Do you have a use for an outdoor cat house? I know a person who does. Dorothy Wandruff (DW), a regular contributor to this site, lives in sunny California. She uses outdoor cat houses for cats she cares for, which prompted me to ask questions because it is unusual. California produces half of the fresh fruit in the USA. This says something about the climate, which is more inclined to outdoor living. DW comments on her cat housing arrangement below her photographs….
I am attaching photos of the back yard cat house. One shows with the tarp down, the second shows the little house. The roof raises up completely for easy cleaning inside. The little bed on the side is for when they prefer to be outdoors ( comment: I presume this means without the roof).
The two bed photos I sent…are Shadow and Yellow’s beds. They sometimes sleep together in either one, and sometimes separately. Yellow used to spend time on the brick next to the house, which is why I put another bed there. Now that Shadow is here every night, they use them both. Both are heated.
Shadow and Yellow are ‘lovers’. Such a sight to behold. Together all day. They have separate heated beds. But always sleep together in the same one. Sometimes in the little house I set up for them. Sometimes on the one outside of the house. They lounge in the yard together, chase things together, frolicking and playful. Only eat together. I think Shadow assumes the property belongs to her, as he lets her chose which bowl and doesn’t start eating until she does. She is blond as ever, almost white. He is jet black with yellow eyes. They are something else.
Truth be known, Shadow, Yellow’s companion and best friend, is not my cat. He belongs to the next door neighbor who has two kids and two dogs. Sometimes three dogs. They know he lives here. He makes token visits to his other home. But he lives here, on my property, with Yellow. They know it, and being, I guess, a modern busy family, they have never said they prefer I stop feeding Shadow. In fact, if I leave over night, the man of that house feeds my outside cats in the early morning. I give instructions for Shadow and Yellow’s meal, and for Marvin. Separate parts of the property of course. When the neighbors are gone for days, we feed their dogs. And chickens.
I really had no choice. Once Yellow invited Shadow to the feeding trough, there had to be enough for two. So it has been now for years.
I remember more than twenty years ago now, in a different city, different time, a neighbors cat did start asking for food at my house. And course, I complied. That cats owner was furious with me, but the cat kept coming around. I tried to not feed it, but it clearly did not want to go home, what was a decent person supposed to do? That lady ended up moving away, she took the cat with her, sad ending. Cats make their own choices
I have also added the Igloo that has essentially been ignored by all the cats. I plan to put it up in the highest part of the garden, and maybe someone will actually use it for shade, or whatever. It never worked for any of the four cats.
His [Marvin’s] sleeping quarters are in the front of the house. The three still don’t get along. He is territorial, king of the manor.
Michael’s comment on this:
It is unusual for domestic cats to sleep outside but DW’s cats are not typical domestic cats. Yellow is a true feral cat that DW befriended. Yellow has never become domesticated in the way people like and DW respects Yellow’s preferences. Setting up an outdoor cat house is an example of how a person can provide care for a feral/domestic cat while respecting the cat’s character.
Marvin is much more domesticated. Is it fair to state that Marvin is a stray that has found a loving home with Dorothy? As for Shadow, DW simply accommodates him.
I think what is good is that DW respects her cats. She accommodates their preferences and does not force her desires upon them. That is what I have called acceptance and it is the mark of excellent cat caretaking as far as I am concerned.