Kitty corner

Recently our family size has grown by two. We took two lovely cats under our roof. The first, Didi, was found by my parents from a nearby field. The second, Unikko, we picked from an animal shelter in Raahe. Didi is quite a rascal and it’s actually sometimes exhausting to satisfy a little kitten’s need of play. Now that we have Unikko, it’s his problem. :)

But anyway, to the title of the story. I searched for cat climbing trees from internet and many of the regular examples didn’t satisfy my sense of aesthetics. But I did find some nice ones also, so I built a nice looking climbing corner for the cats using my internet finds as a basis for the plan.

General view of the kitty corner. The cat on the sofa is Didi. Here you can also see a preview of the half-panels in the corner room. I’m not posting any more pictures of the room so far because the room is not quite finished yet (floors need sanding and varnishing; there’s battens missing, etc.).

Unikko is spectating at Didi’s talented climbing.

I’m clicker training the cats. Here I am guiding Didi to the top hanging cat basket using a guide stick, clicker and cat yummies. Didi is taking a shortcut.

The queen of the castle!

Some points about the construction:

The baskets were made by sawing a spiral with band saw to edge glued boards. The table was tilted about 10 degrees. The tilting of the table prohibits the spiral’s inner part falling too much. The beginning of the spiral was glued back together.

There’s a scratching post on the wall (which the cats haven’t used much yet, unfortunately –  the stuffing between the logs is much more interesting!). It was made by sawing many closely separated grooves to a board with a table saw.

The stairs cat be adjusted to a variable angle.


Turtle happiness

Our turtles had a nice summer. This pond was built last year and this was the first full summer there :) In case you’re wondering why they have those bows reason is: we couldn’t find them otherwise. Even though the pond is not that big (about 8 meters long) they have plenty of hiding places there!


Good bye, Tanttu

There is something sad that happened. Tanttu, our beautiful turtle died. That put off things a bit. We made a nice coffin of 100-year-old wood and a gravestone with copper plate on it. She was 20 years old. We noticed one day that she was breathing heavily. Only one week later it was over. She had liver fattening. We have begun to feed the others less and we’re trying to offer them more vegetables.




Tinttu Climbed the Mnt. Clothes

Things are a bit crowded at my present living place. I live at my parent’s, actually it is a small cabin next to my parent’s house.  I work the days at the school. I’m determined to make it faster now. In the evenings I’m too tired to do anything – at least clean the place, writing the blog is ok. The turtles don’t mind it though. At least they don’t complain about it. They live in the bathroom. Sometimes they even seem to enjoy all the messyness. They’ve got all kinds of things they can climb on – they love climbing on things. Shoes, bags, logs, you name it.

But Tinttu really made it. My wife suddenly screamed: “What the….?! How did you get there?!” Look at that turtle:

Tinttu climbing Tinttu climbing

Turtles. They are at least 210 million years old (at least older fossiles have not been found yet). That’s almost half of the time there’s been animals on Earth, even simple kind. They are approximately as old as crocodiles and sharks and they haven’t changed much during that whole time. They existed before the dinosaurs. Actually they were the first dinosaurs. The apes that stood on their hind legs and evolved into modern humans some 100,000 years ago lived about 10 million years ago. 10 million years is only about 2% of the time there’s been fauna on Earth.

There are tortoises who never drink and can survive months in blazing hot deserts without eating. There are turtles whose blood doesn’t freeze until it reaches a few subzero degrees and still they survive if half of their bodily fluids freeze. There are tortoises who are the slowest creatures on the Earth, but there are also turtles who have the fastest reflexes on the planet – one species is recorded to have caught it’s prey in 1/100th of a second. There are turtles who scour the seven seas and log hundreds of thousands of kilometers during their lifetime. The oldest of tortoises – who knows. One individual in Calcutta’s zoo was said to have been 250 years old when it died. I heard the oldest tortoise of all times lived in a French military fort – don’t remember the age. It didn’t die in old age – but because of an accident. Poor old lad had poor eyes and fell into a trench breaking his neck. These are the most wonderful and amazing creatures on the planet. Now that we are experiencing a mass extinction of species thanks to humans, it is my belief that if the turtles are lost, everything is lost.

Tinttu may be the future of turtles – a mountain turtle. She’s got very, very sharp nails and she loves using them. I’ve experienced that quite often. One more look at the route she took climbing the Mount Clothes (as a red line):

The Route



Turtle tank filter

Today there’s a lot of posts of what I’ve made. :) I made a filter for our turtles’ tank. The previous filter, Sacem Marathon 2000 quit the job with a motor meltdown. That one circled 2000 l/h, but I wanted even more efficient filter and more filter material, because, you know, four turtles produce a lot of shit.

So I planned making a wet-dry sump filter. In this kind of filter, the water flows through an overflow box to a sump, which is on the floor (or lower than the water level in the tank anyway). There’s filter material in the sump. From the sump the water is pumped back to the tank.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the overflow box I made:

Overflow box 1

Overflow box 2

 Just type overflow box on google to get more information about their principle, if you don’t understand it from the pictures. This piece doesn’t look expensive, but actually cost me about 40 euros! The most expensive part was the clear pipe (25 e for a short stump) and pipe angles (about 6 euros each). I tried to make the overflow pipe of garden hose first, but this didn’t give enough flow. Those boxes are just breakfast serial containers. The piping going down to the sump was “borrowed” from my parent’s garage. They have piles of piping stuff (they used to be in that business).

The sump is made of a couple of storage boxes (with wheels under – WHOAAA! :)). Two of them just in case one of them leaks. The filter material is put in smaller storage boxes on whome I drilled lots of holes on the cover and bottom. The hose from the pump to the tank is supported right over the surface of the tank’s water, so that if there’s power cut or the pump breaks, the return hose won’t suck the tank empty. Here’s a picture:


Here’s the whole tank (I made that one too myself):


The turtles also have a ramp so they can walk on the floor any time they want. Usually they don’t, so we take them out of the tank every day for an hour or so and block the ramp so that they can’t climb right back. Basically only time they come on the floor voluntarily is when they are having eggs and they are looking for a place to dig them. Then they try to dig holes through the floor. If they do this in the summer, they can dig their eggs outside. In the winter the situation is more problematic. We have a big box full or dirt. Sometimes they dig their eggs there, sometimes not…

There’s also a level at the back of the tank where they can warm up under regular glow bulbs and a UV lamp.

Happy turtle – I hope: