Georgetta Brickey: A Safe Haven for Raising My Bottle Baby Foster Kittens

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(Editor's Note: Georgetta is one of those saints who fosters and raises rescue and orphan kittens for a rescue organization in Ventura, CA. She nurtures these babies, cares for them and socializes them so, when ready, they can to to their new, forever homes and be wonderful, loved, healthy pets. For more information and to see the kittens she is currently fostering, see her website. )

Dear Marva,

Here are the pictures... hopefully clear enough for your purposes. Thanks for the compliment on the beauty of my little guys... I will tell them as soon as they wake up from their afterbottle nap on the couch. They aren't in the picture, cause I didn't want to disturb them and they are so small, I figured they probably wouldn't show up very well anyway. Baloo (entering the enclosure in the photo) is about 3+ lbs. now and willing to pose.

The enclosure uses the 6 ft long, 12 inch wide shelving (total of 24, 6-foot shelves) and measures approximately 3 ft wide X 7 feet long X 6 feet high. I cut 4 of the 6 foot shelves in half to use 7 1/2 (3 ft.)shelves to make the "roof", leaving one (leftover) 3 footer to go inside on the narrower end of the enclosure in the back, close to the floor (about 12 inches off the floor), allowing me to drape a beach towel on the shelf and create a "cave".

I also purchased 1, 16 inch wide, 4 foot long shelf which I trimmed to 3 ft. to add an additional shelf on the narrower/back end about 1/2 way up from the floor. 2, 8 foot X 12 inch shelves (trimmed to measure 7 ft.) were put on the long side, one just at the bottom of the window ledge height and the other at eye level. The shelves are staggered in height so it is fairly easy for the kittens to eventually work their way up to the top shelf.

I added a cardboard "scratcher" insert (Alpine brand) to make a ramp from the second shelf to third one. I used plastic covered wire threaded through the cardboard holes/slots in one end of the scratcher and secured it to the edge of the higher shelf.

I purchased a good quality of undercarpet rebound padding (about $20 for a 6' X 10' piece) with a plastic coating on the top to "pad" my tile floor against accidents (messy ones and ouchy ones). It is also much nicer to kneel on than hard cold tile to clean and change litter boxes, and food bowls .

I covered the padding with 6 mil thick plastic sheeting and newspaper - easy to remove when babies get messy. I temporarily have cardboard cut from the shelving packaging (with fabric or toweling on top) covering the wire shelving so little paws won't slip between the wires, but eventually plan to use more of the rebound to line the shelves too.

Marva, you had a wonderful inspiration to invent this type of enclosure, and I truly appreciate you generously sharing it with me and other feline "fanatics". Thank you too for taking the time to answer my many questions about the details of the construction.

Due to your help, the major/outer parts of the castle were put together in about 45 minutes. I am sure I will make some changes in coming months, but that is one of the beauties of this design. It is very flexible as to configuration and modification... you just clip the cable ties with wire cutters and change it!

Since I foster bottle baby kittens only part of the year, I can dismantle the castle after kitten season is over and store it in a relatively small area by just stacking the shelving and discarding the used padding and cardboard. The cost to reassemble it for the next kitten season is just for the cable ties... about $5. Wow!