As mentioned on recent Caturday posts, we’ve had a few incursions by raccoons and even skunks inside the feral cat house. While there haven’t been any cats home at the time, with them hanging out more in cold weather, I worry it’s only a matter of time.
My concern was that the front and back doors of the cat house were on the lower level, so if a cat was on the upper level when a raccoon came in, they’d be trapped, and would have to get past it to escape. Not ideal.
To solve this concern, I purchased another cat door like the existing ones to install on the upper level. I did that installation yesterday.
Here’s a photo of inside the cat house beforehand, after sliding open the front wall, that serves as maintenance access:
(If I were to build the cat house again, I would do a simpler design, with a swinging door on the side, instead of sliding the whole front wall, awning and all.)
Here is the back of the cat house; the new door will be above the existing one:
I started installation by cutting a small hole through the wall with my jigsaw, to check the positioning. The wall has five layers: batten boards, plywood, insulation, more plywood, and carpeting:
The small hole from inside:
I then incrementally enlarged the hole to the right size. Here’s a cam shot of me peeking through the larger hole:
Me mounting the inner frame of the door:
The completed inside frame (I planned to trim the loose flap of carpet on the ceiling, but forgot; no biggie):
(Another thing I’d skip if redesigning the cat house is the vents, which I keep permanently covered; I had thought I’d open them in summer, but the cats prefer a cozy house even in the heat of summer.)
The back view of the inner frame, before adding the outer one. The battens were removed with a hammer and chisel, and the hole cut with a jigsaw:
The outer frame and flap installed. I could touch up the paint to make it tidier, but probably won’t bother, since it’s sheltered under the eaves, and hidden behind shrubs:
A view from further back, of both back doors:
The new door is intended only as an emergency exit, so there isn’t a platform to jump onto; they can easily jump from that height to the ground.
To let them know that it’s a door, I temporarily propped it open with a bit of wood; I’ll remove that after a couple of days:
Porcini was of course the first one to check out the new door:
It didn’t faze them; the feral cats are cautious, but quickly adapt to changes: