Cats love to snuggle into
cozy, dark places.
In the wild, cats use caves and other dark, cozy places for
- staying warm;
- having kittens;
- hiding from predators;
- recovering from injury or illness.
When we bring cats indoors, their need for a “cat cave” remains.
A cat cave provides security, warmth, and comfort. It’s a private space for each cat to enjoy, or a place for 2 friends to snuggle up together.
Does your cat crave a cat cave?
If your cat is hiding in closets, under beds, or behind furniture, a cat cave might be just the thing.
Cats who especially benefit from cat caves are:
- feral cats making the transition to indoor living;
- sick or injured cats;
- elderly cats;
- cats recovering from surgery.
Many cats who enjoy meditating will really appreciate a cat cave.
Violet introduced me to cat caves.
Violet has an intense need for warmth in the winter. When she was young, she tried to sit on top of my baseboard radiators – an impossible feat for any cat.
To help her feel warm and comfortable, I found a cardboard box of the right height. She could sit part-way on the radiator with the box holding the rest of her body.
I soon realized that I could do better for her. With Violet’s instruction, I created my first cat cave. I’ve been making them ever since.
This particular cave is currently used by Starlight, but I once found Violet snugged in there with her. So it meets the needs of cozy and two can share, but mostly now it’s Starlight’s to enjoy.
Home-made cat caves are inexpensive, sturdy and warm.
To make a cat cave, you will need:
- a cat sized “corrugated” cardboard box.
- a bath size towel (approx. 2 feet by 3 feet).
- a soft item for a cat to lie on.
- duct tape or packaging tape.
From a cat’s point of view, the cave doesn’t need to be fancy. It just needs to be
- dark and cozy inside, i.e., not too big.
- capable of holding body heat plus any additional heat that the season requires.
- a safe, quiet location.
Depending on how your home is heated, you may want to put the back or side of the cave someplace warm:
- against a baseboard radiator
- next to a hot air vent that’s located on the floor
- against or next to an old-fashioned radiator
I don’t recommend putting a heating pad inside, as that can become too hot. You can put a heating pad behind the box or you can use large plastic soda bottles filled with hot water behind and along the sides outside of the box to provide some additional warmth.
>> Box Size <<
Choose a cardboard box that is large enough for 1 or 2 cats, depending on your situation.
>> The cat(s) should be able to stand up and stretch, and turn around easily inside the box.
>> If you have a pair of cats who love to snuggle up together, a 2-cat box might be fine.
>> “Corrugated” Cardboard <<
Cardboard boxes are the best material for a cat cave because they are corrugated, i.e., there are air spaces that hold heat. Many are also quite sturdy. They are also light weight and thus easy to move around.
The cave in the photo here is located upstairs where it’s cooler in the winter time. So the cave sits on top of some old pillows to insulate the bottom and to give the cave a bit of height, which cats seem to prefer.
Notice the baseboard radiator. All my caves back up to radiators for warmth in the winter. In summer, of course, the heat is off and the cave is warm enough.
Oh … the feline who came to help me take the pictures is Starlight.
If a cat is sick and a box becomes dirty with vomit or feces, you can always throw it out and get a new one. Cardboard is inexpensive – just save some of the those empty boxes you get every time you order something online.
If you don’t have any boxes available, you can get some at the back of stores that are throwing them away. Liquor stores are a good option, and some supermarkets have lots of boxes in their trash.
Make sure the box is very clean and doesn’t have any blood or strong odors.
A fancy wooden box is not as good as cardboard because it won’t hold the heat as well. If you want your cat cave to look “fancy”, cover it with a fancy patterned towel. “Fancy” is a human need, not a cat need.
>> Cardboard Box Preparation <<
The bottom of the box becomes the back of the cave.
The “top” is used as the opening for the cat to walk into the box.
Depending on the box you choose, you may have to fold the flaps into the box and secure them with tape, making the box stronger. Duct tape works better then packaging tape.
You can also use the flaps to make a box larger by taping them in an open position.
Please note that all work on cat caves will most likely be supervised by your cat. That’s normal, natural, and appropriate, from the feline perspective.
If the cat keeps jumping in the box slowing down the creation process, or gets tangled up in the duct tape, the cats is teaching you that creativity is supposed to be fun and not a serious enterprise.
I recommend getting into the spirit of the play – it will be healthier for you and more fun, too.
BATH TOWEL CAVE COVER
I use a bath towel to cover most of my caves, but you can use anything else you have around that’s appropriate. The idea is to drape the towel over the front of the cave and to cover the top and part of the sizes as well.
The cover serves these functions:
- It hangs down over the opening, leaving 2-3″ space open at the bottom. This allows the cat to come and go easily, while still providing a dark, warm interior.
