Yesterday the winter shelter tent was set up. It is quite a process. This year we set it up about a week later than usual. Our temperatures have been so very warm there has been no need. I believe we could have waited another few weeks, but decided that it was best to set it up while it was still warm thus allowing the cats to get used to it before it is needed. With Cisco’s arrival they all may need extra time.
The process of putting up the tent shelter( Shelter Logic Shed in a Box) takes about 2-3 hours. The deck space needs to be cleared first. Next the tent is assembled. This is the 6th winter using this shelter so putting it up gets easier each year. We have made some modifications throughout the years which have really helped to keep the space warm. I am amazed at how good of shape the tent remains after all of the winter use. After the tent is assembled, the plywood astroturf covered floor is installed. Next comes the bench that two of the heated houses sit upon. This years we added a house for Cisco and it is sitting up on bricks on the floor. I also added a tent house as well as a magic box. The final step is getting all of the cords situated. This year my husband assembled the cords and I must say it is much more efficient than my method!
The shelter we are using for Cisco is a feral villa that my husband built for Shadow in 2010. He found instructions online to build it himself. Unfortunately Shadow never used it. I held onto it and for a few years. I used it upon a table to keep dry food inside during bitter cold winters. It worked well and allowed the cats to eat some dry food when it was bitter cold outside during the nights. Unfortunately raccoons found their way so it was once again not being used. The shelter was modified to add a window as well as shorten the wind break. There is both an entrance door and exit door. It is also completely insulated. This winter we added a Hound Heater Classic. Since this unit does not allow me to control the temperature, I am using a ThermoCube that will turn the unit on when it reaches 35 and turn it off when it reaches 45. Here is a picture of the shelter before the hound heater was installed.
Last winter I was always worried about the temperatures inside the heated houses. I had a single wireless thermometer that I used in one of the shelters. I could easily tell inside my home the temperature inside the heated house. When we added Hampton’s heated house I had to rely on a digital thermometer that I had to go outside to read. I figured there had to be a way to have multiple sensors. I found a product on Amazon and it worked very well last winter. I was able to place one sensor in each heated house and then I had a unit to read the temperatures inside my house. The products is called Ambient Weather WS-21 Wireless 8 Channel Thermometer with Two Remote Sensors. This year I was able to purchase a 3rd sensor to place inside Cisco’s heated house. I now can easily read the temperature inside each heated shelter! This gives me great piece of mind knowing that the units are all functioning.
Last night it was raining, but still quite warm outside. I did not have any of the heat pads or hound heaters turned on. Stellar slept inside his normal heated house for 6 hours! Hampton went in his for a bit. Cisco even made an appearance and sniffed around! Shadow had previously been inside, but chose a magic box on the deck instead! We are to get cooler temperatures for the next few nights. Most likely the heat pads will be turned on.
Here are some pictures of the set up.