Housing Alternatives for Cats & Kittens (H.A.C.K.?)

Meet Smokey. She's a large, fluffy furred smoke grey cat, of unknown age. She has been spayed, and was vaccinated.

Smokey's story, as told to this writer, is that she once belonged to a military family. When the family had to leave for Iraq, they intended to bring Smokey with them. On that day, Smokey could not be found, and because Uncle Sam won't wait, the family was forced to leave Smokey behind. Before they left, they asked the neighbor lady to feed Smokey if she saw her and she agreed.

The neighbor lady has been feeding Smokey every day for at least five years, she estimates.  Neighbor Lady lives with two dogs, so she can't bring Smokey into her house. In cold weather, she hangs an electric cord out her kitchen window, so Smokey has a warm electric blanket to sleep on. Fortunately, it doesn't snow in this part of the world.

In the winter I bought two big plastic storage boxes with lids at Walmart. Both are forest green to blend with the environment. With a utility knife, I cut cat size holes into opposite ends of the boxes. I punched smaller holes through the lid and the upper edge of the container on each side, and threaded a length of twine through the two holes on each side, and knotted the ends, fastening the lid to the box so the wind wouldn't blow the "roof" off. With another longer piece of twine, I tied a cat toy to one side of the lid.

Inside the box I sprinkled pine chips, to a make a soft and comfortable floor. Granddaughter shared her crayolas and artistic expertise and helped me decorate the outside of the cat shelter with flowers and butterflies and  a sign over the front door that says: "No Dogs Allowed."

I planted cat grass seeds in a small growing box and placed it on the roof of the cat building.
The grass is growing nicely. Rooftop gardening is fun and easy.

The cat colony in the woods hasn't shown much interest in the alternative manufactured cat housing--yet.

Smokey, on the other hand, likes her new house and she has made it her own. When she isn't blending into the bushes, or sitting on the sidewalk staring down a passing dog, she can be found in the alternative cat home, her golden yellow eyes glowing in the shadows.


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