Friday, November 25, 2011

Low Income Housing for Cats

With all the scrap wood I got out in Millersburg, I have been building the first low income housing unit for some Lebanon cats. I'm no good at creating plans before I build something, a severe fault. I plan as I go. The only plan was I decided to make it 24" by 30" on the inside.

But, I add an inch and a half, in this case at least, of insulation, contained between inner and outer walls. Yeah. These are not flimsy built houses at all. I would not know how to do flimsy.

I had to add slope to the roof. I added only one and half inches for two feet, which isn't much slope. For some reason, I decided to give this house a deck on each end, for lounging around! Why not? So I extended the floor by nine inches on either side. I will also overhang the roof to cover the decks, for lounging in the rain comfort.

What to do for roofing, since shingles can be expensive. I tried ironing, on highest heat, plastic, to the OSB, thinking I could melt it into a meld onto the OSB surface, creating a semi water proof board. I had covered the plastic (an empty wood pellet bag), which was placed on the OSB with some mailing paper first. Didn't work.

Off to the Habitat Store in Corvallis. There, I found a nice long roll of roofing paper for $6, which will last for many housing unit roofs to come. I also got some old tin, torn off something else, for $2. It is bent with holes, but I can pound those out, no problem.

I had hoped to have this first unit done pronto. But no, hasn't happened. Mostly, I have been watching paint dry--very very slowly, in my cold garage. Sure the paint is a strange color, but it came at a bargain of five gallons for five dollars at the Habitat Store also. You can't beat that.

Everything is painted now. All I have to do is install the inside insulation and then screw on the inside walls. Before that though, I do have to cut the entry, exit holes, but that's no big job.

Then, after the roof board is hinged on, I'll tar paper it, cut the tin to fit with tin snips, nail that on, repair the holes and deliver the thing. I have half a can of green spray paint and plan to add some better color to the outside with that. A friend is giving me a couple flakes of straw to put inside, before I head up with it, to give it to the old woman whose cats need some shelter.

"The Box", the main body of the housing unit and some freshly painted inner walls. It will be done tomorrow. Finally. I know, it doesn't look like much. It isn't. It's really simple. Painting the boards, two coats at least, since it is OSB, with outdoor paint, has been the slow down. It's a sloped insulated box, with two holes and a hinged roof. Nothing could be simpler.
The old tin I'll use for the roof.

You do not have to be this fancy at all. You can make a decent feral housing unit out of a plastic garbage can, on it side, nestled into a pallet that you have knocked a couple boards out of, in the center area. You lay the garbage can in that space on the pallet where you knocked out the boards, so it doesn't roll. You cut a hole in the back, one in the lid, stuff it with straw, glue on the lid, there you go.

You can make a small pet house out of an empty five gallon square litter bucket or a regular five gallon bucket. Just cut a hole in the lid, line the inside of the can with that silver reflective insulation, which will reflect the cats body heat back onto the cat, maybe use some adhesive to attach it inside, and even around the outside of the plastic container and make a nest for it, so it won't roll, if it's round. There you go.

Plastic storage containers also make great units. Cut two six inch entry exit holes, because they do not like to feel trapped, spray adhesive on the silver reflective insulation, maybe stuff it with bedding, straw or something, glue or tape on the lid. There you go. I usually lean or attach boards leaned over the holes, to protect the entry exit holes from eyesight and from rain.

Some people nestle one storage container into a larger one, adding insulation between the two, then create a tunnel hole from the outside to the inner hole, using various materials. Be creative. It gets cold outside. Provide your outside cats a place to be cozy.

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