Projects in a 21st Century Modern House, Cat Castle

While living on my parents’ hill in their 21st century house, we’ve grown accustomed to sharing the hill with other animals. The family of five deer. The rapacious raccoons. The toads living under the ramp and five-lined skinks skittering through the garage. The black racer wiggling through the labyrinth and beating his head against the fence trying to escape. (Did you know they have venom in their back teeth? They’re constrictor-type snakes and not particularly poisonous to humans, but they do have venom.) The armadillo that died on our driveway. (Daddy pitched it over the side, and the buzzards brought it back. Eew.) The squirrels that are too stupid to get off our driveway in the face of cars. And, of course, the cats that were left by their POs.

Mostly, the cats ignore us and we ignore them, but in early June, one came right up to the house, mewing pitifully. My mom fed it a sausage and she became ours. She is very patient with our daughter. The cat, I mean. She lets the Little One carry her around, and doesn’t scratch her, even when she’s screeching.

And she likes me.  The cat, I mean.

My dad had caught her a year ago July in his live trap for raccoons, so she’s been living wild for a long time. Anyway, we took her to the vet. She’s healthy and … had been previously fixed. (Can’t tell until you do the surgery so she had abdominal surgery for no reason.)

Now, my dad and my sister in law are allergic to cats, so she’s an outside cat until we sell that albatross in Chicago (hoping to hear about the inspection today — it was on Tuesday, but no word yet) or at least until we move into the rental, but we don’t want her to be eaten up at night or eat the early birds so Don built a cat castle out of scrap lumber and chicken wire.

Ceefor and the Little One
Ceefor and the Little One

Little one in cat cageThe castle with the Little One

We’ve wound up not using it as much as we hoped: In its first iteration, the raccoons were able to open the door, and (after that was fixed) a mean tailless cat was climbing around on it, trying to scare Ceefor. (As in C For Cat.) So she mostly spends the nights in the garage, but she enjoys perching up high in the castle during the day, waiting for her humans to emerge and feed her. (She has been habituated to the extent that she waits for me by the kitchen door in the evening. She trots into the garage behind me, and waits for food to magically appear.)

Little One as Cat This is a gratuitous shot of our daughter, except that this post has to do with cats. (If you try clicking through, I don’t know why the full size picture claims to be missing.  Mysteries of the computer, I guess.) We saw Cats at the Walton Arts Center this summer, and they had free face painting before the show. She was a bit scared of McCavity the first time she saw it, but now is enthralled with the whole show. (We bought the DVD and watched it before we went to make sure it was OK. Now she watches it ALL THE TIME. Don had to listen to the CDs approximately one hundred and eighty-three bazillion times as they drove to Chicago in early July.)


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