Cat Adoption Success Story with 9Lives and DIY Cat Tree |For what it's worth

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Cat Adoption Success Story with 9Lives and DIY Cat Tree

Disclosure: Cat adoption story with 9Lives and DIY Cat Tree.  This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone #CelebratingMorris #CollectiveBias

When I learned of an opportunity to adopt two kittens from my cousin Adrienne with an unexpected litter of the most adorable yellow and calico kittens I immediately began to prepare for an easy transition.  From transition living quarters to setting up a feeding station for their 9Lives® cat food and a DIY cat tree to make our kittens love their new forever home, we wanted to be ready.  I’ve listed my pre adoption preparation and even included step by step instructions on how we put together an almost free cat perch/tree.

Cat-adoption-diy-cat-tree-9Lives #CelebratingMorris #CollectiveBias

Adrienne posted some photos on her Facebook page with a note she had some kittens looking for forever homes.  I had a trip planned to visit my daughter who lives in her neighborhood so I responded I was interested.  I had less than two weeks to prepare for them but it was pretty easy. 

pre adoption kittens #shop #cbias #CelebratingMorris
Prepare before adopting kittens
First I cleaned out the garage, removing items that kittens do not need to be getting into, like chemicals we use on the yard and in the garden.  We decided to park our vehicles outside until the kittens are ready to move into an area that will give them more freedom.  We don’t want kitties crawling up under the cars and hiding.  You can use other spaces as well but we hope these kitties will eventually prefer the barn and help with rodent control. Plus the garage makes feeding and checking on them easy.

The sleeping area is a cozy box and bedding with an old towel from the bed they were sharing with the rest of the litter.  Later they’ll move into a cat house on our back porch, but not until I feel like they are big enough and strong enough to fend for themselves in our country home.

Next I set up a feeding station.  Gravity fed food and water containers make life easy for outside cats.  I use a kitchen trash can with an attached lid that is the perfect size to store any extra from the 20 pound bag of 9Lives Hearty Cats Beef and Chicken dry cat food I purchase at Dollar General.

cat bed and feeding station #CelebratingMorris #shop

This year, Morris the 9Lives Cat is celebrating his 50th Adopt-I-versary! How perfect is that? Morris is the greatest Celebri-cat!  Here is some interesting famous cat trivia for you: 
    • Did you know that in 1968, Bob Martwick, an animal talent scout discovered an orange tabby with quite the charming personality at the Humane Society in Hinsdale, IL. Morris was so charming at his audition that the art director exclaimed, "He's the Clark Gable of cats." He became the official 9Lives spokescat and one of the most famous cats in the world, starring in over 50 commercials, and appearing in a film with Burt Reynolds. Despite his fame, Morris has always had a social conscience. He has visited countless schools to promote kindness to animals. In 2007, he launched Morris' Million Cat Rescue® to save those animals in need of a forever home. Morris has never forgotten his humble beginnings as a rescue cat. He and 9Lives cat food continue to bring great taste and balanced nutrition to cats around the world. And Morris will not rest until every cat finds a home.  Learn more about Morris the 9Lives Cat and his 50th adopt-I-versary. The Story Of Morris the 9Lives Cat video.
After the feeding station was ready a litter box was prepared, cause nobody wants that stuff all over the place!  Lucky for me the new kittens were already litter box trained.  I had a small plastic dish pan that is perfect.

Next I checked with a Vet to see when I needed to schedule an appointment for shots and spay/neutering. I love kittens, but I really don’t want any surprise litters.

Finally we created a DIY cat tree on the back porch where they will spend a lot of time entertaining me and the grandchildren. It was an easy project hubs and I completed in a few hours using recycled materials gathered from the barn and hubs workshop. The only purchase we made was some hex lag screws at $1.10 plus a bottle of strong glue at $9.99.  Instructions to make your own DIY Cat tree are further down in this post.

I felt prepared when I arrived at Adrienne’s. Her grand daughter introduced me to a litter of adorable kittens!   She helped me select one little blonde and a precious calico.  We put them in a cat carrier and I set off for home.  They were a little concerned about being separated from their birth home but I talked to them and they talked to me until they settled down for a good nap as we traveled to my home.

When we arrived at their forever home I carried them into the garage, closed the door and let them out of the carrier.  It was late afternoon and time for their first feeding and thanks to my local Dollar General Store I was prepared.  For the first meal I gave them 9Lives Meaty Pate’ chicken and turkey because 9Lives brand celebrates and champions all cats. They loved it and gobbled it up!  The wet food will be a treat I use to train them to come in at night and stay still long enough for photos.

kittens eating 9Lives pate' on DIY cat tree #shop #CelebratingMorris

For their daily feedings I make sure their gravity fed dispenser is filled with 9Lives Daily Essentials. 9Lives is a cat food brand that assures cat parents they are making the responsible choice, because it provides taste, nutrition and variety while providing practical knowledge and advice, giving them the confidence that they are making the right choice for their cat. With more than 50 years of helping cats lead long, healthy lives, 9Lives is the only brand that makes living well easy- because your cat deserves to live well.

