Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boredom Builds Stairs

I've had very little to do lately. Yesterday, sheer boredom drove me to play with the Millersburg scrap wood and create a new cat run and cat stairs. I'll paint them soon.

Fitting that Millersburg cats Sam and Oci were the first to check out the new construction.

With money so tight, I've been unable to drive. Gas prices are a limiting factor for everyone these days. I met a guy picking up cans, as I was doing, and he was doing so for the same reason--gas money. Sometimes I think I'm getting cabin fever.

Well, hopefully next month will be a little easier. This month included Valentino's vet visit and paying back the debt on those cats damaged by the Wilsonville clinic. These things drained my resources.

Being forced to stay in place, most of the time, has its benefits. I've cleaned the house top to bottom, fixed broken things, built and delivered that needed cat house for the old woman, gone through stuff and rid myself of things unneeded. I've read two good books and one bad one. And Gretal now follows me around like a dog.

The stories are heart wrenching of families struggling in this recession. Makes me feel lucky to have what I have.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cat House

Cutting the entry, exit holes. First I measured and marked the outer wall hole and cut it out, using a large drill bit to first drill a couple holes, then a jig saw I got at the Habitat Store.This is a completed outer wall hole.Then I put the inner wall against that hole so I could mark the hole on the inner wall, to cut it out.The marked inner wall hole.Then I drilled some holes, so I could fit the jig saw blade in to cut the hole out.
Then I cut out the hole with the jig saw.Then, before adding the inner wall, I added styrofoam insulation.Here's my styrofoam cutting tool, a kitchen knife.Here's one entry hole, showing inner and outer walls.Here's one inner wall, and you can see the styrofoam I put for insulation.Tar paper on the roof.And the recycled tin siding, cut and screwed over the tar paper.

Um, done!

Nothing fancy. Just takes a bit of time. So happy to be able to find so many cheap to free scrap materials.

I want to create some far more unique and fun designs.

I just added an inside shelf.

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.

New Wonderful Hope for Valentino

Kate and Ned, who adopted Tiny Tim, when they lived in HB, say, when they get their own place, which is dependent on one or both of them getting jobs where they now live, near Bellingham, WA, they will adopt Valentino. I am thrilled.

Let's hope Kate and/or Ned get jobs and their own place that allows cats. They are aiming for February, which would be a year from when Valentino was rescued.

I would soooo love to hand over Valentino to such a wonderful home.

Kate, thank you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank You

What am I thankful for?

Pretty much everything.

Being still alive. That's a big one.

Having a roof over my head, always amazed at that.

Having a car.

Having a pile of cats who love me.

Still have all four major limbs and most needed organs. At my age. Go figure!

Being fricking rich, compared to most of the world. Sure, in the U.S., I might be way under poverty level, but man alive, to have all of the above (roof, car, all my limbs, food), that makes you rich.

I'm thankful no whackos have set off a dirty bomb yet.

I'm thankful old Val got his bad teeth pulled and lived through it.

I'm thankful old Val got his bad teeth pulled so he's no longer spreading yucky stinky drool all over my face when I hold him.

I'm thankful Buffy coughed up that hairball and now is in a much better mood.

I'm thankful for people I've never met, never even talked to, don't know what they look like, sending me cat food and even music, from afar.

I'm thankful for the Snipped clinic down in Coos Bay and it's wonderful staff.

I'm thankful to cats everywhere and I'll end on that because I can go on and on.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Valentino's Struggles

Valentino is having a rough time after surgery yesterday to remove nine more bad teeth, leaving him only four, one on each side of each jaw. He's drooling. His jaw and face quiver if he moves his jaw. He purrs if you just come into the bathroom, however. He is such a grateful kitty, a wonderful sweetheart. He's on pain meds and antibiotics. I am giving him sub cu fluids and syringe feeding him baby food with nutrical. I think he'll be ok.Valentino is having a tough time of it after surgery yesterday to remove nine more teeth.
Poor old Valentino. And yet he purrs.
He's on a heating pad and getting lots of love right now.Mums is Tugs the torti's sister and mostly stays out in the garage room and cat yard. Now that it is pouring and the yard a mucky mess, she has come in for the winter. She and Tugs were two of 11 cats I removed from a nasty Lebanon situation a few years back. I adopted out the other 9, including Matilda just a year ago, after she had been here a long time. Tugs and Mums, the sisters, so far, still here. Mums is gorgeous.
My ancient former feral Electra. She was my second cat. My first was Hopi, who died a few years ago, nearly killing my soul.

