Saturday, May 9

Weekend Project

I live in the best neighborhood in Denver. Not richest, unless you count your riches differently than most people, which I think I am doing by this statement. The house itself is just an ordinary 1950s Ranch style, nothing special, but it's where it was built that makes it the best home I could have living in the city. This picture (not taken by me, but by the Denver Examiner), could have been taken practically next door to me.

Having this stretch of wilderness has what some people consider a "down" side to the neighborhood, but to me, it's wonderful. What people don't like is the wildlife the nature brings. Actually, these animals were probably here long before the houses. We have foxes, coyote, deer, raccoons, squirrels, crows, birds of all types really, and the occassional mountain lion. There is also a pond just on the other side of the creek where geese live all year long, and are most likely prey to some of the other animals.

My next door neighbor complained of the raccoons coming in her house and making a mess last summer, and finally trapped him/her and took the raccoon to the humane society. This was upsetting to me, because it was at the beginning of the summer, and she could have been making orphans of some baby raccoons. If it had been my house the raccoons were coming into, I would have closed off the cat door for a while. Can't control what other people do though...

I haven't been worried about the fox population, because in one of the neighborhood news papers, they had a picture of a cat and fox laying in the sun together one time. I actually saw a couple of foxes last summer in front of my house, that was about sunrise. They're so graceful and pretty, and there have been no reports of them doing any harm to anyone except for the occassional squirrel, (which in my opinion is a public service).

My husband saw a small mountain lion over by the creek last year. I don't think she wanted to be there though, she must have been following the creek and lost track of time or something. I'm sure she went back to the foothills pretty quickly, as they don't really want to be around cities or people.

The deer aren't that common, because we haven't had any harsh winters lately, so they aren't short of food in the foothills. I do remember one year the elk were coming down into the towns in huge numbers because they were starving. That's one good thing to say about mild winters, good for the animals. The city complains about having to use water reserves though.

The only scary thing lately with the wildlife is the coyotes. They have had no fear of people the last couple of years, and have even attacked a couple of times. People who need to worry about them the most are people with dogs. Apparently, the coyotes are attracted to the dogs when people are out walking them. Many coyote have been spotted in our neighborhood the last couple years, but no attacks right here.

That brings me to my weekend project (finally, you say?) I want my cat family to be able to actually "be" cats and get to go outside and play during the summer, but I also need for them to be safe. We have rules, and a curfew, but sometimes they forget, and stay out too long, or wander too far.

The first day of the season I allow them out is on their birthday. This year, they were all very good about staying close, and coming home on time for the first 3 days. Then yesterday, I had a major panic attack with Shirley. She is supposed to be home by 11:00am, but she not only didn't come home on time, I didn't see her all day. By about 5:30 or so, I started walking the neighborhood and talking to people. By 6:30, I was sure something terrible had happened. I called the dumb friends and when I found them closed for the day, went online to their site and started looking at their "found" animals from yesterday. They had a cat that looked very much like Shirley, so much so that I was sure it must be her. That should have brought relief, to know she was safe at least, but it didn't, because Shirley has asthma and has a lot attacks she takes pills for.

I was a crazy cat lady for sure leaving 2 messages at the dumb friends asking them to call me back and let me know if it was Shirley they had, and if so, she needs her pills. Nobody called back, and I decided they need me to work there and be the "soother", I could answer the phone and talk to people who are worried about their lost baby. Going to go tell them that sometime this week...but in the meantime, Shirley came home! She was fine, just hungry. All I can figure is she must have been trapped in someone's garage or something.

So the project this weekend is, TA DA! Found this site to make an enclosure for cats to stay in their own yard. This is the site: Cat Volunteer Resource Page And this is what the project is all about The project

And lastly, the picture of the plan:

I am pretty sure I can reach the bottom part of the chicken wire, and love working a staple gun, so looking forward to doing this tomorrow. Best of all, my babies will be able to go outside again and be safe while being there :)

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