Last summer we spotted this scrawny, half-starved kitten, maybe four or five months old, hunting on our property. We live in the country so there is lots of room for animals to roam but I guess eventually curiosity got the better of this cat because she started circling closer to the house.

Since she was wild and had no social graces, we assumed it was a neighbour’s barn cat. Humans were viewed by her with suspicion and she was always on the alert for danger. For the first couple of weeks, she would run away the minute we appeared on the scene. Food was placed on our front porch with the hope that maybe we could at least put a little meat on her bones. Over the weeks and into the fall, Kitty, that’s what we called her, grew to trust us and although she was always keenly aware of her surroundings, she would tolerate us watching her eat. Eventually, she let us pet her and before we knew it, she was demanding her belly rubbed and her ears scratched. She had come a long way.

Making her an inside cat was not an option as our two-year-old cat, Missy had a hissy fit every time she spotted Kitty from the window. Ben, on the other hand, a fourteen-year-old grandpa cat, just didn’t have the energy to get worked up over this possible intruder. But the verdict was in. Kitty would have to live outside.

As time went on, we became concerned about how this cat would survive when colder weather arrived. The solution to this dilemma was that Kitty needed her own house. Now the price of real estate has sky rocketed in the past couple of years so it came as no surprise to us when we looked at the cost of pet houses on Amazon. An online tour was conducted and since there were no suitable cat houses on the market, we decided to upgrade to a dog house.

A Giantex plastic dog house 34” x 30” x 32” was located which would fit a 50-pound dog. Chuck has always believed that buying the top of the line is the way to go, so there was no hesitation or quibbling over the asking price on his part. The house was purchased with a closing date within two days according to Prime delivery. I made the comment to Chuck that this was a perfect ‘castle’ for our little five-pound cat. In fact, she could even accommodate her entire extended family in it, if she wished. No response was made.

Now this dog house had many built-in comforts. An elevated floor designed to prevent water flowing into the house, a ventilated design to stabilize temperatures, deluxe construction and the list went on and on. The dog house arrived as per schedule in a nice flat 36” x 32” x 8” high box. Assembly required. The accompanying manual stated that one person could put this house together in 30 minutes.

Being very wise and having learned from past experiences, I disappeared while Chuck took on the task of constructing Miss Kitty’s residence. After an hour, a very frustrated and irritable Chuck appeared by my side. “What idiots write these instructions?” he demanded. (Note: his language was far more colourful than this.) But I have to come to Chuck’s defence here. The guide was written by idiots. One hour later, two people had finally completed the project.

However, in Chuck’s view, a few adjustments and additions needed to be done for the place to be habitable for his little cat. Concerned for her safety, he made the entrance way smaller. A wooden shelf or as Chuck calls it, a “loft” was attached to one inside wall on the off chance that Kitty might want to view the world from a higher vantage spot. Finally, a carpet was installed. This place was fit for the most famous of cats. But Kitty was not impressed. She never ever set foot inside her mansion.

We never knew where she went at night, only that she would be back in the morning demanding her food and her pets. By now she was calling the shots. One morning she did not appear as usual. We were quite worried about her and realized that she had become part of our family whether we wanted to admit it or not. The next evening Chuck opened our garage doors and out walked Kitty. Somehow, she had been locked in for two days.

She has now taken up residence in our garage, totally her decision. Sleeping arrangements vary from a box full of straw to a cozy place on the tractor seat. Food, water and a litter box are at her disposal. A heater has been supplied for her comfort. Depending on the weather and the temperature, the door is opened daily and Kitty is free to wander. She is usually back within an hour. I smile when I see her follow Chuck around like a little dog, accompanying him to the mailbox or going to the machine house with him. This little feline has brought so much joy into our lives.

I truly think Kitty has the best of all worlds. Her physical needs are taken care of. A trip to the vet’s in the near future will fulfill her medical requirements. Emotional and social needs are met by two doting old seniors and she still has her freedom to come and go as she pleases. That sounds like a pretty good life to me.