Happy Halloween with Handmade Bow Tie Cat Collars

These halloween bow ties are sure to bring a little bit of hocus pocus to your bat-cats. First of all you’ll find googly-eyed spiders on a bright halloween orange!

Halloween cat bow tie in orange and black spiders

Itsy bitsy halloween spiders!

Or how about a stripey number for any feline fashionistas out there! This one comes with a little pumpkin charm.

Halloween black and orange striped bow tie and cat collar

Halloween Stripes!

This ghastly green looks lovely on Lyla-cat for the creepiest (and crawliest) time of the year!

Green halloween cat bow tie

Green for Halloween!

And last but not least, this orange bow tie has a sneaky spider lurking in there!

Orange halloween bow tie cat collar with spider

Polka dots with a sneaky spider!

Fancy dress is for the whole family after all!

Hope you like the pictures – if you’d like one for your own yowling, prowling Halloween cat – pop over to my Etsy shop.

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

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Homemade Catio – Outdoor Cat Enclosure

We’ve finally completed our DIY outdoor cat enclosure – or cat patio – or catio for short!… This followed many long nights of research, walking our cats around on cat leads and LOTS of meowing at the patio doors to go outside and a bit of elbow grease…

Catio drainpipe solution

Patio with spinning drainpipe enclosure… spot the two cats!

For Lyla and Boop, this is a way of getting sunshine and fresh air but at no risk from busy roads, noisy neighbourhood foxes, eating things they shouldn’t or getting stuck in trees (I’m looking at you, Lyla!). The pros and cons are endless but we’re happy with the compromise we’ve made for them both – and they seem happy too.

Outside cats in catio

Lyla and Boop – outdoors!

We have a small garden (7m x 5m) which we’ve recently had patioed (goodbye lawnmowers) with standard 6 feet fences and a car port bordering our property. After painting the fences and assembling and painting the shed – we were ready to go!  First of all I fixed some bamboo screening against the car port fence for privacy and also to stop them escaping that way.

outdoor cat enclosure bamboo fencing

Carport Bamboo Fencing

Then we set about installing the cat enclosure drainpipe ‘system’. I’ll be honest. We weren’t 100% sure if it would work… but we really wanted to give this a go rather than just using brackets and metres of overhanging wire mesh – which we were worried would look a little bit prisony.

Whole Catio View

Catio Panorama

Here are the materials we used (incase you were interested!)

  • Electric screwdriver – make sure to drill into the horizontal fence post
  • Screws – choose the right length so that they don’t go through to your neighbours’ side if you have a shared fence!
  • Saw to cut drainpipes to size
  • Staple Gun
  • Steel Threaded Rods – small enough to go through the bracket holes – these don’t go all the way through the drainpipe
  • Drainpipes – we chose brown ones in the hope they’d blend with the paint!
  • Brackets – already twisted so you just need to bend them to your desired angle. Once they’re screwed to the fence you can still bend them slightly to the right position.
  • Hex Nuts – placed on either side to keep the rod firmly in place
  • Wire Mesh – we opted for the PVC coated mesh to last longer and to reinforce weak spots on the perimeter using the staple gun
Outdoor cat enclosure double rollers

Double Rollers for Extra Security

The basic idea is that the drainpipes rest on steel rods so that if the cats try to jump up, they’ll spin. I wish I’d recorded Lyla and Boop’s attempts to escape but after those first few occasions, they haven’t even tried again! We haven’t had any problems with other cats either as they seem a bit put off having to jump over the piping.

Wire Mesh Cat Enclosure

Using Mesh on the Weak Spots

We opted to go with double rollers as the twisted strap has more than enough space to hang both. It means the lower one can be pushed closer to the fence so the cats can’t get under the first drainpipe, or over the second drainpipe. This is a trial and error thing and very much depends on how much of a houdini your cat would be!

Catio weak spots

Plants and wire mesh in Corners!

We’ve had to put all of our garden furniture in the middle of the garden as otherwise they could use them as platforms to leap over the fence. And I’ve put a few plants around the corners to lure them away from weak spots! In time I’ll make them some outdoor cat toys but for now, this is where Boop likes to spend his time…

Silly Boop

Where’s Boop?

And because I’m a softy, I bought a little cat maisonette for our Lyla so she can even sit outside in the rain.

Shade for Catio

Cat Maisionette

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions, ask!

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

A summer vaCATion with Whitburn Whiskers!

Off on holiday? Well, leaving your cats at home with a cat sitter means they can be too. Here are a few of the happy (and sometimes a bit hot and flustered) cats I’ve looked after this summer so far in sunny South Shields and Sunderland!

Cat prowling outside

Mishka on the prowl

Cats whiskers outside

Saffy’s whiskers are twitching

Black cat rolling around in the sunshine

Boltzy cat rolling around

Cat in the summer

Gizmo pretending to be asleep

Cat rolling in the sun

Neo in a playful mood

cat sat in the sun

Mac-attack

Silly cat in the sun

Widget fully stretched out in the sun!

