Outdoor fun

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Shelly and Dora
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Outdoor fun

Post by Shelly and Dora » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:25 pm

Hi.

As many of you know Dora is an indoor only girl. She has her play room (as we call it) which enables her to go outside but she will only go out there if mummy is out there too. I've never really known what to do with the play room. I know that sounds really silly but as it's just me and Dora at home with no male relatives I struggle from a DIY point of view to really make it the fun place for her that I really wanted it to be.

I need a project to throw myself into and have decided that making the play room fun is my project for this summer. I would really really appreciate any ideas you may have. I have dreadful OCD and this can have a massive effect on Dora. I worry ridiculously about bees and wasps and her getting stung. So I'm thinking maybe a mesh to place over the wire that is currently in place? Would this be possible and if so what ideas would you have?

I would also like some outdoor cat furniture. Does anybody have any suggestions and if so how do I protect it from the elements, whilst also staying cat friendly in my staining etc?

I know I would like to put some various climbing structures so she has different heights to sit and view the garden from. Again, I need this to be easily Doable for a DIY novice do you have any ideas?

I'm thinking Astroturf and maybe some catnip planted. I'd really appreciate any creative thoughts that you may have.

Thanks in advance, Shelly

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mr_frisky
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by mr_frisky » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:37 pm

Are you able to cat-proof part of the garden?

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Shelly and Dora
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Shelly and Dora » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:56 pm

Yes, part of the garden is cat proofed already. I would just like to make things more entertaining and fun for her

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:12 pm

I think Hazel has a playroom for Mika and Jess. She might be able to put some pictures on here or Fb. We are thinking about taking our summer holiday near Minsmere. if we do Steve can do some labouring for you one day whilst we have a wine and play with Dora!!! Hee her!!

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Hazel
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Hazel » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:31 pm

I have indeed, I'll sort some photos out after work tomorrow. It's got a larch climbing frame in which I had seen recommended on here. It was quite expensive but it was easy (for OH) to put together, instructions were fine but I think some brute force might have been needed - I'll check, I don't think he needed a drill, but I seem to remember him saying of the screws were tough to get in. The same company do smaller ones but the larch just fit the run perfectly. They are Ok to be left outdoors.

OH was going to put some shelves up at different heights but I think we'll just leave the climbing frame.

We do have a wasp and bee problem. I'm working on that.

We also have a sun problem (dozy cats just sit there for hours and Mika has only thin fur on his head) so I'm looking for some UV proof fabric to make a shade, but it sure how to do this without making something that will just blow in the wind all the time. Any ideas for that welcome!

We had a tub of cat grass in there yesterday and today but I've taken it out because they keep gorging themselves on it and being sick. I have also planted up tubs of cat mint and cat nip which have ot grown yet, but I'm not sure if they will make it in given the cat grass wasn't really a success!

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Shelly and Dora
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Shelly and Dora » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:44 pm

So, thanks for your thoughts.

I'm looking into a frame with a walkway & various different levels etc, as well as artificial grass!

Sarah, if you and Steve are coming that close for your holidays it would be criminal NOT to come and visit! Although Dora would be very shy, she'd be very excited to properly meet her Aunty Sarah & mother-in-law!! We wouldn't get Steve doing any DIY..... Well, not too much anyway & 'the uncles' own a really lovely B&B within a 3 minute walk of the sea front so it would be very simple to have a few drinks and an overnight could very easily be arranged!! Obviously you'd be more than welcome to stay with Dora & I if you'd prefer but our spare rooms only have single beds!!

Xx

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SarahT1 [PLLE]
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:57 pm

Dora would love all that in her play room. Lou Lou would be green with envy! Outdoor fun in a safe environment.

I was looking at all the RSPB reserves on the Suffolk coast today. We've done the Norfolk coast ones and last year Sussex/Hampshire. We need to book something soon as we have to away whilst my parents have our house for the week! Will keep you posted. Would be do lovely to see you both!