- It creates the mysterious darkness that cats love.
- It adds some additional insulation.
- It’s easy to lift up to see if someone is inside, or to reach inside, and you can also leave it open if the cave becomes too warm.
Drape the cave with something easily washable, such as old towels or pieces of polar fleece.
BENEATH THE CAT CAVE
Some cats are comfortable being on the floor, and as long as the floor is warm enough, putting the cat cave there is no problem. It can be placed on bare floor or on carpet.
If your cat loves height, you can put the cat cave on a large chair or on a foot stool that is large enough to hold the cave and leave a bit of space in front for the cat to jump up on before entering the cave
Wherever you set the cave, it must be easy for the cat to get in and out. A sick or elderly cat may not be able to jump up to reach their cave, and the last thing you want is for the cat to fall down and get hurt.
A young, healthy cat may be very comfortable on a folded up towel, an old, soft bath mat, or anything that is soft and will shape itself to the cat.
I have many pieces of polar fleece cut up into 3 foot squares that I use to cover my cat beds and to use inside the caves. They are warm, collect cat fur, and are easily washable. They dry quickly in a dryer, so you can get rid of the fuzz during shedding season, which seems to be all year round (at times).
GETTING FELINE APPROVAL
Allow your cat to explore a new cave at leisure. The cat will find the darkness and warmth inviting and will probably move right in if s/he is sick or elderly and feeling cold, or even just to place her energy in the cave to claim it.
I purchased this lovely cat bed online thinking that my girls might like something different. The only reason Sakhara is actually inside it is because I shoved her in. No one would go into it willingly, even after several washes to get rid of the chemical preservative smell that is used on all cloth items today.
As you can see from Sakhara’s expression, she is not happy with this cave.
It was never accepted by any of my cats, not even after I threw a piece of polar fleece over the top to make the inside more mysterious.
Starlight’s solution was to sit on the polar fleece thus flattening the entire structure into a chaise lounge appearance. So now it’s in her upstairs cave still covered by the fleece. (See photo above of the cave sitting on pillows.)
NEED HELP WITH ELDERLY OR SICK CATS?
There is a photo of a cat cave in this post: Feline Hospice for Violet
The one pictured there has a black plastic liner (cut up garbage bag) in the bottom for cats that are dying or leaking urine. There’s a picture of an orthopedic mattress further down in the same post.
Of course, I’m always available to assist you and your cats and other animals in any way I can.
The Power of the Heart-to-Heart Connection.
Melissa has been with us just over a year. Her integration has been full of challenges for everyone. She’s been teaching us and we’ve been teaching her, too.
Recently, it occurred to me that creating a permanent heart link with Melissa would help her feel more accepted and more loved. She was eager to do it, even after I reminded her that I already have this connection with Violet and Echo and Starlight.
Once it was created, Melissa began getting into my lap and doing her best to climb inside my shirts. As you can see, she doesn’t always fit completely inside it.
Some of my friends are suggesting that I must be part kangaroo, and she wants to be my “Joey.”
A Neurological Disconnect
Although she’s the youngest member of my feline family, Melissa sees herself as the dominant cat, or “top cat.” Because this is Sakhara’s position, and Sakhara isn’t ready to retire, the two of them have had some difficulties.
Sakhara, age 19, is a very grounded, Earth-energy being who doesn’t believe in fighting. She will hiss and will raise a paw to cuff with claws sheathed, but she won’t start a fight and won’t participate in a fight.
In contrast, Melissa is very young (about 18 months old now) and full of energy. She had been swatting at Sakhara and going out of her way to do it. Even when we were all sitting quietly on the sofa, Melissa would suddenly approach Sakhara and hit her in the fact. Sakhara began jerking her head back in anticipation of being hit whenever Melissa approached her .
Melissa would also come up to Violet and hit her in the face or jump on her head and back, which can injure Violet, age 17 and a bit frail.
Starlight, age 4, loves to wrestle and play with Melissa, but doesn’t expect to be hit. The few times Melissa raised a paw to her, Starlight was startled and gave Melissa a disdainful look.
To stem the wave of aggressive behavior, I pulled out all the stops.
Melissa has been treated with
- flower essences (to remove aggressive emotional patterns),
- chiropractic (to eliminate physical pain),
- homeopathy (to balance her physical/emotional/mental/and spiritual aspects),
- hands-on-healing techniques whenever they seemed called for.
I’ve had varying successes, all short lived.
I also took a more rational (and sometimes irrational) approach. I explained, and explained, and yelled, and explained the “house rules,” and finally even did a “time out” or two with Melissa, all to no avail.
I reassured Melissa that we all loved her and that hitting anyone was unacceptable. She’s a brilliant cat, and I knew she understood.
