.... or why we now have a hole in our house!
So, we've had this stray cat living in our yard for a couple of months. She showed up nearly starved - just fur and bones. Friendly, but only to a point. She doesn't want us to get too close or look like we would touch her, but she's been enjoying hanging around a short distance away while we do yard work or eat dinner.
We have this general rule that we don't feed the strays that come through, but have broken it twice. The first time was in 2006 when a tortoise shell calico came to our yard, near starvation. We fed her, she rebounded quickly, we brought her in the house and she's never wanted out since! This new cat was in similar straights, so we broke our rule for the second time and after a couple of weeks she looked much better. We'd see her during the day, but could never figure out where she spent the night. Until we started hearing rustling noises in attic. Now this attic is not the cool type with a floor filled with yesterday's treasures - nope, it's beams, boards, and insulation with plywood nailed down in a few spots so can store a few things up there. And it turns out there was a very small hole where two levels of the roof met that is just big enough for a cat to squeeze through - which she did.
Living in Phoenix means outside temperatures are around 100 degrees already and on their way to 115 to 120. It's even hotter in the attic. There are just so, so many reasons a cat cannot live in our attic! So we checked it out thoroughly (we thought) and while she was outside in the yard we plugged the hole up. And that night none of us got much sleep with all the meowing up on the roof! Long story short, it turns out she has two kittens up there ... in the absolutely most inaccessible part of the attic. After trying everything we could think of to reach the kittens and failing we had to unplug the cat's entrance hole so she could return to them. Only she wouldn't use that entrance any longer. Did I mention that all this happened in the middle of the night? Which is why at one in the morning we were outside taking off boards near the roof line and pounding out blocks to make a new entrance near the kittens for her. Yes, crazy. And desperate. And successful! Now we're hoping momma cat decides this is no longer a good place to raise a family and moves them out - if not, we'll have to come up with Plan W (I think we're down to that letter in plans).
Anyway .... while I was still trying to convince the cat that other outbuildings we have would make better housing than the attic, I bought some catnip and made what I call "Cat Happy Pillows." I just freehand cut out two small squares of muslin, sewed up three sides, turned them right side out, added a couple small bits of stuffing and a lot of catnip, turned the top edges under and sewed it up. Each one takes maybe two or three minutes to make. The outside cat was absolutely not interested. Raven, however (who is the tortoise shell from the beginning of this story) loves hers!
With any luck this story will have a happy ending! I'll add updates as it progresses.
Happy Creating! Deborah