Thursday, 7 May 2015
(I wasn't sure if this blog was still going as I seem to spend my writing time posting stuff on Facebook but, even if this is the last post here I do, it will go out on, I hope, an interesting note.)
I made a proposal to the committee that, if Animal Krackers would pay for the flagstones to be put down then I would pay for a single unit cat shed in my garden. This wasn't entirely altruistic on my part as, since I pretty much moved into this house about two and a bit years ago, the conservatory has been used solely by cats I've fostering as, because it's the only safe way into my garden, my cats -a total of seven accumulated by mid-2014- have been house cats. As a result the few visitors I have arrive with a peg on their nose.
Things had got better recently as, having decided to go ahead, when the cat I was currently fostering had her section vaccination and went to our re-homing centre, I didn't replace her. And, for the first time since I moved in, I let the cats out.
They quickly learned how to use the cat flap and equally quickly decided that -hey, this outside isn't bad at all, and that green stuff looks good to eat, and to throw up. I got a fright when one of them didn't come back and ended up staying away for three days but since then no problems and I hope it stays that way if only because the amount of litter tray cleaning I have to do has drastically decreased. I don't think they go too far and the garden next door on my left is cat friendly except when their, actually cat friendly, dog (his best friend is a cat they got from me at Christmas) is out and about. So it's all working out very nicely and it's nice to turn my head and see cats in the garden, though the large bunny who used to visit hasn't been back for a while.
Right: the cat shed.
I looked on Ebay to see what there was, downloaded images of something which seemed suitable and went to a pet suppliers just up the road to see if they could do something similar and cheaper. The answer was yes and no, sort of. They could build it for the same price but that also included erection (no cheap jokes please) plus there was the advantage of being able to make changes if I needed to. Three weeks later and there it was. Total cost: £585.00 which isn't bad really as it's exactly what I wanted, although with hindsight it might have been another 6 inches or foot higher.
What you don't see are a couple of boards which can be easily fixed on to either side to stop the rain, snow and/or hail coming in. The tarpaulin on the top will hang down over the door. Some insulation has been added to the bedroom (green in the photo below) and several sheets on underlay for laminate flooring which I had left over add some more as well as giving a soft surface for the cat to sit. There's a cat bed of course and I've got a microwavable hot water bottle for when it gets cold.
If that makes all sound nice and easy, it wasn't. Not that it was difficult either but... I'd originally decided to have it on the other side on a rectangle covered with stone chippings (and weeds). I measured it (several times because I don't trust my own accuracy) then worked out how many paving stones I need (several times as even with a calculator I'm still not good at maths) and how much it would cost -that bit I could manage. I was all set to order the paving stones when it suddenly occurred to me that it would save money, time and a shed-load of effort if it went on the lower decking area where there was only some weather-worn cheap plastic chairs and a garden table which I've never used in the two and half years I've been here. It also turned out to look a lot better and doesn't alter the view of my garden through the conservatory windows.
About five hours after it was complete -took an hour to put up- it had its first resident and here she is. Cassie, abandoned by her owner who moved and left her behind. She's eight years old, has been declared in good health by the vet and received her first vaccination, adapted easily to life in the shed, eats, drinks, and uses the litter tray dropping nice solid stools in the process. She is also friendly and doesn't seem to mind being picked up; she certainly likes being stroked. Shame she's so odd looking but oddly beautiful at the same time. She'll be with me for about three weeks until she get her second vaxx when she'll be transferred to our re-homing centre and I'll be getting, if the plan comes together, two jet black young brothers.