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How to Create a Cheesebox

Here is another guide for you, leading us into the ninth week of the 10 week celebration of Hurm.com's 10 Year anniversary! This guide is mostly for pet owners, but maybe non-pet owners will find something valuable in what we'll be creating.

There is a dog (Hero), a cat (Dante), and a kitten (Henry) living in my house. The dog wants to eat the cat's and kitten's food, the cat wants to eat the kitten's food, and the kitten doesn't want to starve to death. I needed a way to let the smaller pets not be bullied out of their food by the larger pets. A friend suggested putting the food in a box that only the smaller pet could enter. I thought this was a great idea. I'm no carpenter, and I don't have many tools, but I eventually built two of boxes of this sort. I call my design the cheesebox, and here is a guide on how you can create your own cheesebox.

Before you start, you'll need the following items:

  • a jigsawdrill
  • screwdriver
  • two boards, each of them .5" deep, 24" wide, and at least 48" long
  • 8 braces with screws
  • 2 hinges with screws
  • 1 handle with screw(s)
  • A bunch of small circular felt stickers
  • 4 nail-on circular rubber "feet."

Once you have your supplies, you can start building your cheesebox:

  1. Start with the two boards. The image here shows how to cut up each board. You'll end up with what I'll call the front wall, the back wall, the left wall, the right wall, and the roof. The dashed lines show the optional door—you only need to cut one door, but make sure it's to one side of the cheesebox, and not in the middle. If you put the door in the middle (or make doors on both ends), then the larger pet(s) can reach inside and get the food. (In the end, the doorway will be on one side and the food will be to the opposite side.) A door 4" wide seems to be good for a normal sized cat, 2" wide is good for a kitten, and 6" was necessary for our heavier cat.

    image: two boards with cuts

  2. Figuring out how to best cut out the windows took a little thinking. Halfway through my second cheesebox, I settled into drilling a hole in two opposite corners of each window area, then cutting along the future-window's edge as shown here in this image. The windows are important in providing light within the cheesebox, but our kitten also loves climbing in and out of them.

    image: cutting the window holes

  3. Attach the walls together. The image below is a top view. The red "L" shapes are the braces. The red squares show where the hinges need to be.

    image: assembling the walls

  4. Next, attach the roof. This image is another top view, showing how the roof sits on the top of the cheesebox.

    image: attaching the roof

  5. This next image shows the back of the cheesebox, with the red bits showing where the hinges and braces are placed. By the way: No, there is no floor in a cheesebox. This makes it easy to clean up any spillage from sloppy eaters—just pick up the box and sweep things up.

    image: back of the cheesebox

  6. Finish off the roof with the handle of your choice. I also put a bunch of felt dots around the inside of the roof to soften the noise from each time the roof was closed.

  7. Originally, I nailed four plastic feet to the bottom of the cheesebox. Unfortunately, this allowed the first cheesebox to be slid along the kitchen's linoleum floor by a large, hungry pet, revealing bits of food left behind from a sloppy eater. Later on, I switched from plastic to rubber feet, and things have worked out much better.

  8. Finish off the roof with the handle of your choice. I also put a bunch of felt dots around the inside of the roof to soften the noise from each time the roof was closed.

  9. Decorate to match your decor. (I've painted one of mine, but lately I've been thinking adding on bits of carpet might be spiffy.)

And that's how you build a cheesebox! As I mentioned, I have built two so far. The picture below shows both of them, side by side in their natural environment. The painted one is the original. The holes in the roof were added months after the original creation. Its first owner was Chet, who was a normal-sized cat, but later on the 4" door had to be widened because Dante the cat was too large to get through a normal opening. (The name "cheesebox" is a play on one of Chet's nicknames: Chester Cheddarhead.) The unpainted one was created for Henry the kitten—notice the doorway on the far side of the front wall.

image: back of the cheesebox

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Jonathan commented at 3:49 PM on September 26, 2007:

This is just great. Absolutely fantastic. Would I for just 10% of your genius....

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