We did it! We were able to finish the winter shelter for the outdoor cats’ kibble containers!
The only thing it needs now is to be painted, which will probably wait until spring.
Of course, things didn’t quite go to plan, but that’s pretty much how everything goes! 😀
One of the first things we did was raid the barn to see what we could find for a roof. There was a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood that we dragged over.
It had some mysteries on it.
On one side was a drawing of a picnic table, done with black marker.
The other side had what looks like the template for a shed roof!
My daughter was kind enough to take those boards off for me. Each of them had about 7 screws in them!
While she did that, I set up to assemble the rest of the frame, adding in the horizontal supports.
This was where things began to deviate from the plan. In putting on the bottom horizontal supports, I forgot I’d intended to put them on the inside of the vertical supports, instead of lined up with them. This made it longer than 6 ft.
Which is not a bad thing. It’s actually more stable this way, and there’s more room on the inside. However, I wasn’t able to match the top horizontal supports. Since the roof supports are at an angle, the screws that hold them in place are more staggered, so the chance of hitting one while screwing on the vertical support was pretty high. So I moved the top horizontal posts and attached them in front of the vertical ones.
Those horizontal supports, however, were supposed to be what the back wall was attached to.
Before we worked on that, though, we popped on the plywood to see how it fit, and if we needed to cut it to size.
We decided to leave it as is. I wanted at least some overhang. More just means more shelter for the kitties.
Then it was time to get creative.
We were going to use scrap wood from the junk pile for the walls and floor, but that idea quickly was discarded. Back to the barn we went, where we found a couple of pieces of 1/2 inch plywood that were almost 4 feet square.
We finally got to use the table saw I found in the shed! 😀
When cutting the frame pieces, I had cut two spare 2 ft lengths, and we made good use of them. I happened to have right angle plates I’d expected to use for something else and those were used to attach one length to support plywood roof in the middle. The other became support for the back wall. The bottom of the new vertical support could be screwed in place from underneath, but the top took a bit more creativity to get it attached!
We cut one of the squarish pieces in half to get the height of the wall, then cut one of the halves shorter to fit, and used them for the back wall. The pieced we’d cut off turned out to be the right size for a side wall, so we just traced that on the other squarish piece of plywood and cut a second one.
I dragged two buckets of nails from the basement to put the walls and roof one. One had roofing nails that were the right length for the walls, while the other had 4 inch nails that were perfect for attaching the roof.
That left the floor.
Cutting a wall piece off the second square of plywood left an L shaped piece. After taking several measurements, I cut the short part of the “L” off. The remaining longer piece got a notch cut out of it.
The smaller piece got a bit of a trim to fit the remaining space, and now we have a floor that can be removed, if needed.
And yes, I did want the floor to extend past the frame.
Time to test it out!
My daughter had to go in earlier, so I carefully maneuvered the whole thing by myself, to where I wanted it by the cat house. The containers we use for the cats’ food were pretty much empty, so I put them in and topped up them up.
A couple of cats were crawling around in it before I even came out of the sun room with more kibble! Once they heard that distinctive sound of kibble hitting the container, there was quite the rush of kitties!
I wanted the shelter to be close to the cat’s house, to provide shelter for the entry, but also wanted to make sure they had a path in between them. They already go around the cat house in that spot often enough that they’ve worn a patch in the grass. They can also fit under the kibble house and, if they really wanted to, they could probably get in from the back, through the gap under the roof.
One more thing to do!
It was time to open up the roof on the cats’ house and plug in the heated water bowl.
I also tucked their cat toy inside. They love that thing!
The cord on the heated water bowl is long enough that the bowl can be well under the overhang of the kibble house roof.
I then spent the next while putting everything away and cleaning up, which meant I could watch the cats checking it all out. They explored all over, including jumping up on the roof, and seem quite happy with their new shelter!
Since it’s unlikely we will paint any of it this year, we will probably cover the roof with a tarp for the winter. The rest should be fine.
I’m so glad we were able to get this finished today. It was just a couple of degrees above freezing, and we’re supposed to get a couple of centimeters of snow in a couple of days. Not the sort of weather I want to be outside, building stuff, if I can avoid it!