Why was she continuing to hit everyone?
Hitting is different than the play she does with Starlight. Together they chase, jump on each other, wrestle, and bite and chew on each other. “Sneak attacks” are common and accepted by both. They also cuddle and sleep together every day.
When I began training in The Emotion Code™, Dr. Bradley Nelson’s amazing system for eliminating emotional blocks, Melissa was one of my first “clients.” I got some good results, but the hitting continued. Melissa heart is very defended and I have not yet removed the barrier she put there for emotional protection.
I had also purchased The Body Code™, Dr. Bradley Nelson’s advanced healing system software. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, I did some sessions using this modality with Melissa, too. It was through these sessions that I discovered something of great importance:
Melissa had a neurological disconnect.
She was unable to remember not to hit.
She KNEW hitting was unacceptable.
She just couldn’t stop herself from doing it.
She’d hit someone, and then think, “oops.”
This was new information for me.
I had this insight when I started reconnecting her neurological system.
My next insight was that Melissa had not be able to talk to me about it until I began to reconnect and realign her nervous system. Not being able to talk about it was another symptom of the problem.
It was going to take more than one Body Code™ session to completely reconnect her neurological pathways, but in the meantime I had to protect the other cats. So I asked for spiritual guidance:
What would protect the other cats while Melissa’s healing went forward?
A Family Conference
During the family conference, I explained to everyone that Melissa was having difficulty remembering not to hit.
I invited Violet, Sakhara, and Starlight to all help Melissa.
Each one agreed to remind her, from time to time, not to hit.
The change in Melissa from that moment on
After observing her behavior for a few days, I was amazed that she no longer even raised a paw to strike.
I checked in with the other felines. How frequently were they reminding Melissa not to hit them?
They said they didn’t need to remind her, as it didn’t seem to be a problem any more.
I had also observed the Melissa was unusually sweet and cuddly, more so than ever before.
When I asked her what happened, Melissa said,
I was stunned!
In the 1960’s and 70’s there were Encounter Groups where people participated in games to learn more about how they interacted with others. In one activity, everyone would form a circle holding hands, leaving just one person out, and that person had to try to get into the circle. This revealed each person’s style for getting into a social group that seems to be closed.
Was “aggression” Melissa’s way to
become a member of the group?
While I don’t have a definitive answer to my question, one thing is clear: Melissa is now transformed. She no longer hits the others, although I’ve seen a paw raised once or twice, and she’s much more affectionate towards me.
During this time on Earth, as we’re all being encouraged to become heart centered, to live from our hearts, and to connect through our hearts. Melissa is demonstrating almost daily to me the power of the heart connection.
When a cat gets outside,
I don’t run for the camera…
Sorry, everyone, but a hole in the sliding screen door and the sight of Melissa standing proudly atop one of the feral cat feeding stations did not inspire me to grab a camera.
I was much more interested in enticing Melissa back into my arms.
Fortunately, I stayed calm, kept my “cool”, and opened the sliding door.
“Come on in, Melissa,” I invited her.
Melissa, bless her heart, came right in.
DUCT TAPE TO THE RESCUE
Duct tape is amazing stuff.
Duct tape comes in designer patterns.
And you can make jewelry with duct tape.
Some folks make duct tape clothing.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the duct tape repair to the door because my morning was already out of control.
I kept moving and didn’t get to check the screen door until 90 minutes later. Someone had been working on removing the duct tape.
Sorry. You only get 2 guesses who that was, although I don’t have any proof so I’m guessing myself.
I quickly called my amazing contractor friend, Dave, who loves cats. The door needed fixing and Dave had a solution to prevent further excursions.
Dave showed up the the same day and took the screen away to refurbish it. He brought it back the next day (yesterday).
Can you see the large round circles
in the bottom area?
This allows the cats to have a breeze
without destroying the screen.
Now Starlight, Melissa, and the others can still watch the squirrels, birds, and chipmonks, and the screen is protected.
Dave offered to have the plastic go half-way up the door, but I really don’t have a Great Dane so I opted for 24 inches in height.
We’re experimenting. I’m focusing on Melissa accepting the barrier as is. I’m not focusing on what I don’t want Melissa to do. I have zero intention of giving her any ideas. Blessed be!
Veterinary Prognosis: She Won’t Survive.
Abby, Before Her Injury.
Ellie, one of my clients, called me about a dog named Abby who had been viciously attacked by another dog. The attacker had ripped open Abby’s belly and intestines. Even after major surgery, things didn’t look very good for Abby.
I was told that the veterinarian had little to no hope for Abby’s recovery.
Had Abby also heard this? And if she had, did she accept the veterinarian’s viewpoint as written in stone?
