One of the (many) nice things about our new apartment is our giant back porch. When we signed the lease in February it was pretty dreary out there what with the neighbors skeletal trees and a/c unit 'installation'. But we saw potential and planned to get started as soon as the weather cooperated.
As it finally began getting warmer several things about our back porch became alarmingly apparent. 1. During the daytime, it was soul melting hot. 2. Scraps was going to be a problem. At first, I was pretty sure that it would be ok for her to just run around. We are connected to 4 rooftops and I was all for giving her free rein since none of the rooftops connected to other apartments. There was really only hot, tar covered, open area for her to lord over so I wasn't too concerned about it. Tim and I decided to introduce her to her new outside territory slowly and with attentive supervision. We would take her out during the day and let her wander about, making sure the door was open so she could scoot back inside if a noise frightened her and everything was going swimmingly. Then we noticed that we were being visited at night by some stray cats. They were well cared for and not scared shitless by us or anything so we knew they had owners, but we didn't want to encourage their presence because we planned on putting up the cat door so Scraps could come and go at her leisure. Their presence also indicated that there was at least one convenient way from someone's back yard on to the rooftops, a route which would likely be discovered and reversed by my very own too-curious-for-her-own-good cat. Around this time when we took Scraps out during the daytime, she was becoming more bold, as is her custom. I guess she was smelling the stray cats and running around on the railing of the rooftops and beginning to give me heart failure. She discovered telephone poles and trees that had been installed/grown by some careless bastard a mere 5 feet away from the edge of the roof. Scraps would stretch and almost fall and sike herself out training to jump these daring distances, 2 stories up. Anyway, to make a long story short, we realized that Scraps couldn't handle not having 'boundries' and we began plotting ways to fix her wagon, so to speak.
First, we tried to increase the entertainment value of our own back porch. I bought a bird feeder and we put our plants outside and created shady nooks for her to explore and nap in. This worked for a few hours but then she was up our neighbors tree and I had to yank her out by the scruff of her neck. Next, we looked up different fences. They really come in a variety of wagon-fixing solutions-from elastic, nylon covered, spring loaded types that catapult the cat back into your own yard, to electric (tempting) although I was concerned with her retaliation if I even suggested she wear a collar. Tim had the brilliant idea that we simply squeeze her into a hamster ball, that way she could roll around but not get up any ledges. Finally, we decided to just incorporate her confinement into out gardening plans. We drew sketches and chuckled just thinking about winning. Then we measured out how much wood, fencing and other materials we would need and took a trip to the lumber yard.
Tim Jones, building me planters. What a guy.
The best tasting strawberries ever.
We decided to build pig pen type fences to create some shade, which thankfully works really well and none of our plants have caught on fire yet. In the background, you can see the chicken wire fence we put up to contain our cat and string green beans, strawberry, and cucumber plants up as they grow. After a slight hitch, it thankfully works for all these purposes. We have no stray cats, no lost cats and plenty of vines! The battle has been won. The war? Time will tell.