On the facade front:

The shelter maintenance door removed, to make it easier to add the trim on the bottom half:

The feeder side door & wall:

The front and side:

Another angle:

Peeking under the awnings; the boards laying on the deck are cut pieces for the window surrounds, so they can be painted before installing the windows:

Above the awnings:

Adding trim to the back of the facades:

And the back wall, which will probably not be visible, but still worth making look nice:

I shoved the roof forward to make it easier to do the back wall; like many other parts, the roof will remain removable until installation:

That’s basically it for the woodwork. Next up is caulking and painting.

Building a cat shelter: facades

Over the weekend I got back to working on the new cat house, in between planting trees, bee inspections, and other stuff.

This time, I built the facades at the top of the front wall, to help give it an old-west theme.

As you may recall, the structure is divided into two sides: the shelter on the left, and the feeding station on the right. So the facades reflect this, suggesting two separate (but joined) buildings, with a squared two-step facade on the shelter side, and a triangle facade on the feeder side.

Here are the back and sides:

Some interior framing added to the top:

Behind the facades is a metal roof-to-wall flashing, that will sit on top of the roofing shingles. The wall side was roughly cut with a reciprocating saw:

The rough edge of the flashing is hidden behind another layer of plywood:

Top 8×1 boards:

Front view with the top boards in place:

Like other parts of the structure, the facades can be removed, to make installation easier. It’ll be screwed into place. Here, I’m adding more bracing:

Added some corner trim:

Back view, showing trim under the top boards:

The entire front of the facades is a door that will hinge downward, to provide access to the cavity within, which will house wires and power supplies for the cameras and heating pads.

Here I added trim to the door:

The center of each facade will contain a custom sign purchased via Etsy; more on those in the future.

The door clamped in place:

A view of the whole structure:

Another angle:

The basic structure is now mostly complete; all that remains before it can be painted is some decorative trim work. There’s still a fair bit to do: painting, roofing, door hardware, some decorative touches, and more.

Second beehive stand

A simple mini-project for the weekend was to build another stand for the two new beehives we’ll be setting up soon. We’ll be picking up two more nucs (nucleus hives) mid-April, so have bought more hives, and needed a stand for them to sit on. I used the same design as the first one.

Here’s the basic frame; the spacing is perfect both for the hive boxes, and to rest frames temporarily during inspections (e.g. see an empty frame towards the back of this picture):

Legs; the middle legs are shorter than the corner ones, as they will sit on taller footing blocks (for reasons; stay tuned for the installation for why):

Some hive bases demoing the fit. As with the first hive stand, there’s room in the middle for a third hive. We’ll likely add another one on each of the stands next year:

Jenn has been painting the new hive boxes fun colors: