Loaded up with ten bales of fresh straw, I spent a couple of days repairing the winter sleeping shelters for the East Side Gang.
The shelters survived a year out in the elements but the straw was starting to break down. Sleeping shelters are tucked under the straw going all the way back to the cinder block wall in this picture.
What made me chuckle as I pulled away the old decaying straw is the size of the earth worms I uncovered! They were huge. And plentiful.
I pulled the old straw off to check inside. During the summer a raccoon moved in so the interior of two Rubbermaid containers were destroyed. The raccoon ripped the hard styrofoam insulation to shreds. The exposed sleeping shelter in this picture is a different type which is made from 2" hard pink styrofoam and was painted. It was in perfect condition. Here is the link with instructions for making this type of shelter. These shelters are very lightweight and need to be weighed down to keep from blowing away but they are easy to construct.
All the sleeping shelters are tucked in with clean fresh straw for the upcoming winter months.
This Doodle inside his cozy spot. He couldn't wait for me to complete the shelter before testing it. The only thing I left to do was to get some pine boughs to cover the entrances to the shelters which helps keep out wind and snow but gives the cats easy access.
A few days later the pine boughs were put in place. I stick the branches into the straw allowing the boughs to hang over the openings and the cats go in and out with ease.
I found some 2 x 6 boards and now the kitties can use them as cat walks between sleeping shelters and feeding shelters. As well the boards help keep the straw from blowing away.
It didn't take long for a young raccoon to move in for an afternoon snooze but before I left this little fella scampered up the tree and I hope he stays up there.
Ollie (left) and Jag enjoying food in the new feeding shelters. I removed these feeding shelters for the summer months but they are back now. Ollie prefers to eat on top of the shelters but I am forcing her to eat under cover so when the weather is really blowy, wet and awful she will stay as dry as possible. All the other kitties are good about eating in the various shelters.
Doodle is such a sweet cat and loves attention. He is my little buddy. Only Doodle and Jag allow me to touch them. Ollie and Spirit will get very very close but I'm not allowed to touch.
If you have been following my posts, then you know that Jag had dental surgery a few months ago. She lost a lot of weight prior to surgery and had a bit of a rocky recovery. Today she is doing very well and has gained some of the weight back. About 8 weeks ago I was concerned about her being able to survive the winter ahead but feel confident she will be ok. She is eating very well everyday and her coat is shiny and thick.
This month is my 11th anniversary of caring for my outside kitties.