A project to build a shelter and feeder for the family of feral cats that adopted us. For weekly posts on the progress of the cats themselves, check out the cats category of the blog.
This is a summary of the initial steps, and the big construction project itself, with links to the individual blog posts about it.
We chose to get a couple of feral cats to live in our workshop, to keep it free of rodents. But we didn’t choose to have outdoor feral cats — that just happened.
One day we looked outside and saw what we initially thought was a rat, but turned out to be a kitten… in fact four of them, and their mother (click the link to see the original blog post):
To give the kittens some shelter when feeding them, I bought and assembled a prefab kitty condo:
An initial attempt to provide an automated feeder suffered the wrath of raccoons, so I devised a raccoon-proof feeder:
As winter rolled around, I bought a heated shelter for them to live in:
I also modified the feeder, to put the food dish under cover:
But I wanted a better solution, so I sketched a plan for a custom cat house and feeder:
Construction started with the floor, naturally enough:
I did refine the plans a bit, though things changed a bit more during construction:
The walls were next, with insulation sandwiched between plywood sheets:
More walls, and platforms:
The roof also has insulation (on the shelter side):
The entire front of the shelter side can be slid open, to maintain the interior:
The cat house was designed with an old west theme, so has fun facades at the top:
Although the walls are just sheets of plywood, I added some extra trim to make it look like board-and-batten siding:
I didn’t do any work on the cat house in May, but I did post an update on the feral cats in their old feeder and shelter:
Back to work on it, I started painting:
And more painting:
And finished painting:
Next was roofing, leveraging skills from building the chicken coop:
Then adding the windows, doors, and feeder:
At last, after some final touches of decorations, electrical, and carpet, it was time for installation:
It didn’t take long for the cats to explore the new structure. They started eating there very quickly:
And explore the shelter part:
An exciting development was a couple of cats first sleeping in the shelter:
I added a camera to the feeder side, and tweaked the food pipe:
Some more modifications, to add a light strip and protective barrier around the feeder camera:
And tweaked the feeder tube:
A barrier for the shelter camera, too:
I replaced the automatic feeder with an internet-connected one, so I can remotely dispense food to have more control (and thus reduce the incidents of leaving food overnight to attract wildlife):
A related project, that I’ll include here: I built a platform for two cat cabins under our main deck, expanding the capacity of heated shelters:
I also added a back door to the feeder area of the cat house, enabling them to escape if the main entrance is blocked:
Also related, I added another heated shelter in the breezeway next to our workshop:
To provide an emergency exit from the upper level, I added an upper back door:
That’s it for now! I don’t anticipate any more modifications in the immediate future, but will update this post if I do, and the blog of course.
For numerous cute pictures of the cats (and not so cute other visitors), follow the weekly Caturday blog posts!