Cat too hot in the sun

Too much sun for fluffy Leo!

Missy cat in the sunshine

Missy posing next to plantpots

Cat in the sunshine and grass

Lily in the long grass

Cat playing outside

Miss Tinkle Puss playing in the sun

If you liked these pictures – have a look at Silly Cats Sticking Their Tongues Out and 13 Photos of Black Cats for Halloween!

Enjoy the summer : )

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

How to Make Homemade DIY Cat Shelves

Some of the cat activity centres my customers have for their feline friends are amazing! There are some really creative and stylish ways of making the life of an indoor cat more interesting and now we’re settled in our new home we’ve been looking at something for Lyla and Boop (especially as they’re grounded until we can catio our back garden!).

We didn’t really have the space for a ceiling-high cat tree and found them to be quite pricey too. We also wanted something a bit more permanent – and fancied the challenge! So Mr Whiskers and I decided to set about making our own DIY cat shelves. Ta da!

Wall of cat shelves

Cat shelves leading up to the top of the bookcase

We chose a corner of our living room that looks out into the garden and gets the most sun, drawing a rough sketch of what we wanted. The shelves were built just above the sofa so our cats can jump off the sofa arms onto the first shelves. Because Lyla spent a year in a cage before we rescued her, she has a bit of trouble jumping sideways – but up is fine. So the most important thing is making sure the shelves were close enough together so she wouldn’t be too scared to try! We also needed the shelves to be quite wide so that if they wanted to turn around they wouldn’t fall off or get stuck (like Boop does on our mantelpiece). We wanted the cushiony parts of the shelves to be removable for easy cleaning and above all – be a really easy project to do – so no priming, undercoats or paint needed!

Cats sitting on shelves

Loving their cat shelves!

So first of all – the materials! This is what we used;

  • Big pine shelf boards that can be cut into the sizes you want
  • MDF strips to support the shelves
  • Wood bead 15mmx18mm which is found in the “decorative mouldings” section (e.g.)
  • Carpet off-cuts
  • Cotton fabric (big enough to cover the bottom of our shelves and wrap round the sides)
  • Wall brackets, screws & plugs
  • Corner braces
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Junior hacksaw
  • Saw
  • Staple Gun
  • Scissors
  • Stanley knife
  • Superglue or wood adhesive
  • Pen, pencil, ruler & a rubber (if you’re anything like me for mistakes and changing your mind!)
Cat shelves for indoor cats

Boop playing with his pom pom

From the big pine shelf board we measured out four separate shelves then used a general handsaw to cut them to size.

DIY cat shelves

Leaving the wood bead to dry – we had to cut a fiddly corner piece to fit around some pipes

The strips of wood bead are used to create a raised edge or lip on your shelves (to save a few pennies we only put wood beading around the edges that weren’t attached to the wall). Using a junior hacksaw to cut the right sizes, we then just glued these strips to the shelves using a wood adhesive although superglue would work too.

DIY cat shelves

It doesn’t have to be neat, does it?!

Once the strips were fully attached and the glue had dried we got out our pieces of material and cut them to size. Using the staple gun we attached the material snugly so that it covered the bottom side of the shelf and wrapped round the sides, as neatly as we could! We weren’t too worried about what it looked like on the top of the shelf, as that section will have removable squares of carpet covering the untidy bits. The carpet pieces can easily be removed for cleaning but give the cats something comfortable to sit on, and grip onto while jumping. No sandpaper, primer, undercoat, paint or varnish needed! Hurray!

DIY cat shelf

Carpet et voila!

When cutting the carpet to size, we found using a marker pen on the reverse side and cutting using Stanley the knife worked well.

Cats using cat shelves

Playing follow the leader

Once all the four shelves had been made, we marked where we wanted them to be on the wall so they would lead to the top of the bookcase and have even gaps between them. We used our drill to make holes big enough for the plugs to go in to protect the wall, then popped the bracket on, and used a screwdriver to tighten the screws in. We also used a few pieces of MDF we had lying around to support the corner brackets as they’ll receive the most pounce from our two cats. We also used corner braces to secure these tightly.

Cat activity for indoor cats

Boop watching the birds outside

We thought the cats might be a bit nervous at first, so we left them to figure the shelves out themselves in their own time… and nothing! No interest at all! So we grew impatient, used a bit of treat bribery and with one shake of the dreamies bag – Boop had climbed to the top of the bookcase in seconds. Lyla was a little bit more wary, as we knew she would be. She tends to think that new things are suspicious traps but she was too curious to resist… and when we came downstairs yesterday morning they were both sitting on separate shelves – looking out for breakfast!!

So what do you think??

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Cat shelves

Our new view from the sofa under the shelves!

Mobile Cattery for Sunderland and South Shields

Last year I asked whether or not pet owners would prefer to use a cattery or a cat sitter and the comments were overwhelming – a cat sitter! Or as one commenter said, a mobile cattery (I like that phrase!). A lot of people said that if they couldn’t ask for help from someone they knew, then they’d really need to rely on recommendations.