Build a DIY Cat Tree

I mentioned that Big Girl Grand wanted to create a cat tree to Hubs and he came up with a great idea of using real tree limbs.  In no time at all he brought in a beautiful mesquite tree piece with a trio of limbs.  He described the project to me and set to work.  I had to slow him down to get pictures to make it easier for you all to build your own project!  Putting it together was creatively fun.

He started by measuring the width of some scrap lumber (6 inches) and cutting the tree limb square the same measure as the lumber so that the depth of the tree fits perfectly into the square created for it with that scrap lumber.  Sounds confusing, but when you look at the pictures you’ll see what I mean.  It’s a pretty simple way to make the base without a lot of math… which I’m not very good at and I bet a lot of you would like to avoid as well.

cut tree limb to fit base

view top of limb squared off

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The base needed to be assembled.  Since I missed photographing how he cut the base feet he made one extra just so I could SHOW you how he did it. Hubs measured and cut four pieces for feet (well, five but we only needed four) from scrap lumber so that it would be as wide as the top branches (about 36 inches). The four feet were arranged to make a square the same size as the squared off tree limb and secured together with wood screws.

measuring lumber for base leg

cutting wood for base leg

measuring a little drop for the foot

cutting the base foot

standing four feet for the base

screw base feet together

We were ready to wedge the tree limb into the base hole but it was a little too tight so hubs simply used his chisel to remove a little more wood until it fit.  Yay!  Success!  Now he tightened in the wood screws then screwed those hex lag screws through the base boards into the tree limb to really make the perch secure.  I started smiling and getting excited just thinking about how the kitties will love the perch.

use chisle to trim limb to fit base opening

tree limb placed in base and screws added

By the way, here is the difference in the two kind of screws we used. The stronger hex lag is on the right.

wood screw and hex lag screw with power screw driver

It needed a landing area for the kitties to lounge on so we used a salvaged piece of plywood which honestly looked pretty far gone to me but hubs strategically cut from the good areas to get a large oval.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this part out but some talent reading a measuring tape will come in handy.  Just draw the shape and cut it about the same width and length as the the base.

use skil saw to cut elipse and entry circle

For this landing table Hubs cut a slightly oval shape and a circle opening where the kittens will be able to climb through from the limbs below.  Isn’t Hubs creative?  I just love it.  Once the shape was cut, it was sanded to get rid of the splintery edges and that paper stuff was scraped off in preparation for the carpet to be glued down.

We’re getting close to finishing the tree.  Hubs screwed the landing table in place. We spread the glue on the table top then flipped the whole thing upside down onto the carpet remnant.  It had to sit there for several hours while the glue cured.  Once it was cured enough we used a box cutter to trim away the excess carpet.  I’m super happy with how the perch turned out.  It reminds me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book. All that was left to do was introduce the kittens to their new perch!

cutting carpet scrap to fit top

The kittens have grown a lot in four weeks so I took pictures today to show how cute they are on the cat tree. 

DIY cat tree with cats #CelebratingMorris #shop

I think he’s complaining that the calico is hogging the 9Lives pate’! 

The kittens are adapting very quickly. And growing!  They are getting big fast.  I love watching them play in the garden and scampering up the tree.  I’m so happy we adopted them.  If you have a successful adoption story, I’d love to hear about it in comments. 

Meanwhile head over to Dollar General to pick up your 9Lives cat food essentials. 9Lives is dedicated to the health and happiness of cats everywhere. Why? Because 9Lives believes your cat deserves to live well. To learn more about Morris the Cat read Morris Introduces His Cat Pack article then Check out the 9Lives Facebook page.

To make it easy here’s a photo to help you locate 9Lives cat foods in Dollar General.  Just look for the pet food section.

9Lives cat food location at Dollar General #shop #CelebratingMorris

DIY Cat Tree Materials list:

Total time to complete this project was about 12 hours. 
Total cost to us was $11.09.

You need some power tool skills to make this project.  Skill level: moderate
  • scrap lumber and plywood
  • limbs saved from tree trimming
  • carpet remnant
  • 3” wood screws, 3” hex lag wood screws
  • glue
  • chisel and mallet
  • screwdriver (we used a power one)
  • saw (hubs used his table saw and a small hand saw)
  • skill saw to cut circles
  • chain saw to cut the limbs
  • box cutter or carpet knife

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