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Best Non-Cold Weather Cat Bed Designs on the Cheap

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hey Gang... just looking for some ideas to build an open bed for our 3 5 mo old kittens to sleep in until the waether gets cold & for next summer... I had given them a low cardboard box w/a towell under a chair in our garage but they ar now too big... I have noticed that they seem to prefer to lay together especially whe the nights are cooler... I am fairly handy & have some spair wood too build with... thoughts/idead would be great!

PS: At the risk of sounding like I'm "brown-nosing", you all really make this site awesome... I have learned so much from reading all of your posts, although I'm a lil worried about "Kazy" & her recent "cat visions" (just kidden!)
post #2 of 21
We think it's the best cat resource/knowledge forum on the Net. It definitely gets the most traffic. Anne (owner) has done a fabulous job - I'm sure she'd love to hear from you if you want to PM her (that's her user name).

As to shelters... http://indyferal.org/index.php?page=shelters

Favorite kitty beds in our home are mats in a cardboard box - but these are for indoor kitties, so no bug problem. Do you keep them de-flead/ticked with Revolution or Advantage Multi? Maybe just find a much larger box? Like cutting down one a stove comes in? Got a Sears, WalMart or such nearby you could chat with?

Outside we used a large wicker basket with some straw in the bottom for two of them slid under our RV. But a large sterilite tub would work the same. We also bought the Indy Feral Villa - but that's for Winter. It fits one very comfortably and two fairly comfortably. Don't know if that's worth it to you to buy the design.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks LDG... good stuff as always... just wondering but will the kittens sleep together in one bed like they usually do now as older cats?
post #4 of 21
That there is no way to know. Some will, some won't. Five of our cats were adopted when we lived in the RV. There wasn't a lot of space, and they were very cuddly with each other. I don't think we have one picture of a single sleeping cat. We lived here for the first 2 1/2 years of most of their lives. We moved into a house. They spread out. They were six when we moved back into the RV. They have not reverted to being cuddly with each other. What we'll never know is .... if we never left the RV - would they have remained cuddly?

On the other hand, when we did move back into the RV, of course we once again encountered feral cats in the RV park. We encountered two of them last summer. They didn't spend all their time together - but most of it. They were VERY close. We assume they were brothers, though we don't really know. When they weren't together but showed up at feeding time (we did TNR them of course) - they'd run to each other, rub all over each other, and walk over to us with their tails wrapped around each other. These are the two that slept together in the wicker basket.

They'd been around humans their entire lives and became very friendly - though skittish - very quickly. We managed to get one of them adopted out - (though we tried to get them adopted out together. ) - so what choice was there but to bring Bill inside? It was getting cold and the weather was horrible... So of course he tried to head bump and rub all over our cats - who thought he was some kind of alien. Our good "big brother" kitty finally took to grooming him - but still doesn't cuddle with him.

But for warmth... the outside kitties may remain cuddly.
post #5 of 21
Catmanmew, I have vision! Vision of your cat sleeping comfortably in nice bed!! (just kidding)

As LDG mentioned, straws are good. Now Halloween is coming up, craft stores sell small bundles. Fluff it up in cardboard box or something like that. Our cats seem to like it. They go in to the hay bed often. It smells good, too.
Each kitty has preferences just like humans. One of my kitties don’t like fleece while other ones love it.
You have to try and find out what your kitties prefer.

Keep us posted!
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi gang... good input & great stories by LDG... Kazy, I was really just teasin about the vision thing so I hope you don't mind... n I think your vision may even upgrade these cats to indoors as my son is already sayin we could block them in the breezeway on the coldest nites... who knows!... they will be fine in the insulated garage but I know when they feel the heat come out of the house door they will want to be in... in fact this am Pearle (who used to be Earle!.. oops) came in this morning & zoomed right into the living room but then got nervous & came back out with me to the garage... they are such characters... anyway, thanks for the info & I think I will just build a low insulated platform with low sides & throw down a blanket until it gets cold & then I can put the 30 gallon house on top of the platform to keep them off the concrete & throw in a heating pad for the really cold nites... do I sound worried? :0)
post #7 of 21
What kind of insulation are you planning to use? I recommend Pink board type instead of white one. You can buy them from local hardware store.
White one is just a styrol form. It crumbles easily but cheaper. Pink one is solid and more durable. Torako and Leo like to sit on top of it. It feels really warm by it self.
If you are do-it-yourselfer, I know you will go through a lot of fun. First, creating a cat bed. Pretty soon, you will start designing a cat house, and then other things like cat hiding spot... It's a lot of fun!
My hubby complains about my project not looking neat and finished. I tend to put available things together and don’t' really care about how it looks from outside.

