This article is Part Fourteen of a 15-Part Article on How to Build a Feral Cat Shelter.  Since this is the first time we’d made a shelter, it’s perfect for newbies.  You can read previous installments in this series here:

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven, Part Twelve, Part Thirteen

So, with this all in place, how did it work out?  Even better than we had hoped!

As soon as we had the shelter set up and ready for occupancy, we got a dish of tasty tuna and put it down RIGHT in front of the entry, hoping that this would attract Old Guy’s attention and make him notice the new shelter.  We told him that we made it just for him and that he was welcome to use it.  Then we left, and went back into the house, crossing our fingers that he would be a smart kitty and know a good thing when he saw it.

Did he?

Old Guy Waiting for dinner.  Photo by Cindy Read.

Old Guy waiting for dinner. Photo by Cindy Read.

Well,  I couldn’t stand not knowing, so after an hour I went back outside to remove the empty food dish and see if I could tell if Old Guy had discovered the new “house” yet.  When I came out onto the back porch to look, I saw his face peeking out of the entry hole, wondering if perhaps I had any more of that excellent tuna left.  I got the biggest grin on my face and raced back into the house to tell Cindy.    It worked!

It’s a very good thing we made that shelter, too, because it was an extremely cold winter, with a lot of nights below freezing.  We knew that he had a nice warm place to stay, and we made sure he had something to eat every day and fresh water twice a day.

This cat definitely knew a good thing when he found it!

This spring, when the weather turned warmer and Old Guy was spending more of his time outside in sunny areas in the yard (he always loved to hang out around the Quan Yin statue, as you’ll see from some of the pictures in this article) we decided to check out the condition of the inside of the shelter, and to refresh the straw if need be.

Old Guy had clearly “made his bed” there!  The straw wasn’t as funky as we expected, but the cat had dug holes completely through the bottom of the styrofoam cooler!  Good thing the real bottom was hard plastic or we would have had a problem.  The digging was kind of a revelation; we hadn’t expected it to the degree we saw.  We removed some of the bits of broken styrofoam, and the old straw — and added new layers of straw to freshen things up.  The shelter had held up very well during a hard winter, and we were proud of our work despite some of Old Guy’s “furniture rearrangement”!

This story isn’t quite done yet, though.  Read on for the final installment of this article, and the final chapter to the story of Old Guy. You won’t want to miss this one!  Here’s a link to Part Fifteen.