Reconstructive surgery repaired the abdominal wall and removed damages portions of Abby’s intestines, leaving Abby very weak and septic. The bowel contents that had poured into her belly had caused peritonitis. Further surgery to seal any additional leaks from her gut wasn’t an option because of how sick and weak Abby had become.
Abby’s person, Briteny, took Abby home so that they could spend time together before Abby passed.
Could this situation be turned around?
First I did an Animal Communication with Abby and Briteny. We spoke about how Abby didn’t have to accept the veterinarian’s judgment about her chances of recovery. Then I recommended that Abby be given flower essences, such as Rescue Remedy, to help her body deal with the shock and trauma she had experienced.
Finally, I did an energy healing session for Abby.
After calling on higher guidance and receiving Abby’s permission to do the healing, the healing guides and I focused on boosting Abby’s immune system by stimulating white blood cell production and activity.
All the organs involved in this process received special attention, especially her thymus gland, her spleen, and her bone marrow.
Then the focus shifted to helping the rest of Abby’s body recover from the attack. We released emotions that could create energetic blocks to healing, removed stagnant energies, cleansed and balanced her chakra system, and filling her up with the Divine Light and Love.
One of the healing teams repaired the etheric template for her physical body, which if damaged, can prevent a full recovery.
After the healing session, Abby slept deeply.
And then the miracle started to happen. Abby began to improve.
You worked with her at 5pm Thursday…according to the vet Abby wasn’t going to make it. At 6 pm Thursday, Abby got up from her bed and started eating and drinking on her own.
On Saturday, Abby was up and playing ball in the backyard.
[Today, Wednesday,] she is still eating and drinking on her own, and fighting off that infection.
The vet cannot believe it.
I know you were with her in her darkest hours. Thank you for being there in this emergency situation.
On Wednesday, Briteny wrote:
She is doing lots better. The vet cannot explain why she is still alive. She still has an infection but the vet believes it is lots better than it was. Abby has gotten a lot of her appetite back and is eating and drinking on her own. She walks around and even has gone up and down a few steps. She’s not out of the woods.
What made the difference?
Abby is a brave soul who listened carefully when I told her that she didn’t have to die just because the veterinarian was not optimistic about her situation. In addition,
Her desire to survive, combined with the energetic healing session, gave Abby the opportunity to turn things around.
The love and attention that Briteny gave Abby also played a significant role in helping Abby recover.
When I do a healing for someone, I know that what happens isn’t up to me. It’s entirely up to the human or animal who receives the energies.
By staying open to possibilities, I create a sacred space for miracles to happen.
Sometimes they do.
This isn’t what I had in mind.
But this is what I’ve got.
I am now living with 4 wonderful feline friends.
Two are elderly and consider themselves “retired.”
Two are youngsters, and they’re living it up.
Meanwhile, with Hattie gone into spirit and my yard no longer under her protection, we’re being inundated with wild critters.
- It’s been years since I’ve seen chipmonks in my yard, and now they’re running all over the place with not a care in the world.
- After years and years of the same old squirrel baffle keeping squirrels out of the bird feeders, one squirrel has figured out how to get past it. This means it had time to sit quietly and ponder the situation without a cat chasing it away.
- The mouse population inside my house feels safe, too.
Starlight’s attitude is rather like that of Tibetan Monks, whom, I’m told, are careful not to injure worms when they garden or dig a foundation for a house. She believes that it’s fine to play with a mouse, but when I ask her to kill them, she looks at me in horror.
OK. She’s clearly more spiritually advanced than I am.
Melissa thinks the mice are great fun. She thinks of them as toys that are far more interesting than anything else I’ve bought or made for her.
I hate to say this, but . . .
I NEED A CAT!
Not just any cat.
An experienced hunter who takes the job seriously.
Where can I find such a magnificent feline?
In a previous post, I shared that I had put out a telepathic call for a feline to live in and protect the yard with complete amenities. No one has shown up.
So now, I’m thinking of taking additional steps.
In pondering my options, I realize that my choices of how to proceed may be very limited. For one thing, rescue organizations expect people to keep even feral cats inside, despite that it’s mentally and emotionally stressful for them.
I don’t want a kitten. I want an experienced hunter, someone who enjoys the hunt and is good at it, likes to eat whatever he or she catches, and won’t want to become a house cat.
I don’t need any more house cats.
Maybe I should visit some local stables to see if anyone is overrun with cats that are at least semi-tame?
So, dear reader, I’m open for suggestions.
How do I find a cat who will be delighted to live outside with shelter provided, get 1 or 2 excellent meals from a can daily depending on need and the weather, enjoy fresh catnip from the front yard, and loves, loves, loves to hunt for her own food?