If your kitties are tame, why don't you let them in when it's cold? Ours do that. Cats love warmth.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Sorry so slow to respond as it has been a crazy week... yes Kazy... I will use pink board insulation it is stouter... also, I am planning to put a smaller plastic storage container inside as well for easier cleaning... regarding the letting them in the house... my wive is absolutely against this but she may soften when it gets really cold :0)... 2 of them are already sneaking in & looking around with wide eyes & wonder so it won't get any better when they feel the warm air rush out at them but, I'm confidnet they will be just fine in the garage as it is insulated & finished in drywall... in other news... just picked up the 4 traps from the rescue & will be getting them broke into being inside in prep for their big day next Friday (getting them fixed)... I am definitely stressing some over this as the rescue is 20 miles away & I know they will be so scared... wondering if I should get them used to the cages & then pack them into the car for a short "trial" ride prior... any thoughts?
post #9 of 21
No, don't take them for a ride first.

Here's what I'd do about the traps... wash them with a light bleach solution - get all the smell of other cats and fear off of them.

Wherever you feed the cats - I'd then set the traps there. Put newspaper down over the wire if you feed them inside. Pour potting soil over the bottom of the traps if you feed them outside (the traps just lift right up through it). The point is to cover the wire so they don't have to walk on it.

Put the food in the traps without setting them to trip. Get them used to eating in the traps at the time you need to trap them. If you haven't been feeding them a wet meal of food, that will entice them to eat when you want them to eat there - you've got a week to get them used to eating at whatever time that is.

The day you need to take them, set the traps to trip. Hopefully they all enter their separate traps at the same time, because pretty much as soon as one is in a trap that trips, it'll scare anyone else off. You may want to use a particularly enticing food the day you need to trap them. KFC (no bones or skin) is a great one - as is canned salmon or sardines (no sauce). Something very strong smelling usually attracts them. Do not be surprised if they freak and bang around in there. Hurt noses are NOT unusual.

For whatever vehicle you are using to transport them, lie a plastic tarp down over wherever the traps will be placed. Peeing and pooping out of fear from being in the moving vehicle is also quite normal - so best to protect the surface. Make sure however you arrange it that pee won't just roll off the tarp onto the floor or whatever.

If they are inside a vehicle, open the windows just a crack. SOME fresh air - but not air blowing around. ALso, covering the traps with light blankets - leaving the ends open - will also help calm them a bit.

They'll be scared - they may wail - they may hunker down and go quiet - they may keep banging around to get out of the traps - we've seen it all. It's traumatic for everyone (usually) - so if you have some kind of classical music or radio station, play it for all of you as you drive.

We've driven trapped feral cats 60 miles, actually. It was not fun. But you WILL all survive.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks LDG... & I agree no preride... as far as the traps, I have cleaned them & put carpeting in the bottom of them & have towels over the top & they are now using them to sleep in many nights... this am when my wife went to work they were all laying on top of the traps! (it's been warm here this week)

My final decison point is to when to actually put them in the traps... my wife thinks we should trap then the night before I leave (which will be this thursday) so I don't have to try & catch them Friday morning in the locked garage as I have to leave for the rescue at 6 am & drive them an hour to the location...

I'm not sure if this is the best idea as they would not be able to use the bathroom... thoughts/ideas would be great... I am also picking up a litter box tonite to get then used to that for theri arrival home as they have to stay in for one nite to recover... we're also not seeing the mom much lately & wondering if she may have had her 2nd litter already (help!)
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks LDG... I agree no preride... so I cleaned the cages, put carpeting in the bottom & thru a towell over the top & now they are sleeping in & on them each nite!

My last big decison point is when to actually trap them... I intend to get them all in the garage Thursday early evening & then lock the kitty door (picking up a litter box tonite for practice!)... then I was going to get up about 5 am Friday (I have to leave at 6 am to take the them for the hour ride (ugh!) to the rescue for surgery) & simply put them into the traps for transport... my wife thinks I should trap them the nite before so I don't have to chase them around in the am but then they have no bathroom access... any thoughts/ideas would be great!

Also, the "mom" has been very scarce so she may have already had her 2nd litter (help!) so not sure what to do there... may put the last trap out w/bait Thursday nite hoping to catch the "Dad" but we now have a small coon lurking so who knows what will happen...
post #12 of 21
Your wife is right - that is actually how most TNR groups handle it - trap them the night before, "garage them" until you go - especially if it's early in the morning. It's hard the first time you do it, but it's the best guarantee of success.

...some cats pee and/or poop as soon as trapped. If they really have to go, they'll go. But usually they hold it. We've had many of them go in the car on the way.

No matter what you do they are going to be scared. You just have to keep reminding yourself that this is best for everyone!
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks LDG... well now maybe worse then pre-trapping is that you are now making me tell my wife she's right... again!

