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Discussion Starter #1
In the basement. Long story short, the cats wouldn't stop waking the kids up thinking it was play time at 3am so I had to start putting them in the basement at night. I moved one litterbox down there, a water bowl and started feeding them down there. The cats don't seem to mind, it cuts down on wet food mess in my kitchen, kids stepping in their plates... yes, this has happened, no matter how out of the way I tried to put them, and I don't hear a peep out of them until they hear me go to the bathroom at 5:45am. Then I give them breakfast and leave the basement door open the rest of the day. They have been using the basement litterbox almost exclusively. The other box is still in its normal place and I still have their old water bowl in its usual place. They have comfy familiar blankets to sleep on, room to roam around, I felt like it was better than locking them in one of our tiny bathrooms at night.

I have 2 problems though. I had to put my house plants outside because I don't think some of them are cat safe, and even if they were they wouldn't leave them alone. They also have access to the crawl space, it's weird how this house is, but it's over 100 yrs old. The crawl space is really dirty and I can't really get in there to do anything about that. Maybe it doesnt matter but they get in there and come out with dirty feet and cobwebs, yuck. I might just give the plants away, not that big of a deal. But I just remembered we have a chain link dog pen in the shed. It was here when we moved in and I took it apart and put it in the shed. I am thinking about setting it up in the basement and putting a top on it to keep the cats in at night. Then they would just have to stay upstairs during the day. The basement is really only used by me, for laundry so it wouldn't matter if it looked goofy. Thoughts on this?
 

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I guess the point is, I don't want them to feel like they're in a cage, if they do they will probably cry all night and that won't work. But the dog pen is at least 6x6, maybe 8x8, and I would like to make it as homey as possible for them.
 

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Or better yet, maybe I should just get some chicken wire and close off the wall where they get into the crawl space. It's all along the top of one wall. I could close off the deep windowsill where I kept the plants too. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that. I was thinking it would be expensive to build the wall higher, but chicken wire is fairly cheap.
 

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I’ve wanted to do something like that myself. I don’t know what it is about 3AM, but they wake me up every night at that time. I tried closing my bedroom door but they stand outside the door meowing. I recently built a fenced walkway from my window that was going to go to a caged area outside, but I can only get one cat to go out.
 

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If the basement is working beside them being able to access the crawl space, why not just block the crawl space? Get a sheet of plywood or something. Surely that would be easier and kinder than keeping the cats in a a cage at night...?
 

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I was going to post about a similar problem. What is it with cats that like to get into tight spaces. My cat climbs to the top of my furnace and gets into the walls. I am worried that she is going to get stuck in there and won't be able to get out. I don't know how I would get her out. I've just been keeping the door closed so she doesn't have access but my furnace room is also my laundry room and the door gets left open periodically by someone in the family. I will be sitting in my bed and I will hear the ducts rattling away and then I will have to go get a treat to coax her out again. She probably goes in there because she knows there is a reward if she does I don't scold her because I don't ever want her to be afraid to come out.
It is just a small crack at the top of the drywall that she gets in. She uses the furnace, the water heater or the hrv to get up there so I will have to do something all the way around the room. I was thinking of nailing up some gutter guards because I have some left over in the garage.
I am going to be keeping track of this thread in case someone has some better ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I think maybe after the initial noseyness, they're pretty much leaving the crawl space alone. But I could still cover it with plywood or something. The plants, I will probably take to work. That's if they will live with just flourescent lighting. Might set up the dog pen outside and attach it to the stairway that comes out of the basement so they can go out and get some fresh air. They seem to enjoy their little apartment down there. Today I came home and the door was shut to the basement, they were both upstairs and meowing for me to let them down there. They still haven't touched the litter box on the main level in a few days. That gives me the impression they're comfortable with the basement. They still get the run of the house, except at night.
 

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By all means, block off the crawl space. Or one day the cats will bring you a surprise! Could be a mouse or a vole. And a cat in a furnace area is a disaster waiting to happen--to the furnace. Please block it off.
 

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I just wanted to make a comment about the cats using the crawlspace. Years ago I had to do some work in a house with a basement and a crawlspace. When I climbed into the crawlspace, I discovered that there was cat poop in every square foot of it. It was the most disgusting job I’ve ever done and I even got sick from breathing the dust of it all. So I would highly recommend closing it off with something and it doesn't even matter if there is a litter box nearby unless the crawlspace is rat proofed with concrete.
 

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I agree - close it off or block it somehow. My cats are like this two. I also have a laundry room/ furnace room, I originally wanted to put a litter box in there but all three of the cats were climbing all over the furnace and two of them got stuck behind the washer and it took 30 minutes to get them out. Sigh. I keep the door shut but everytime I go in there, there are 5 toys under the door.

Cats always want to get into places they arnt suppose to
 

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kty78, Agree with the other posters about putting up some kind of gate or plywood to block off access to the crawlspace.

goombella, you might be able to block off the furnace using a fireplace screen. My sister-in-law had a metal screen that went around her pot-belly stove.
 
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