Sunday, 26 July 2009

Ivor 4: cat flap and straw bed

Well it's quite a while since I posted - I've been tied up with the Tour de France and jobhunting and clutter clearing and projectfinishing. None of which has included any cardmaking - and there's a growing list of people I owe cards to (Happy Birthday everyone!) so there'll have to be soon.

Anyway, the cat is the subject of this post. Yes he's a boy, and he's now called Ivor. He's just about made friends with the othered neutered cat from a couple of doors down (C's cat), but not at all with the unneutered stray and I have the vet bills to prove it! He had a bit of a reaction to his cat flu jab, but he's generally super healthy and fine. And the great thing is he's now got a fine crop of hair on his ears (they were bald when he arrived), and we've not been to the vet for three whole weeks (whoo hooo!!).

So now Ivor's staying for good, it's time to think about the future, specifically how is it going to pan out when I'm back at work and out of the house a lot? And what about when I go away?
The going away thankfully is easy, there's a couple of neighbours willing to look after him, so as long as it's not for too long or too frequent, it should work out quite well.

As for the being at work, Ivor is happy in the house (and no messes of any sort) but really likes being outside. He's none too bothered by rain but seriously dislikes thunder and hailstones. I can't be bothered with litter trays - there's a large garden for that. So, I thought cat flap time. And luckily the back door which is ancient and solid had a patch where a flap had been previously. In retrospect I should have reminded my landlord he'd said I could have a cat flap and shown him the patch before I fitted it, because his initial reaction wasn't great, but he's got over it now! and I kept the original patch wood so it can be put back in when I leave....

We couldn't have a cheap 'open to all' flap because the unneutered tom sometimes comes in looking for food, and much as I love C's cat, he's developed a habit of ambling in and out of the house too, which makes Ivor a bit stressed. And because C's cat has a magnetic cat flap, we had to have an infrared one to exclude all comers except Ivor. This was my very first ever piece of diy using a power drill - and apart from the comedy moment when I thought I'd got the wrong sort of drill bit so went to the mechanics over the road to ask their advice and found I was trying to drill in reverse (drills have reverse?!! what for? you can't undrill a hole by going backwards!) it went quite well... Although I think dad could have done without the long series of 'ok i've done that, what now' phonecalls (he's such a star).

Ivor took to the catflap 'pegged up pretending to be just a hole in the door' stage really quickly. He was much less keen on the 'pretending to be a hole but with the collar on and working' stage, as he really dislikes the loud click of the mechanism, but just about coped. When we moved to the 'you have to push the flap with your head' stage he was very unhappy and tried to use his paws instead. However a couple of days ago I put him outside when I went out, and when I got back, he'd made it inside all by himself. And last night he made it outside and back inside several times - although it was quite noisy and took him a while as he backs off when the mechanism clicks and then locks himself out a few times by hesitating and using his paws, and the flap ended up effectively 'open to all' because he made it through at a different point in the infrared mechanism cycle than the designers envisaged. Nevertheless, mission more or less accomplished!

Then, as a friend at work was so concerned about Ivor's welfare outside, I beefed up the straw box. What's a straw box? well it's a cardboard box with straw in it, put in the lee of the shed so if it gets cold/ rainy Ivor can be outside but not roughing it. Except it wasn't great because I'd balanced it on an huge round plant saucer and every so often it fell off (probably when he was getting in or out) and tipped up. And I think that cats who sleep on hay or straw smell much nicer than cats who don't - the smell hangs around on them.
So I have made a deluxe cat straw box - it's a very sturdy box about the same size as a large cat carrier, closed on top, has two entrances (so he can escape if anyone challenges him) and is set on an upturned wooden fruit box. And to make it all safer, I've tied the cardboard box to the wooden box so it won't tip up like the old one did. And being Ivor he took one look at it and cleared off! It's a bit 'Heath Robinson', but it'll keep the weather off him if the catflap stops working for any reason. And this pic is of the box in situ in the shed entrance (actually it's the entrance to the old outside loo which has had concrete put down it rather than actually being taken out (nice!) and I use it for my garden tools. I couldn't put a cat flap in the shed door (which would have been the best result) as the door's metal - and I don't have the skills, and didn't want to have to put a new door on.....

Anyway, we're all fixed and all I need now is a job!

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