OK (sigh)... I'll do it that way... they're gonna be so bummed but I guess it's only one nite... here's another one for ya...

I am thinking of keepin Merlon (the boy) in the garage with the girls Friday nite so he won't be lonely as I will have to lock the kitty door to keep them in... what's you advise?
post #14 of 21
I'd trust your instincts on this one. No way to really know what happens with the girls.

Every single one of cats - even the "recently feral" kitties - gets VERY lovey and needy under the effects of the anesthesia as it wears off. At least that first few hours home - depending on how long they stay at the clinic - you may want to hang out in there with them. So maybe let Merlon in and see how it goes.

This is VERY individual - but some cats that have lived together for 10 years FREAK at the kitty they've lived with when that cat comes home from the vet. The smell is all wrong. Some people reduce the impact of this by dabbing vanilla on ALL the cats - kind of mixing up the scent (dab behind ears, base of tail, and an especially large dab under the chin so it wafts up into the nose). But our cats never bothered about someone coming home from the vet - surgery or no. So there's no real way to know how Merlon's going to react. He may wonder who the heck those funny-smelling cats are - or he may be happy to see his pals back.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Actually he's going to get neutered too but the manager at the rescue said he could go out that afternoon but that the girls need to stay inside for a nite so I was thinkin it might be better to keep them all in for companies sake & let them out the next afternoon...
post #16 of 21
Oh yes, then definitely!
post #17 of 21
Anxiously awaiting an update... How'd it go? Sent lots of vibes to the kitties.... Sending some more their way!
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi LDG... thanks for the concern!... well, we ALL made it!... it actually went pretty good since they were very used to the cages & the mom was able to be coaxed (pushed) in to her cage much to her regret...

The drive wasn't too bad but lil Jett was so scared & she cried the whole way...

I got home around 5 pm & we let them sleep in their cages while I set up a litter box filled with bark chips & put it next to the regular one...

At 8 pm we came out to check them & Merlom was sitting on top of his cage!!! Somehow, the locking clip got bent which allwed him to push his way to freedom! I quickly released the others & carried Jett over to the litter boxes which she immediately used the real one! The others quickly followed suit... so smart!

We left the mom in her cage as she still seemed to out of it... anyway, cut to Saturday giving them all much TLC... late evening, my son goes to check on them & finds Merlon nursing on the Mom! Then, the next morning, he pukes... & the Mom seems very aggiated all day wanted cazy petting & if you tried to leave she'd claw bite & hiss...

So I'm just wondering if this is normal & how long it will last as they (here breasts) are still big & hard this morning...

Also... lil Jett seems unhappy as she is very distant with me & not running up for pets & cuddles like she used to (boo!)

Any thoughts would be great!
post #19 of 21
GREAT JOB! I'm so glad all went well - and you were able to take mom too.

...yeah... effects of the anesthesia & surgery. That can take a few days. Every single one of our kitties gets all lovely and needy. But there are definitely kitties that just want to be left alone. Sounds like Merlon got real needy - and mom let him. For some kitties, nursing is like purring - it makes them feel good. Like a kid sucking a thumb. I'm pretty sure if it's bothering mom, she'll let Merlon know. As to her breasts/teets - I have no idea.

But I'm not surprised you had at least one kitty that just didn't want you to stop petting. As to lil Jett... give her another couple of days. I'm sure she'll come around.

The kitties are initially woozy after the anesthesia. That can take a day or two - but some are more sensitive than others, and it makes them feel sick. Poor babies don't know what happened and just know they don't feel right. Some bounce back the next day - some take longer. She'll be back to herself soon.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks LDG... you've made me feel a lil better about Jett cuz she does seem like she just doesn't feel good... I hope mom is going to be ok but she seemed a lil calmer this am when I fed them... and she is eating really well... making up for lost time I think... Merlin is somewhat back to his fearlful ways but I am still hoping he will come around... he may just be a "pet me when I eat only cat" who knows... what an adventure that was... pretty stressful but they seemd so happy to be home which was really cool... speaking of cool... get ready cuz we are going to be lucky to break 60 degrees with rain & 25-30 mile an hour winds today w/low 60's all this week... ugh
post #21 of 21
Yeah, we've got that weather too.

Every single time we released ferals after neutering them we always wondered - will they come back? Of the dozens we had done in this spot, only one bolted and never came back. We had two boys done last summer that would have broken our hearts. They were getting pretty friendly and we would have been so sad if they didn't return. They bolted as soon as the crates were opened and our hearts sank. But that night? Showed up on time for dinner. They had spent the night at the vet's though... but it seems they're always happy to be back in their territory.

Sending a few extra vibes that lil Jett feels fine and is back to her lil lovin' self soon!
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