DIY Cat Tree, House and Scratching Post

Spencer, King of everything!

Spencer, King of everything!

I was given a great spool. You know the giant spools electricians carry massive amounts of wire wrapped around? Well I was given one, and not gonna lie, the array of ideas that invaded my head of all the things I could do with said spool. This is what I came up with…

Cat tree...bed and scratching post. See they love it!

Cat tree…bed and scratching post. See they love it!

Off to my wood pile I went…

I went to my scrap pile and found some 1×6’s. It would do nicely to make the “lid” or rather the top to my kitty condo. I laid out three pieces of 1×6 boards and drew a circle using the “spool” as the template. You can use any size width wood and lay however many pieces it takes to get to the size you need. You could also use a piece of plywood and cut a whole circle instead of using the tree boards. But as I mentioned I wanted to use up my scrap wood. 😉

I clamped down each board and used my jigsaw to cut the shape.

I clamped down each board and used my jigsaw to cut the shape.

One more to go!

One more to go!

All cut out.

All cut out.

Finishing the lid, I used 1×2 to connect the three pieces together. I wish I had a kreg jig to make pocket holes. But this method works too. 🙂

As you can see I used a lot of screws!

As you can see I used a lot of screws!

I set the lid aside and started to assemble the sides. Again going to my scrap lumber pile I was able to find 1×4’s.

Sanding all the pieces…I had to sand quite a bit, to rid them of the dents and discolorations. After sanding the boards I used a chop saw to cut the boards the height I wanted the “cat house” to be.

I contemplated using “L” brackets to hold the boards in place while I screwed each 1×4 to the top of the spool, however I ended up just screwing them straight to the spool using two screws per board.

I screwed two screws per board from the bottom. See the "L" bracket? I removed it as I found it wasn't necessary and the clamps really didn't help much either! :)

I screwed two screws per board from the bottom. See the “L” bracket? I removed it as I found it wasn’t necessary and the clamps really didn’t help much either! 🙂

You can see from this pic that the boards are wonkie. Don't let that discourage you! It will all work out in the end! Promise.

You can see from this pic that the boards are wonkie. Don’t let that discourage you! It will all work out in the end! Promise.

After all the boards are screwed from the bottom, I put the lid on and began to move boards into place so I could screw down from the top of the “lid”.

The wonkie boards will come together...wait for it...

The wonkie boards will come together…wait for it…

I knew the screws would be showing. So I spaced them apart to be appealing to the eye!

I knew the screws would be showing. So I spaced them apart to be appealing to the eye! And see all the wonkie boards are in place as promised!

Onward!

To the base of the tree…I used sisal to give the kitties an awesome scratching feature! I achieved this by using hot glue and good rope. You don’t have to glue the entire base. You can glue a few inches, wrap the rope, glue a few more inches, wrap rope…and so on…Keep going until you’ve reached the desired look!

This is the rope I used. It's sisal; a natural fiber. There was no odor on the rope. I've bought sisal before via online and gosh was that a mistake! The smell was so awful that no amount of soaking it in any type of solution would get the stench out! I make a point now to only buy rope if I can touch it/smell it. This was from HomeDepot.

This is the rope I used. It’s sisal; a natural fiber. There was no odor on the rope. I’ve bought sisal before via online and gosh was that a mistake! The smell was so awful that no amount of soaking it in any type of solution would get the stench out! I make a point now to only purchase rope if I can touch it/smell it. This was from HomeDepot.

I started right under the sleeping quarter.

I started right under the sleeping quarter.

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My helpers!

Glue and wrap, glue and wrap.

Glue and wrap, glue and wrap…

Another helper...

Another helper…

I stained the whole thing with dark walnut left over from a flooring job I did.  I put three coats of water based poly after.

I stained the whole thing with dark walnut left over from a flooring job I did. I put three coats of water based poly after.

As you saw I stained the piece before I added the sisal. If I were to make another I would probably stain and seal beforehand. Though in the end, I was careful not to get any on the rope. This was an easy project that really didn’t take long at all. Maybe a couple of hours? The longest part was waiting for the stain to dry and the smell to dissipate.

The kitties really like it and this piece doubles as an end table! Remember the lamp shade I made? Here I staged the lamp on that. But since then, I’ve moved it about the room where ever an end table is needed!

This was a fun project and I was happy to create something for my furry friends. They really do like it and love scratching their claws on the sisal. I hope you enjoyed this post and it inspires you to make something for your pets too!

And as you can see...not just for cats!

And as you can see…not just for cats!

