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Caturday 65

Posted on June 23rd, 2018

Dave!Today I'm driving over the mountains again. Then, after a soul-crushing ordeal that will leave me wrecked, I'm turning around and coming right back home. Not the best way to spend a Saturday, but that's life for ya.

Fortunately I'll return to piles of work to distract me and two cats to delight me.

Now that Summer has arrived, most of Jake and Jenny's time is spent in the catio... watching birds and napping the day away. Which is exactly how I'd want to spend my days if I didn't have to buy food and pay a mortgage.

The sisal pole addition to the catio has been a huge hit. Jenny started climbing it bottom-to-top from the very beginning. Now Jake is into climbing it as well...

It's really amazing to watch them go climbing. They absolutely love it. I guess all cats do...

Jake Climbing a Pole

Jake Climbing a Pole

The money to add it wasn't too bad... $12 pole plus $50 in sisal rope plus $15 in glue... but the time to clean it, scrub it, prime it, protect it, glue it, wrap it, and mount it was the killer.

Still 100% worth it though.

Guess it's time to build the final part of PHASE TWO so I can move on to other projects for a while.

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Caturday 64

Posted on June 16th, 2018

Dave!One of the first projects I put on my list once I got my wood shop set up was finishing PHASE TWO of the catio. The first part was the ramp, which I installed last weekend. The second part is a giant scratching post that Jake and Jenny can access on three levels... or climb from top to bottom as they wish.

When I drew up the initial sketches for the catio, the pole was already there and installation points were planned. All I needed to do was build the thing. Which was easier said than done, because neither Home Depot nor Lowes had round fence posts in stock. I'd have to wait until I was over the mountains and get it then.

Or so I thought.

A friend from high school on Facebook mentioned that the local farm supply carried them. And so away we go...

Catio Pole Installation

First step was to thoroughly scrub it down with soap and a wire brush...

Catio Pole Installation

Then it was time to fill all the cracks and sand it smooth...

Catio Pole Installation

Catio Pole Installation

After three coats of shellac to protect it from moisture, I went to see how it was going to fit and discovered it was too tall. And so...

Catio Pole Installation

Then it was time to wrap the entire thing in sisal rope so the kitties have something to claw on. I wanted to be sure that it wouldn't come loose, so I bought some cement to glue it in place. Not willing to trust that this would be enough, I stapled it along the way on the back side as well...

Catio Pole Installation

From using maths not quite forgotten (C=2πr) I knew I needed seven rolls of 50-foot, 3/8" sisal. The farm & feed store only had five, so the remainder had to be bought at Home Depot. It was slooowwww going, as I was having to glue-wrap-glue-wrap-glue all the way down...

Catio Pole Installation

Installation was pretty easy. I had wrapped brackets under the sisal... the ends were protected by shellac and silicone, and the spot I had designed for it was easily accessible. I added a third bracket to the top of the pole so it was secured to the ceiling as well. Once it was all screwed together I couldn't budge it, so I'm confident it will be safe for Jake and Jenny.

And speaking of the little monsters... Jake watched me install it through the window and ran out to start scratching on it the minute I opened the door. Looks like another catio success!

Catio Pole Installation

I have one final piece for PHASE TWO that I'm hoping to get to in-between other projects next month. Then, depending how long I'm otherwise occupied in my wood shop, it's on to the finale of my catio plan... PHASE THREE.

Until I dream up PHASE FOUR, of course. Lucky cat bastards!

UPDATE: And... Father's Day came early. Jenny just climbed the entire pole from bottom to top! So proud! Unfortunately, she was climbing opposite the camera, so I don't have video... but here's her little paws peeking out as she scaled to the upper shelf...

Jenny Climbing the Catio Pole

That she ran down the ramp I had installed last weekend is just icing on the cake!

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Cat Cat Catio Ramp

Posted on June 12th, 2018

Dave!Now that I've finished a bunch of projects, cleaned out my garage, and prioritized my to-do list, I've finally converted my garage over to a wood shop. All I have left to do is hang up the dust barriers, and I'm good to start building! A month-and-a-half later than planned, but better late than never.

One of the first things I'm doing is finishing up the PHASE TWO catio projects that have been lingering since last Fall. It all started with a "Cat Ramp" I had planned to run up the side of the structure. I had built it months ago... it's just floor mats wrapped around a 1 × 6 × 10-foot board that was then glued and screwed to a pressure-treated 2 × 6 × 10-foot board... but I never got around to installing it.

Well, I finally did that...

Cat Ramp in the Catio

Jake and Jenny absolutely love it. The ramp gives them an opportunity to use their claws to climb, so it's kind of like and really long scratching post they can climb and run around on...

As you saw at the end of that video, Jenny makes a death-defying leap across the catio, which is something I did not count on. Jake does it too...

