Meet Noah, a year-and-a-half-old ex-stray (as of this past summer) who needs a house for the winter.
Meet Ray, my charming husband who truly cares about Noah having a warm house this winter. Ray has self-taught carpentry skillz that have benefitted stray cats for a couple dozen years.
We had an old dog house, used for years by other strays, and we had a huge roll of carpet padding. Ray cut the padding to fit the top of the dog house, and taped it into place.
Next, the padding was used to … um… pad the bottom of the house, along with the sides. I added Noah’s bed.
And then I added a blanket and a self-heating pad. We put the top back on and then left Noah to investigate and make this wonderpurr house his very own. Ray wanted to put the house up on cinder blocks to get it off the cold cement, but Noah demands to have all four paws on the ground at all times. He does not climb trees, much less climb chairs or even his cat tree. I put an old chair pad under the house to absorb the cold cement.
Unfortunately… this stray cat is a wee bit skeptical about his winter shelter. And, cat’s being cats… I knew if I didn’t make changes, he would sleep under a tree all winter. As Noah is about a year and a half, I’m kinda thinking he’s slept under a lot of trees in his short lifetime. But I can’t let that happen without trying to make him happy.
So I chopped down the bottom padding so it fit perfectly, and I rearranged the blankets to fit a little better. I noticed one night Noah was asleep under the porch cat tree, so I gave him yet another self-heat pad and I blocked the wind with an old chaise lounge pad. Then I butted the house up against all this to create Noah’s Camp.
Yes, that’s Noah asleep inside his Camp. I have a heat lamp ready to go on really cold nights, but I could use other ideas about how to get Noah inside his new home. Any suggestions are sincerely welcome.
Just because you make a stray cat a winter shelter doesn’t mean he’s going to think it’s as purrrfect for his needs as you do. Most strays have had a hard life, and along with that hard life comes mistrust, especially of containers. I don’t know if Noah has had scares with live traps, but I’m guessing he has. He’s still in need of vaccinations and neutering, but I’ve worked very hard all summer to get him to lie at my feet for a body rub. Now he trips me as I step out the door, and demands lots of body rubbing. And slowly he’s been rolling onto his back to expose his belly. Slowly.
The moral of this story is…You can’t rush a stray. You have to let them tell you want their needs are, and then you have to shelf your own ideas and go with theirs. Otherwise, they will leave to find a place where they aren’t being pestered.