Electra was brought to an FCCO clinic in Salem by Colonel Vince, then a Salem area three star army colonel trapper. I used to call him Saint Vince. He had two teens in one trap from Silverton and one had to be transferred out. I got volunteered for the task. But she got away from me and darted into an open electric box in the under construction building bathroom. I had to switch off the power at the main breaker, and reach into that tangle of wiring in the dark from a chair. She bit me, clear through my thumb, but I held on.

Afterwards, due to FCCO policy, she had to be quarantined, since she was not vaccinated. I volunteered to take her, as a companion for Hopi. She has been with me ever since, through several moves. She's old but very active and very loving. That's how she got her name, the electro kitty, who nearly fried herself.

She'd be long dead now if she hadn't bitten me. A couple years later, Vince contacted me. Electra's Silverton colony, all fixed, was in trouble. The old woman who cared for them was moving. We trapped and relocated them in record time, about 16 Electra lookalikes, but many of the placements were not good and the survival prospects of relocated split up cats from a colony, is not high.
Deaf Miss Daisy attracts other cats. They all want to be around her. Sometimes she is ok with this, being an optimistic good natured cat. Sometimes she is a reluctant mother figure to be sure. Nonetheless when a cat wants groomed they first try Miss Daisy. Sometimes when she decides enough is enough, she finishes grooming them with a swat that says "Go away! You got all I'm giving." Miss Daisy also likes to be groomed. You give, you get. Here, she exchanges grooming skills with Slurpy. Slurpy and Starry also like to groom one another and other cats. They too are the mother hens around here.

Daisy and Slurpy again.
My sock drawer socks. How did this happen? No mates to be found for any of these. A conspiracy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Sleepy Rumby.
Four Business cats on the bed--Stiletto, Tilly, Alexi and Raindrop.
Pebbles in bed.
Suri on her side.
Sleeping Jade.
Grumbly against white.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Black Friday and the Kaboat

I love the excitement of a big crowd and something happening. Black Friday is a spectacular carnage!

I don't go. I don't have any money. I don't need a thing.

Oh sure, there are a few things. Like underwear. I do need to upgrade in this area.

I need to break down also and get some jeans again. Again mine are full of holes, stains and frayed. Most I have don't fit.

But I don't need anything.

What I do need for Christmas is less food. I could stand to get that as a gift: less food!

I have been lusting after this Kaboat. I don't know where I first saw a video of a Kaboat, which is an inflatable kayak boat cross. You can add up to a 2.5 hp gas or electric motor, although it propels just fine with oars. There are sailboat conversion kits for kaboats also, to turn a kaboat or any inflatable into a sailboat.

Many times I've been on ebay almost ready to click "Buy Now". I have resisted. I have cat food to buy, vet bills to pay and it would be highly irresponsible of me to get myself a Kaboat at this time.

I try to justify it to myself by saying to myself, "when is the last time you did something for yourself, got yourself something?" Not good enough. I won't touch that "buy now" button. I've searched for used Kaboats so far without luck.

It is good for me to want something and deny myself. So I've heard.

However, I started a little Kaboat fund, a little tin of coins thus far, a few dollar bills. I am saving up for a Kaboat.

I am linking my future splurge to personal goals, to give me incentive.

I find myself overwhelmed with lust and desire when I watch Kaboat videos, especially the ones with the converted sail unit. These advertisers have hit my weakness spot, the weakness of loving water and longing to be on the water. I can almost feel the wind in my hair, the spray on my face.

I'm probably drooling right now writing about it. Isn't that pathetic.