They love the ramp so much that I've decided to not wait on the sisal pole and catwalk pieces I planned to add this Fall. I'll get started on those right away.

It's the least I can do to keep them occupied while I'm away from home!

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Lords of the Flies

Posted on March 19th, 2018

Dave!I worked all weekend, so this Monday was just more of the same. Except I spent most of the day feeling like it should be Saturday because I didn't get a Saturday.

=sigh=

In other news... the flies have started waking up. Not that I've seen any of them in my house, but the cats are going insane out in the catio chasing them around the place...

Jake and Jenny Chasing Flies in the Catio

From the minute I got home, I've been hearing BUHDA BUHDA BUHDA as Jake and Jenny run up and down and up and down.

Though sometimes Jenny prefers to just observe from the safety of her home...

Jenny Watching Flies in the Catio

Jenny Watching Flies in the Catio

Not that I blame her. It's still getting too cold out there for my tastes.

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Caturday 8

Posted on November 26th, 2016

Dave!My back door was glass, which meant I couldn't install a pet door so the cats could go out to the catio whenever they wanted. So I saved my pennies and bought a new fiberglass door, then had a cat door installed in it. After a day of training them, Jake and Jenny figured out how to go in and out as the pleased... without my having to leave the door open and lose heat.

I've decided to hold off until Spring to finish up the catio but, in the meanwhile, I think I'm going to try my hand at making my own cat tree. The cats love the carpeted thing I bought, but it's just so darn ugly. Surely there's a way to make something that's fun and functional, but looks more like furniture than a fuzzy monolith?

Something to think about.

In other cat news... I found some wicker baskets that had a fabric liner while I was cleaning out the garage. Jake just chews on them, but Jenny seems to think they are some kind of impenetrable fortress. Whenever she is being chased or wants to feel safe, in she goes...

Janny In the Basket.

Kinda funny how that works in her head.

But, then again, most things that cats do are funny in my head.

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Cat Catchup: Catio

Posted on November 3rd, 2016

Dave!Hey! This is PART TWO of THREE PARTS updating everybody about my cats.

Way back in April, I mentioned that I was planning on building a "catio" (cat patio enclosure) so Jake and Jenny could go outside while still being safe. My original intent was to design and build it myself, but work got so busy that I ended up hiring a contractor to build the exterior part plans I made, then I could build the interior pieces myself as time permitted..

Catio Building

Catio Plans!

Catio Building

After a few days, it was time to unleash the kittehs!

Catio Building

Catio Building

Catio Building

The cat outside is named "Fake Jake." That's because when my brother was cat-sitting, he thought she was Jake and brought her inside. Hilarity ensued. Fake Jake is kind of crazy-aggressive, and likes to terrorize my cats from time to time...

Fake Jake Terror!

Fake Jake Terror!

Fake Jake Terror!

The contractor ended up putting in four window panels instead of the three I had drawn up in my plans for some reason. This meant having to change my concept for the inside shelves, but it all worked out in the end. I made them to have removable panels so I could use heat-trapping rubber-backed mats in winter to keep them warm... and a mesh floor in summer to keep them cool...

Catio Building

Catio Building

Catio Building

Going from three panel windows to four meant that I didn't have room for a ramp to the top shelf. Instead I devised a narrow "catwalk" that would allow Jake and Jenny to navigate the upper-level and have a shelf to be able to see out of the narrow end...

Catio Building

Catio Building

The finished shelving...

Catio Building

Pretty nifty, huh? Needless to say... a ton of work. But a good project for a novice woodworker because I learned a lot. I also discovered the joys of owning a pneumatic brad nailer, which is about the handiest thing for light construction projects you can imagine.

But the best part of it all?

The cats love their catio.

They are out there all the time...

Catio Building

Catio Building

In the Spring I'll start PHASE 2 of construction, which includes adding a ramp next to the house... adding a log climber in the narrow end... adding a cat-ladder on the opposite narrow end... putting in a cat grass tray... and tiling the floor.

Something fun to look forward to!

And About Those Cubs...

When the Red Sox finally broke their "curse" in 2004, I was on a cruise ship. I was wearing my Boston jersey the whole time, and kept running into a couple who were also wearing Red Sox jerseys... we'd give a "GO BOSTON" wave whenever we passed. The final game of the series was a "sea day" and I remember sitting in a bar on the starboard side of the ship watching the game. When the Red Sox won, I let out a yell and heard another yell coming from the port side. I ran to the banister to look across, and the couple I kept running into did the same. We were yelling across the ship and waving our arms like crazy people. Heck, we WERE crazy people. It was kind of a special way to celebrate a win that some Red Sox fans had waited 86 years... a lifetime, really... to see. So, if it couldn't be Boston, I'm happy for the Cubbies winning the World Series after waiting 108 years! Congrats to the team and all their fans!

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