The girls and I made a push to finish tonight and, as I write this, we now have two very pregnant cats in the new “maternity ward”.
Before we hauled out all the stuff waiting by the stairs, my daughters and I went rifling through a shed and the barn to see what we could find to use as doors.
First, we went into the shed, where I knew there were some doors that might work. We decided against them, but found some decent wood in a corner. We found a couple more pieces in the barn.
With the trellis wire left over from covering the counter opening to the unfinished bar, we figured we could build a mesh door to size.
I also started to bring some of my tools down. I’m so excited to be able to do that!!!
While in the barn, we found these.
They are actually plastic windows. They were wide enough to fit over the opening into the unfinished bar – there’s space at the top, but the cats won’t be able to get up there.
They almost fit over the opening to the old basement, but that wider part on the bottom couldn’t be covered.
My thought had been to build the wire mesh door for the bar opening, which would have allowed us to make a hinged door (except we didn’t have any hinges handy). With using one of these windows instead, hinges couldn’t be attached, anyhow.
So I found some cup holder hooks and Bungee cords. The idea was to have a pair of Bungee cords holding the window pane in place. That didn’t work out exactly as planned, as we only had one Bungee cord that was the right size.
We made do. You’ll see how in the next photo. 😀
After bringing the stuff to make doors down, the girls and I hauled out what needed to be gotten rid of. We now have an awful mess outside our main door, but cleaning that up will have to wait until the weather improves. Plus, finished the basement was the priority.
The girls started working on building the frame for the wall opening while I started cleaned the window panes, then started cleaning up the area by the stairs.
When it was time to screw the frame together, the girls couldn’t find any usable screws in any of the buckets and miscellaneous containers we kept. There were just nails.
So we ended up using the deck screws I’d taken out from the barn doors, after our vandal had boarded them up.
I’m still giggling about the irony of that.
Once the frame was screwed together, the mesh was stapled into place in two overlapping pieces. There was a possibility of a cat getting through at the overlap, though. My daughter managed to find a couple of shorter screws and we put a cross piece on the mesh side of the frame at the overlap. The overlapping parts of the mesh were then stapled to the cross piece. This closed the potential gap, strengthened the frame, and it can even serve as a “handle” on one side.
Here is how they look now.
The frame ended up working better in the old basement side of the wall. It’s braced on one side by a table, and a Bungee cord attached to one of the cup hooks is keeping the other side in place. To get through, we can unhook the cord, then slide the door to one side.
As for the window-door, until I can find another cord the same length as the red one, we’ve got a longer one diagonally, just to keep the window pane from potentially flipping over. The extra window pane is now stored in the old bar. Who knows. It might come in handy for something else.
The fun part is, we’re already using the basement as a workshop!
I’m so excited! 😀
One of my daughters took over cleaning while I found and brought more tools down, then helped finish the frame. She even mopped the rest of the floor.
I can’t even think of when this floor was ever mopped, other than parts of it at times like when my brother found the water damage shortly before we moved in and had to scrub away mold and bleach the floor and walls in the corner.
Here is how it looks now at that end.
We have set up cat beds under chairs and the old phonograph. A flattened box is there to act as a rug, and we brought in the litter box that was in the sun room, since the outside cats don’t need to use it anymore.
And here’s the rest of it!
We set up food and water bowls at the far end, nearer the stairs.
When I went into the sun room to get the litter box, Beep Beep was in there, curled up on the swing bench. That was encouraging, since we would be getting her soon. Then Big Jim came out.
He had blood all over one side of his head!
It looked like it was coming from an ear, an injury that was most definitely not there this morning. The poor thing! The blood was dry, so whatever happened, it was no longer bleeding, at least, and it didn’t seem to be bothering him. He sure wanted pets, though!
After setting up the litter pan, food and water, one of my daughters and I went outside with some cat treats. I scattered some both inside the sun room, where Beep Beep and Big Jim still were, and in the outside food bowls.
Creamsicle and Potato Beetle were quick to come for treats, and I was very pleased to see Butterscotch waddling her way over, too. We let them eat for a bit, then tried to get the mamas in.
Beep Beep was more cooperative. She jumped out of my arms as soon as I got inside, but I’d managed to open the door to the basement, first, and that’s where she made her escape to – exactly where I wanted her to be.
Butterscotch was much less cooperative.
My daughter was eventually able to pick her up, and I was manning the doors so she could get Butterscotch inside, and into the basement, at almost the same time.
Butterscotch did NOT want to go down the stairs!
It took some persuading and gentle wrangling by my daughter to get her down enough stairs that I could close the door. Then she went back to the top step, essentially trapping my daughter in the basement.
Beep Beep, meanwhile, had already settled herself in front of the chalk board at the other end of the basement.
My daughter spend the next while trying to coax Butterscotch down the stairs. When she did get to the bottom, she immediately hid in a shelf under the stairs. My daughter brought one of the cat beds, placed inside a crate to make a “nest”, and put it beside where Butterscotch was hiding. This way, we hope she’ll find the nice, soft bed and a more enclosed area she will feel safer in.
And hopefully have her kittens in.
We will now have to add going downstairs to our cat care routine. It should be interesting to see how much of a challenge it will be to keep the mamas downstairs, and the other cats upstairs. Eventually, I want to have the litter boxes for all the cats downstairs, which will mean having the door to the new part basement open all the time. That’s not going to happen while the mamas are down there, for a while.
I hope they feel comfortable and safe down there, soon!