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by meriad » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:07 pm

Shelley, have a look at this website - it may either give you somewhere to order from or at a minimum ideas of what you can do: http://www.catplay-stations.com/outdoor_fp.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

i don't know how large your playroom is but they are sure to have something that will fit.

As for the bees and wasps to be honest, short of using very fine netting which most likely will obstruct quite a bit of the view; there probably isn't much you can do besides planting plants that attract there somewhere away from the play room and not having anything in the playroom that may attract them in the first place.

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by meriad » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:38 pm

Shelley, just had a look at the photo's you posted on FB. For a start I'd get a nice garden bench and put that under the window next to the door (not the conservatory).

My gang all love their house that I bought from Zooplus: http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/cat_ ... oor/278229" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; - well worth every penny.

And then some nice tubs with plants with LOTS of soil so she can have a nice dig around if she wants? :D

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Shelly and Dora » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:51 pm

Thanks for the link. Definitely some ideas. I would be dubious about ladders without 'backing' due to Dora's arthritis which I possibly wouldn't have even considered as a 'choice' but your link has made me aware of this as it states on the website that one of the frames is made with this kind of issue in mind.

The bench is a good idea however I'll investigate the 'frame' first as dont want to use up 'space'!! I do have a fairly large table and 6 chair set that was put away for winter and I haven't got out again yet. She enjoys laying on the table while I enjoy a glass of wine of an evening however the furniture is in need of replacing really so I'd rather sort Dora out 1st so I know what space I'm left with for a small table and perhaps just a couple of chairs.

I struggle with the pots ide as my OCD kicks in - ridiculous I know! I had thought about maybe some sort of sand pit that she can dig in though?

I'm also thinking I could either put a cat flap in the back door but to be honest I doubt she'd use it as shes such a scaredy girl and only comes out if I'm out there with her... or maybe a frame of some description to enable her to get from the conservatory window which opens to a fully horizontal position for easy in/out.

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Shelly and Dora
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Shelly and Dora » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:54 pm

Just looked at the link you posted. Yes.... I've looked at this before and considered it. Again, maybe need to see what room I've got left after sourcing the main climbing frame?

Also anyone got any ideas re hanging outdoor toys?

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Hazel » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:09 pm

That's where we got our Larch frame from. It just fits nicely in but takes up the whole run on it's own so we don't go in (our run has a tunnel to get into it anyway so we can only get in by going the long way around outside - I will try to remember to get a picture tomorrow)
We have a cat flap into it but Jess will only use it propped open.

We fastened a sisal dangling ball onto the frame that had fallen off one of the indoor cat trees but they dont really play with that. They just play running up and down the tunnel (and in Mika's case into the house up the stairs onto the bed then back again) and Jess loves to use the ladders to climb through. He's a brilliant climber. When they are not chasing each other or climbing or batting each other they sit one on each post in the sun just enjoying the fresh air (or on the covered shelf if it's raining)

The sand pit idea sounds really good - but might get used as a litter tray!

If you are out there with her I wouldn't worry about the bees and wasps, you can tell her not to chase them. I only worry that one will get eaten while we are out. Originally we shut them inside when we were out but I'm having problems getting Jess to come in now so we just have to leave them. I think some nice attractive flowers in pots at the front of the house is the way to go with that one and maybe some smelly herbs in pots in the back garden (outsied the run) to keep them away.

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Kay » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:21 pm

I've had indoor and outdoor cat climbing frames from catplaystations, but in my experience cats aren't too keen on climbing ladders

I am now awaiting delivery of this one http://www.cat-climbing-towers.com/four-tier.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , to replace the outdoor one, which is falling to bits after 12 years in use - I particularly like the den at the base, which will be used, I hope, in all weathers

if you are going to have a go yourself, it would seem decking forms the basis for most of these outdoor frames, and it comes already treated against the elements

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Shelly and Dora
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Shelly and Dora » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:41 pm

From your link Kay I've just fallen across this...

http://www.cat-climbing-towers.com/mews.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Looks great.....

