The Cat Shed Rule

The cat lady didn’t see her two outdoor cats. She liked to check on them in the evening.

While she liked to believe that the outdoor cats stayed in her yard all day and in the shed on the coldest days, they were free to roam wherever and whenever they wanted.

The cat lady walked around the yard calling for the feeder-friendly cat named Winter. The long-haired tabby cat loved to be petted for a few minutes in the evening. He only allowed her to pet him. Not even cat daddy could pet him.

On warm days she knew that the other outdoor cat, the orange tabby cat with the white chest named Pork Chop, went somewhere and usually returned at dusk. So she was not surprised that he wasn’t around yet.

The cat lady tried not to panic when Winter wasn’t coming to her. After all, she had seen him on the deck just a few hours before when she looked out the window.

The weather had been frigid during the several previous days. It felt too cold on those days to ask the outside cats to come out of the shed to be petted for a minute or two. Why have them come out and get cold for only a minute when they were most likely cozy in their heated cat houses?

On this unusually warm winter day, the cat lady assumed Winter would run to her, longing to be petted.

But the routine had been broken.

The cat lady stared at the shed door. The cat could be in there sleeping. But what if the cat needed help?

The cat lady made a rule years prior that opening the shed door to check for cats wasn’t a good idea unless she suspected a cat needed immediate help. Opening the door would likely scare them. And she didn’t want them to associate fear with being in the shed.

She also didn’t want them to become desensitized to the opening of the shed door because she would want them to run away for their safety if a stranger opened it.

But she thought that Winter was different. He would recognize that it was his cat lady and run for joy out of the shed to be petted.

So instead of being patient, she broke her rule. She opened the door. The fluffy tabby cat was in the shed! They locked eyes. She greeted the cat.

The cat moved out the shed, only he didn’t come to the cat lady. He slinked away with his body low and his tail down. He crept along the chain link fence while the cat lady called his name. He didn’t turn back.

The cat lady blew it. Then, a few minutes later, Pork Chop arrived. She sent with him for a half hour and then again for fifteen minutes later in the evening. But Winter, the fluffy gray and white tabby cat, wasn’t seen again until the next morning.

At breakfast, he wanted to be petted like usual. The next evening, the cat lady was patient. She didn’t open the shed.

While she talked calmly to Pork Chop, Winter maneuvered out of the shed’s back entrance, through the bushes, onto the cat lady’s lap.

And all was well on the cat lady’s deck.

Tabby Cat on Cat Lady's Lap

About This Cat Story

This is the true story of what happened the night I checked on Pork Chop and Winter on the first warm evening (warm as in above freezing) after several very cold days due to Winter Storm Elliot.

The wind chill had been below zero. Thankfully, we didn’t get much snow. I think the outdoor cats had very long days in the shed in their heated cat houses.

The top picture of Winter in the shed was taken in the summer. The picture of Winter on my lap was take recently (but not this week).

You can learn about our cat shed set up here: Using a shed as an outdoor cat shelter for multiple cats for winter.

About The Cat Story Series

I want to be a better writer. Like becoming better at anything, it takes practice. I am posting a short cat stories based on a photo, a writing prompt, a true story, or something I make up.

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Heidi Bender is the writer and founder of the Joy of Cats. She enjoys sharing cat information and providing helpful cat tips. She considers herself a cat lady and currently cares for eight cats.

2 thoughts on “The Cat Shed Rule”

  1. Outdoor cat stations are essential especially in extreme weather!
    We were fortunate to have a 12×12 prefab shed that had two windows and a door. We had a ceramic heater in there in cold weather, and a fan in summer. The original owners had insulated it, too. It was a really nice “kitten cabin” for new/recuperating cats!

    • Your shed sounds amazing! If we ever have a larger property, we will get one of the prefab sheds that’s large enough for a heater and for me to sit inside.


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