There’s a beautiful black and white homeless cat that has lived outside our house for several years now. I named him “Alex.” He wanders between several neighbors’ homes, but he has two specific homes that he actually calls “home”–ours and our neighbors.
I had trapped Alex about three years ago, and learned that he had already been neutered when I took him to the vet. So I knew that he was a domestic cat who had been abandoned outside. Now, scared, shy, and extremely cautious around humans, he doesn’t allow people to come too close, but he trusts me enough to let me within about five feet. He watches me intently, eyeing my every move–seeing if I’m going to betray his trust. But over time, Alex has come to know that I’m not a threat, but his friend. Nonetheless, he just can’t let go of his fear–it probably keeps him alive.
I feed Alex and another feral cat on our backyard patio doorstep every morning and night. I love seeing Alex (and opossums and raccoons!) appear in our French door windows eating his breakfast and dinner. As soon as I see his lithe black silhouette at the doormat, I come to the window and talk to him through the glass and let him know how happy I am to see his sweet face and inquiring eyes.
With the recent heavy rains, coupled with the homecoming of one of our neighbors from long-term convalescent care (the other house that Alex shares his time), I seized the opportunity to tell our neighbor about possibly providing Alex warm shelter under her back patio doorstep. He spends considerable time in her back yard, as it has provided a safe haven for him over the years. At our house, I have provided Alex a “dog house” and several cat beds on the patio chair cushions under the dining table tarp, so he can sleep and keep warm. So while talking with Dorothy, I mentioned that we would be happy to build Alex a cat house out of a large plastic box and bring it over. She welcomed the idea (she’s as fond of Alex as we are), so we went to work that night on building a simple cat house and delivered it.
I got this simple and inexpensive idea from a feral cat Website. For $10-15 dollars you can buy a large plastic container from Home Depot, Target or any home-building store. Then simply cut a cat door at one end of the plastic for an entrance. You can take the cut-out and make a roof from the rain. Add warm, soft blankets inside, cover it, and you’re set! It’s that simple. Then put it in a place out of the sun as plastic degrades and off-gasses. We recommend under a tarp, roof, eve, or where it’s shady all day.
Now Alex will have a house that keeps him warm and dry from the rain. Hopefully, his little life will be just a little bit better now!