Please like, follow, and share, your support means the world to me. It really does! ❤

From my furry friends to yours…All the best, Koko❀

DIY Dog Bed Easy as 1-2-3

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Thinking outside the box can be really fun when creating pet beds. This one is made out of a bass drum.  (My son’s very first drum set when he was five!) He didn’t want to get rid of it so he donated it to my many causes…Stay tuned for what I’ve done to the rest of his drum kit!

So what I did here was simply take off one of the heads and added a pillow.  Her blanket was in the washer at the time, but you get the idea.  Lay something soft down and your pup will know what to do! Not only do I find all my dogs loving this bed (except for the great dane and that’s because only her head would fit), but the kitties love sleeping in it too!

This drum was lovingly refinished, sanded and stained by my son, to allow the natural wood to shine through. You did a fabulous job son!

It’s a conversation starter and looks very stylish anywhere in the home. Get creative…re-think…re-purpose!

What creative ways have you used in making pet beds? Please let me know what you think. Be sure to check back, I have plenty more bed ideas for your furry friends! Paws and kisses…Koko

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No More Kisses!

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“Come on Mom, my friends are watching!”

I guess she wanted no part of loving. LOL…It’s incredible to me how much I’ve come to adore this furry little monster.  She’s comical at times, cheeky at best, and loving when only when it’s me and her. If one of her adopted siblings are around, she doesn’t dare snuggle.  She’s off in some hidden place as if to say, “I want mom to myself”.

Today is Monday.  Labor Day here in the United States.  Everyone is supposed to take the day off.  It also signals the end of BBQ season.  In fashion it’s the end of wearing light summer suits for men and the white pants for women.  It’s an interesting custom, one which I don’t practice.  I for one BBQ year round and if I want to wear white in the winter, so be it.

I am off to the market for BBQ things.  I don’t know if I have ever barbecued on Labor Day before.  It just happens the whole family is home and it’s such a beautiful day, grilling just makes sense.  So to you all out there, I hope your day is BBQ beautiful and you are out enjoying it…..Koko❀ ✿ ❁ ✾

Juvenile five-lined skink oh my!

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Please excuse the dirty hands, two hours mowing and two more digging will do that.

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It’d make a cool tattoo if I were so inclined!

Found another friend in the garden.  I was turning my mulch pile and this awesome creature scurried out.  I was super excited and ran in to show my daughter to which she backed away without panicking too much and I convinced her to take a peek.

The brilliant colors really are amazing in person.  You know this a juvenile because it’s tail is so striking and the blue (sometimes purple) tail is so vibrant.  You know you’ve found an adult male by it’s orange or reddish head.  Females are a bit duller but will still have the distinctive stripes and color.

These guys are often found in grassy areas or around wood piles and decaying vegetation. (Makes sense me finding him in my mulch pile!)  They can also be found around rock piles (I have tons of that; literally.)

They like to eat insects; such as grasshoppers and crickets, spiders, earthworms, larvae, other lizards, and even mice!

These guys are diurnal which means they live on the ground.  (Fancy name; diurnal 😉  )

Since they lay their eggs from May to June; the babies will hatch between June to August, and finding this one near, I’ve decided to leave my mulch pile alone.  Mostly because I like a creature that eats spiders and mice.  Not that I’ve seen any mice, but spiders…they are everywhere.  I’m not afraid of spiders and will often take them out bare handed, however getting bit is another story.  When I get bit by one, it takes days of healing using a concoction I make.

FYI: Five-lined Skinks are NOT poisonous; though some say they taste bad so as to discourage being eaten!

Skinks are territorial.

Females lay 10-20 eggs…They are oviparous, which means, they lay eggs with little or no embryonic development inside the mother; like a bird; it’s eggs embryonic fluids and such are inside the egg.  The development of the animal doesn’t come from “stewing” inside the mom.

The females take care of the eggs.  If they need to warm up, she will lay out in the sun and then return to the eggs to warm them up!  If the air is dry she will cover the eggs with soil so they don’t dry out and if they are too dry she will urinate on them to replenish the moisture.

If the momma suspects a rotten egg; she will eat it for added nutrition.

They are not harmful to humans.

Hope you enjoyed learning about these colorful creatures.  I’m off to dig up potatoes!  Have an awesome day! 😀

A Game of Cat and Mouse…

I start my day with making my bed.  Simple enough, one would think.  What you don’t know is I sleep with a demon…”gasp!”  No, not what you think.  And I’m not referring to my husband; I’m referring to a tiny-colorful-furry-four-legged-minx of a demon kitty.  She is the tiniest of the seven.  Yes you read that right; I have seven felines, (for another time and another story).

