Nfld. & Labrador

'Cat condos' fur real: Wild Cove landfill cats get purr-fect home

Marlene Barnes goes the extra mile when it comes to protecting cats.

'They thinks they got 'er scalded,' Marlene Barnes

Greg Barnes (centre) lays straw inside one of the plastic fish tubs he converted into "cat condos" for feral cats at the Wild Cove landfill near Corner Brook. The straw offers extra insulation for the cats in colder temperatures. (Submitted by Leanne Barnes)

Marlene Barnes goes the extra mile when it comes to protecting cats.

She's a member of Scaredy Cats Rescue in Corner Brook, and the driving force behind the recent installation of new shelters for a dozen or so feral cats that live at the Wild Cove landfill, near the city.

Barnes calls the three shelters "cat condos" and said they are a big hit with the wild cats.

"They thinks they got 'er scalded," Barnes told the CBC's St. John's Morning Show Friday.

"We put two over there one afternoon and got them erected and the next morning there were signs the cats were actually using them."

A look at a cat condo under construction. (Submitted by Leanne Barnes)

The idea to improve the cats' living conditions came to her when she started feeding them last fall as a part of her duties with Scaredy Cats.

She immediately saw the sorry state of the shelters at the landfill at the time and wanted to find a solution.

Fish tubs get a makeover

"I seen the disrepair some of them was in and, we have harsh winters here, and I got to say I was really disturbed knowing that these animals were over there and they really didn't have the protection they required, or I felt they required," she said.

Barnes vowed then that the cats would have a better place to take shelter this coming winter.

I was really disturbed knowing that these animals were over there and they really didn't have the protection they required.- Marlene Barnes

She got the idea to use plastic insulated fish tubs after seeing discarded containers at the landfill.

Barnes decided to enlist her husband's help to modify the containers.

Each tub is tipped on its side so that the open end serves as the front wall. Her husband then built insulated panels to fill in the open end and created a porch for the cats to enter.

"The front of it is actual plywood, double plywood cause its insulated, and an area that the cats can crawl in through and keep the wind out," she said.

The modified fish tubs have a window at the back and a porch so volunteers can clean the shelters. (Submitted by Leanne Barnes)

The condos also have a front window to allow the cats to see outside and a larger swinging door that the porch is attached to so that volunteers can easily change the straw they put down inside for added insulation.

Barnes said Allen's Fisheries, Household Movers and Pafford Glass all contributed materials for the project.

Barnes is a member of the Scaredy Cat Rescue group that tries to find adoptive homes for cats like this. (Facebook/Scaredy Cat Rescue)

With files from the St. John's Morning Show

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