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Hazel » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:01 pm

OK I hope this works, it has taken me ages.....


Ah great yes. I'll add another then, the top one is the bit round the door that we have to go out through to get to the patio and the cats go through to get down the tunnel to the end.

The bottom one is the main bit, it looks a bit bare but the boys love it.
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Shelly and Dora
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Shelly and Dora » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:22 pm

I think the tunnels a fab idea and had I known then what u know now I'd have probably done something similar. I love that I can walk out of the back door & Dora & I are in her playroom but it gets sunshine until about 3pm..... Then the suns the other side of the house.

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Hazel » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:35 pm

I nearly did something similar to yours round our patio but we rarely have the patio doors open because its so cold in the shade and the cat flap in the back door means they can come and go as they want. The disadvantage is it's a pain for us to go in and out the back door like we used to and we don't have room in the run to sit with them, so with Dora being an only cat yours probably works better for you both. x

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by mr_frisky » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:54 pm

I created a cat watchtower last year from some old steps, a pallet and a fence post.

http://s917.photobucket.com/user/Ocelot ... 5037886293" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by PeanutsFriend » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:18 pm

You guys are so cleaver with your outdoor thingys.
I have just a plain ol' screen in porch with chairs and tables for them to sit on.
Their inside place, I put shelves up so they can go as high as the ceiling. They go along the whole living room. They run down the hallway to the porch.
Garden for cats sound wonderful.
Jill

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Shelly and Dora
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Shelly and Dora » Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:08 pm

I just thought I'd update you on the progress (or rather lack of it) that's been made!

So, to AstroTurf the entire play room I've been quoted £240 labour & construction costs, and then the covering at anything between £275 to £375. So in total around £600 plus VAT. It's lots to spend if she won't use it. It's a bit of a chicken & egg situation because currently she hardly ever goes out there however, if its more 'attractive' to her she might. Anyway, my friends brother-in-law has a paving business and he's thinking of going into the AstroTurf market. He's going to lay it in his front and back garden as a 'test' and has said if it goes ok he's happy to offer me friends & family discount. Seems sensible to wait abit - only issue is Lee isn't the fastest at getting motivated with 'projects'....!

In the meantime I'm trying to find climbing frames etc but that's proving difficult too! Mainly because they have to fit through the double gates on the playroom & also have to be lifted over a wall as the layout of my garden wouldn't make it easy to carry it fully constructed round the side & into the back garden!

I've got a couple of ideas that I've found online which look fab (I'll try to post an attachment later). These come fully constructed which would be superb HOWEVER it leads me back to my earlier issue!!

Currently trying to source local people who could make something that they could finish building inside the playroom - that's not proving simple either as it seems no-one in Lowestoft needs work....(contrary to the unemployment stats locally!!!)

I've had another fella say he can post in bits so 'easily' constructed (!!) by me. He's sent me 3 sketches which I'll try to copy & post somehow however I think they look a bit boring.....

I'll try to post all attachments separately. Maybe let me know your thoughts?

Shelly x

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Shelly and Dora » Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:10 pm

These are the 2 designs I've found and like best.
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by Shelly and Dora » Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:26 pm

So, here's the 3 sketches the chaps provided me with. He's basically looking at adding a climbing frame to 3 of the sides of the playroom.
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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by meriad » Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:25 pm

of the two photo's I much prefer the bottom one. cleaner lines and two decent size platforms for Dora to lie on. And in all honesty, not sure I'd bother with that swing bottom; again it's a nice platform without

Really looking forward to the finished result :D One word of advice if I may - I know it's Dora's space but make sure you have somewhere comfy for you to sit as well; makes those summer evenings so much nicer :D

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Re: Outdoor fun

Post by KittyWitty » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:44 pm

Shelly, that all looks amazing! Of the climbing frames, I definitely like the top one better. dora is such a lucky wee gal :)

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