As a lot of my new customers say that they’re really reassured by my testimonials page when choosing to get in touch with me, I thought I’d have a look at their most important reasons for using Whitburn Whiskers for their pet sitting services!

  • “They were looked after by somebody who really cares about cats which meant a lot to us and provided us with peace of mind”.
  • “Basic things like checking lights and blinds/curtains are often overlooked by other petsitters, but Rachel ensured our house was perfectly safe awaiting our return”.
  • “We received regular updates and photographs of our puddy cats eating, sleeping, having cuddles & strokes, being pampered and…. basically being thoroughly spoilt in the comfort of their own home!
cat south shields

Cat Sitting Playtime

  • “Thanks to the antisocial cat taming powers of Rachel and co at Whitburn Whiskers… she is not the most sociable of cats but you obviously won her over!”
  • “Our boys have had the right kind of care and companionship in a familiar environment with their preferred diet”.
  • “This is the first time that I have ever entrusted their care to anyone other than family members. It’s hard to hand over this responsibility to someone when the objects mean so much to you personally. But I could have sworn that when we arrived back home that both cats were looking over my shoulder for you to give them a quick cuddle”.
Cat sitting in south shields

Mobile Cattery Services

  • “We wouldn’t consider anyone else now as Rachel knows Inky and Gilbert really well, and vice versa”.
  • “They were both happy and totally chilled out when I came back (as if I hadn’t been away!)”.
  • “I’m very impressed by the interest you show in each pet’s little foibles and personality”.
  • “Pet lover first, pet sitter second”.
Cat sitting services south shields

Happy at Home

I always come round to meet new customers and their furry friends, free of charge, so we can all get to know each other and I can get all the information I need to look after your pets while you’re away. Whether that be… Fluffy will only drink out of a pint glass underneath my bed… or this is Bagpuss’ favourite toy that he likes to play fetch with… or if you can’t find Tom then he’s probably tunnelled under the duvet and made himself a nest – I’ll get to know them all : )

So if you’re going on holiday, then please think of choosing Whitburn Whiskers’ pet services for Sunderland and South Shields.

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Christmas Cat Bow Ties

Bow tie cat collars are the perfect Christmas present for your furriest friend (Lyla-cat says so!). These four designs are all attached to a handmade, adjustable safety collar which makes sure your kitty is kept out of danger. The bow ties themselves are made out of a lightweight cotton, so as to not wear down your little Christmas cats, so please have a peek.

*1* Snowman Bow Tie Cat Collar

Jolly snowmen with button noses and eyes made from coal, tumble against a merry red cotton fabric! A swinging snowman is dangling from this collar. (click here to buy)

Christmas cat collar

*2* Christmas Tree Bow Tie

These Christmas trees have a special pink star on top – a very merry pattern for the holidays! And to spruce up the collar; a dangling Christmas tree charm! (click here to buy)

Christmas bow tie cat collar

*3* Christmas Holly Bow Tie Cat Collar

For the traditional cat, this holly bow tie is purrfect. The customary green leaves and merry red berries have a lovely gold trim with a holly leaf swinging from a split ring. (click here to buy)

Christmas holly bow tie cat collar

*4* Gingerbread Man Bow Tie Cat Collar

The cookie dough bow tie features little gingerbread men and tumbling green and red candy canes. Dangling from a split ring, Santa’s stocking is full of presents in this cute little charm. (click here to buy)

Cat Collar christmas gingerbread man

And Whiskers Boutique has gone international – this month, bow ties are winging their way to America, Australia and Sweden – so happy holidays, happy Christmas and god jul!

Handmade bow tie cat collars are available to buy from my Etsy shop.

Happy Christmas shopping!

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Silly Cats Sticking Their Tongues Out

I get to meet some of the nicest little cats you could ever hope to spend time with being a cat sitter. While their owners are away I send them pictures – so they know they’re not the only ones having a holiday! Playing, having cuddles or eating… or in the case of these funny cats – sticking their tongues out!

Grey and white tabby sticking her tongue out
Miss Tinkle Puss having an outside bath
Black cat sticking it's tongue out
Lama having a lazy roll around
Black cat tongue sticking out
Lovely Molly sticking her tongue out at you!
Miley Cyrus cat tongue
Hello Thomas-cat!
Happiest cat ever sticking her tongue out
Missy LOVES this stick!
Black and white moggy yawning
Fizz having a yawn or a lick?
Tabby cat licks her nose
Molly can lick her nose with her tongue… show off!
White cat yawning
Rapunzel yawwwwwwnnnning 🙂
Cat licking face eating fly
Bret eating al fresco
Lovely tortoiseshell cat tongue out
Sapphire is a cheeky little thing!
Persian cat yawn
and finally… ROooooARRRRrrrRRRrrr!!! (says Oliver)

So which is your favourite? (I love them all!)

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)