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Inspired by Thomas Jefferson

July 18th, 2013

You might have thought this post would be about something pertaining to the garden. While I do love Thomas Jefferson’s gardens (see my photos from my visit in these previous postsVisiting Monticello, The Vegetable Gardens of Monticello and The House and Ornamental Gardens of Monticello). This time it’s all about the pet door.
thomas jeffersons pet door 1 (1)
On the upper level of the house, there were round holes cut into the door for the cats to use for hunting mice.
thomas jeffersons pet door 2 (1)
When we decided we needed a pet door to the basement, we considered a few options. We had a conventional pet door back in Ohio, but didn’t want to put one where it would be visible. Then we thought about putting a hole through the floor in the office with a small ramp down to the basement. That seemed a little too involved.
thomas jeffersons pet door 1
Then we decided it was just more convenient to do what Thomas Jefferson did and cut a round hole in the door big enough for the cats. The cats too to it right away.
thomas jeffersons pet door 2
This door to the basement is in our dining room, clearly visible when you walk into the room. It will be a good conversation piece no doubt whenever we have someone over for dinner.
thomas jeffersons pet door 3
There were a few times each one ran into the door on the way through, but that only happened a few times in the beginning. I actually think the cats really love this door. It’s like their own little window, they love sitting on the basement steps peering up or sitting in the dining room peering down. The best part was that it was free!

Do you have anything quirky in your home that was inspired by seeing it elsewhere?

Pet Door for the Outdoor Cats

July 31st, 2010

I figured it was about time for an update on Miss Mama and Little Softie, as we call the two outdoor cats. They don’t have official names, just these nicknames. Ever since Miss Mama showed up with her little ones so long ago, we started leaving the garage door slightly up so she could come and go as she pleased. We keep some food and water in the garage for her and the kitten and we also feed her on the front porch in the mornings. We’ve been wanting to put a pet door in the garage for the cats, then they can come and go as they please and we don’t have the leave the garage door partially up. We finally got around to checking this project off our list this past week.

We decided to put the pet door under the rain barrels, then it would be protected from the weather. We though that putting it a little higher off the ground might help discourage other unwanted animals from venturing into the garage. At the moment we have 2 bales of peat moss pushed up against it to create a little table for them to use, but when they’re used to it we’ll put a little platform that they can jump up to (like the one inside above). We’re lucky that the outdoor cats are small, so we bought the smallest pet door we can find, that means an adult raccoon or skunk will not be able to get through it.

I wasn’t sure exactly how to train the cats to use it, since they’re outdoor cats. But Miss Mama was lured through with food, and Little Softie discovered by herself. Being a kitten, she thinks it’s great fun to go through it. At the moment we have the door propped open until they get used to using it, then we’ll close the door and they’ll have to learn to push through it.

This looks like it’s going to be a wonderful solution for our garage cats! I always thought pet doors were interesting, but this is the first one we’ve ever had. It’s quite nice knowing the cats will be able come and go through it whenever they want to.

Have you ever had a pet door or wanted one?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.