The Kaboat. I want one. Maybe this will spur some changes I want to make.

Of course, after I got the Kaboat, which is expensive enough, I'd lust after all the accessories: the sailboat conversion unit, which would require a car rack to carry it, the 2.5 hp electric motor, a life jacket, a boat cart, maybe a cover so I could lounge without a care in my Kaboat even in pouring rain. I can see the future of my obsession.

For gosh sakes, my car is on its last legs. Reality should be kicking in, that soon I won't be able to even get to water. But my brain is awash in stuff lust.

I have lots of fun just with my old inner tube. I don't need a Kaboat. Why I am so obsessed with getting one?

Black Friday is a spectacle of consumer splurge. I won't be going but I am just as guilty, just as participatory in the mindset, even so.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Mooki cuddles with Shady.
Window watcher Teddy.
Suri, the exotic.
Rumby lives to play.
Chessy, from the Davidson street underground cats. (She's been here over a year now)
Gretal hides out beneath the bathroom sink after her latest dental work. I had it fixed up for her with a soft blankee and a heating pad.
Window watchers Shaulin, Jade and Teddy.

I can't wait for my next trip to Coos Bay. See there's this mercantile around the corner, sells discount hardware goods, they buy in bulk. You never know what they will have. But they always have lots of spray paint cans for a buck each. They have swivel wheels, for almost nothing, all sizes. I'm going to get some to make a cart.

I made a cart with some old wheels I got somewhere, but the plastic on them finally went brittle and broke. I had attached them to a small pallet, then used a luggage cart, one of those flimsy metal types, that I got a long time ago, on the front. That was my cart until those wheels broke. But now, I'll revise my cart using swivel wheels from the mercantile.

They have picker uppers, like for people who can't bend over easily, real cheap. I'm getting one of those too. I can use one for many things, like putting bait in the back of long traps without transfer doors, like to reach inside a cage holding a feral to pull something out. Lots of uses.

And they have under auto back carts, for mechanics to lay on and roll around on, beneath a car. Only I can use one to move things without much effort. That's if I don't make my own, with smaller swivel wheels I could get there.

They have rope cheap. They have tools cheap. They have zip ties cheap. They have great bungees cheap. It's a dream store!

I got all this throw away wood out in Millersburg. A friend's neighbor is rebuilding his house after it burned, you see. They saw them burning lots of scrap wood and thought of me. So they asked him if he'd just throw it onto their property. I've gotten tons.

I am in the process of building a feral housing unit for the very old Lebanon woman's cats. The slow down is the temperature in my garage. Paint dries real slow now. I got five gallons of outdoor paint for $5 awhile back at the Habitat Store in Corvallis, another favorite store of mine.

Just a few days ago, I drug home four former eaves from that scrap pile. Each pair will make a pre-formed side for an outside cat house. They have to dry first. They got a bit wet.

The other items I got from the pile last time were two heavy staircase sides. I might use them together, attaching boards to form the actual stairs, or separately. It's exciting. They too had to dry before I could consider using them.

I am also making some cat trees. I got some adhesive for $2, an entire gallon, if its good, (not rotted, since it has organic components) at the Habitat Store.

There is not a lot of room in my garage, being as how it's one car and usually my car is inside it, but I don't have a lot of stuff in my garage, contrary to most folks around here, whose garages are crammed top to bottom with stuff, so much so they can't even use them.

It's a wonderful thing to have no money really but to still be able to find things for almost nothing to use to make cool items like cat trees and housing units.

I have no money at all right now, that's for sure, after paying for Valentino's vet visit yesterday. I also had to make good on an old debt there at the clinic. There was still a balance of $130 from those cats damaged at the Wilsonville clinic with toxic scrub or something. The bill for three of the four cats affected, to be there almost a week, on IV antibiotics and pain killers was over $1200. A Portland woman paid $1200 of that bill, but it had gone $130 over that limit she set to helping. She was fortunately later paid back by the offending clinic. I am hoping they will also pay me back. I had not known there was a balance left for treating those cats.