So this demon is pretty much the only one who comes in my bedroom.  It’s a game to her, I think, to wake me up in the night.  Most of the time it’s because she’s lost her toy (a hairpin; her favorite thing in the world and I am NOT kidding! Erm, maybe besides me 😉 ) Or, she has forgotten where she last left me; in bed!  She will cry, and talk, and chirp, but sometimes if I am lucky, she finds me asleep, and she will snuggle down beside me, real close; like she is a part of me, and sleep like the sweet angel I know she can be.  If my breathing changes, she knows! If I open my eyes ever so slightly, she knows!  I don’t think she ever really sleeps.  I think she stays awake, and when no one is watching, she sharpens her horns she cleverly hides close to her ears.

She lays in waiting until she knows I am awake.  Wait for it…wait for it…(This is the demon coming out in her.)…and then she pounces!  If I wiggle my feet she leaps like a rabid monkey and attacks my toes. Any slight movement and I turn into her prey.  She hunts me like a lioness stalking a rabbit.  Crouching down in position ready to make her move.

This is how I wake up when she’s in the room!  So I lint roll my bed.  Hardly any hair, but that is because I have this ritual of keeping things mostly clean; mostly.  Brushing teeth and doing my kick backs (gotta tighten those buns!), my little demon watches and waits.  I ignore her thinking that if I pretend she isn’t there, she isn’t really as adorable as she looks.  I sneak a peak, and between rep forty five; dang it, she caught me looking.  She falls on her back and chirps and lets out a meow only a mother could love.  “Okay, fine! I love her!”  I rub her belly with my bare foot and she clamps down like a ninja ready to do battle with Chinese stars for nails.

I finish brushing my teeth, bun muscles are burning from the repetitions, I pick her up, (ignoring the charlie horse that wants to rear it’s head because I didn’t stretch).  She wraps herself around my arm, mimicking a python squeezing its victim. She thinks she’s doing damage, but all she’s doing is making me laugh.

I am getting dressed and she is ready, as in, as soon as I open my closet she rushes in to hide.  (As if I didn’t see that coming!)  I toss on my usual; shorts and t-shirt and I call out to her.  I’ve got a long list of things to do and she can’t stay in there.  She ignores me because she has selective hearing; which she is quite good at.  In her next life she will come back as a kid, I know this because my human children suffer from the same selective hearing.

I look for a hair pin.  And I toss it, and out from hiding she comes.  Works like a charm, every time! She finds her hair pin and brings it back to me meowing and chirping with it in her mouth.  She’s a practicing ventriloquist.  How she can talk without moving her lips!  Astonishing!  I take the pin from her and save it for later.  She bolts. And it’s my turn to crouch down.  I peek around my bathroom sink and say, “Boo!”.  She crouches too and starts to sneak.  I run over behind the door and peak out and say, “Boo!” and she sneaks closer. This goes on until one of us gets close enough to pounce.

This is the game we play.  Silly albeit, but a game I look forward to, from the time she finally settles down to sleep, to the peak-a-boo game the next morning.  My little demon makes me smile.  And everyone should start their day with a smile.

Hope you have a smile kinda day!

Paws and kisses, Koko

Is Your Cat In Pain? Signs To Look For.

Cats are master disguisers of pain. How are we to know when they are in pain? What are the signs?

First off, I hope you know your pet well. If not, get to know her, after all you are her life line. You are whom she puts her trust in. You are the one that feeds her and grooms her and hopefully plays with her. You know her likes, dislikes, wants, and needs. You know things that make her jump; fireworks, rowdy kids, doggie that loves to chase her…

How about the new kitty you’ve adopted or the one you are fostering? How can you tell if she is in pain? Here are some tips in how you can tell if your feline needs more than love, food, and comfort.

What is the difference between being scared or outright pain?

Is your kitty suddenly running off to dark small spaces?
Is she wailing/crying for no apparent reason?
When you touch her does she shy away/bite at you/claw at you?
Touch her paws and move up each leg. Feel around her neck, down her spine, around her tummy. How does she react? (That was the way I had confirmed my kitties pain and what needed to be done.)
Does she seem abnormally tired/sleepy/not as active?
Any signs of discharge from eyes/ears/bottom?
Is she eating normally?
How about her facial expressions? Is she holding her ears back or in an odd way? Are her eyes glazed/sad-looking? (When one of my kitties was ill, I could tell by the look in his eyes. He had a sad hollow look. His whiskers sort of turned down. He was having some issues with his urinary tract…BTW; he’s completely recovered, yay!)
Look at how she walks. Is her back hunched? Does she hang her head low?
Is her breathing odd, too slow/too fast?
Is she pacing the room as if she can’t get comfortable; laying down only to get right back up?

Hopefully some of these tips will help clue you in on your kitty’s pain. Noticing the pain is the first sign in helping her get better. The signs will be there if you just take a moment to look. Paws and kisses…Koko

Clean Without Toxins And Clean On The Cheap!

To clean my home can be a challenge seeing how not only are there humans running around (and a revolving door for friends); there are eleven furry beings, one reptilian, and oh I can’t forget the itty bitty dwarf hamster my son got me for a birthday gift almost 4 years ago. I clean, clean, and when I think I am done, I clean some more.

There are many products we buy at the market that can be very poisonous to our pets and if they are poisonous to our pets just think how toxic they are to us. I’ve been making my own cleaners for better part of two decades as my daughter came into this world sensitive to most everything. Before my little bouncing joy was here I can remember as a girl getting out the mop bucket and vinegar. What vinegar didn’t clean away there was baking soda. Over the years I learned and added some other things to my arsenal cleaning; peroxide and essential oils, oh and can’t forget the power of lemon (yep the whole fruit and nothing but the fruit, skin and all!

I will be posting recipes and what I do to clean my home in a part one, two, three…well you get it? I don’t want to bore you completely by giving it to you all at once!

Okay this is what I do for my sinks and tub (anything with a drain that can get gunk build up over time).

Drain cleaner—A great drain cleaner I use is baking soda, white vinegar, and hot water. I boil two pots of water. Pour one pot down the drain to loosen up debris, oils, just normal gunk that accumulates in a drain. Then I sprinkle 1/2 cup baking soda around the area (I usually take the time to rub the baking soda around (sink bowl) and clean (sink bowl) while I’m at it. Follow up with a cup of white vinegar poured all around the sink bowl. Then I pour a second pot of hot water down the drain. (You don’t have to follow up with a second pot of hot water; I just do). I do this to all sinks and tubs. Kids love watching the foaming action between baking soda and vinegar. Science project! (btw…I do this once a week or two. Better to keep the drains clean and clear then to call a plumber!)

This cleans brilliantly and just smells clean. 🙂

     Hint: If you want a “smell good” smell; drop a drop or two of lemon, orange, or lavender essential oil down during last pot of water.  These essential oils disinfect too; killing those nasty germs!

Baking soda is awesome! It scrubs nice and easy without scratching. It removes most stains (I have yet to meet a stain in my house I couldn’t get out) and gunk. It is amazing polisher for shiny things like my faucets. What I love…it deodorizes! Does all that and is inexpensive too!

White vinegar is my workhorse. Gets through a lot of scum. It disinfects and is a deodorizer as well. Oh and that stuff is inexpensive as well.  Love that!

Try the drain cleaner and please let me know how it works for you…

……In fabulous health, Koko

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Kissing Frogs! Erm…Toads

LOOK WHAT I FOUND IN MY GARDEN!!!! ….

Prince Charming!

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An American toad came to visit me in my garden!  What a treat!  I squealed like a little girl seeing this cutie.  The only difference between then and now is I didn’t put it in my pocket!

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Can you see him smile?

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I love him; warts and all!

Technically toads are frogs, but here are some differences between the two. Frogs have smooth skin and are usually found near water. They also are good jumpers. Frogs have mad hops! 😉

Toads have dry bumpy/wart like skin. They are not usually found near water and their jumps are short and choppy.

They both are amphibians. Amphibians are cold-blooded.

“Take the time to look; to see things that are meant to be unseen.  Surprises are everywhere if you just take the time to look.”   Peace, Koko

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Mellow Yellow…

Perfect color for summer.  Sunny yellow!  It’s actually called “Mellow Yellow”,  by Sally Hansen; their Xtreme line.  It’s so pretty.  Instant happiness!  I painted three coats of this color; no bottom coat, no top coat, and the polished lasted over a week.  That is saying a lot coming from me, since my hands touch water 20 or more times a day, plus I’m out in the garden daily.   Needless to say, my hands take a beating and the polish stayed strong.  I’m thinking if I was easy on my hands I’d probably get well over two weeks on this; sadly,  the world will never know!  😉  The kitty is pretty too, don’t you think?

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