Cat Condos and White (Cat) Privilege

Winter is coming. The forecast was for rain and I started to worry about the neighborhood cats. I have a couple of regular visitors. I feed and water them, but they are a little too street for my spoiled lazy cats.

Kitler was king of the yard before I moved here – my neighbor says ten years at least. He was a meany and he has a little half-mustache. It took a year and a half before he allowed me to pat his head. Now when he hears the door open, he comes running for his daily pat. These days he’s a roly-poly grump who tolerates the rest of us. He’s recently been attempting to look cute. But he’s stuck with the name. Sorry, Kitler, old pal! He had a cold (Kitler sneezing!) and that’s what spurred me into Cat Condo action.

Susanna is a vocal, needy, and slightly annoying cat. I feel bad for her because she had a blind, sick kitten. The vet made a house call, but we couldn’t save the kitten. A few weeks later, I managed to get her into a carrier and a friend took her in to get spayed (that was a drama and a half!). I named her after an annoying Susanna song – not “Oh Susanna” (although that’s also plenty annoying), this one.

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Susanna and Kitler

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Kitler coming in for a pat trying to look cute

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Susanna finally sits still after 20 picture attempts

Kitler would be ok, but this will be Susanna’s first winter. I found a few videos on YouTube and came up with an Israeli version of a Cat Condo.

Front view and top view (How-To below)

I made one the first day. Brave Susanna gave it a go and loved it!

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I snapped this after she’d been in there for an hour or so.

Normally, my white cats (Catski-Doodle and Kit-Kat Monster) look like this in winter.

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Snuggle-bunnies!

After I put out both Cat Condos, these two white entitled little brats demanded to go outside in the rain (it was pouring!) and spent the whole night in the Cat Condos! I couldn’t get them to come in. One finally scratched at the door at 4am. Guess why? To use the litter box!!! ARGH!! Seriously? The whole world is your toilet, but you’re coming in to make sure I clean it up for you! The second one came in at 6am like nothing had happened. That is some White Cat Privilege right there. No thought whatsoever that the Cat Condos could be for other cats. My black cat (Psycho Kitty) has no interest in being out in the rain and she couldn’t care less about the Condos.

The second night, when it wasn’t raining, everyone stayed inside and snuggled on the bed like they are supposed to.

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So you want to build a Cat Condo

Materials
60 liter storage box with lid
Outdoor seat cushion
Blanket scrap
Throw rug scrap
Tarp big enough to cover the box
cardboard (for insulation)
Duct tape

The most difficult and time-consuming part of the project is cutting a hole in the storage box – took me about an hour with a box cutter. You have to be sure that the hole is big enough for the cat but not too low allowing water to get in. Cover the sharp edges with duct tape to protect the cat. (If you crack the box while cutting like I did, duct tape it. One video recommended Rubbermaid, which would probably be easier to cut, but not available in Israel.)

I cut the cardboard so that I had a long piece to go around three sides and another piece on the bottom. I’m debating about gluing some cardboard and blankets to the lid, but it seems to me that the tarp works like a tent and it should retain some heat. (I’d be happy to hear some input on that in the comments.)

I used the throw rug for the curtain doors. It would also help to retain heat. I duct taped it above the door and cut it in the middle so the cats would know it was an entrance. I saw the cats pulling them closed when they were inside. They also feel safe.

The cushion takes up most of the floor space (soft, but also insulation). I covered all of it with a microfleece blanket. I have a few in the house and my cats LOVE them. The scrap was big enough to go over the sides of the cardboard.

The storage boxes that were the right size had lids that opened at the half-way point. Not very protective against the rain. That’s why I got the tarp. I didn’t want to close the box completely because the point of the lid is to be able to easily get in there and, if needed, clean the space or replace elements. So I duct taped the tarp on one side of the box and cut it so that it would tuck in on the other side.

Placement: I didn’t want to put it directly on the tiles of the patio, so one is placed on a pallet in the yard and I lifted the other one on two wooden slats. Not being a heating engineer, I hope this works. Also, I put a big rock on the top to weigh the box down.

Susanna seemed to like the space and I’ve found her in one box or the other (when my cats weren’t exercising their privilege). I have yet to see Kitler get in one. He’s sly, so we’ll see how it goes. Now I just have to make sure Louie, Pumpkin, Evil Snoopy, and the others don’t take them over. I don’t really want a Cat Colony in the yard.