February 4, 2024

I’ve mentioned a few times now that I have an issue with growing plants that my cats shouldn’t have access to. This weekend I finally got around to doing something about it.

To do so, I had to think like a cat.

Cats don’t think outside the box.

In fact, to a cat, the box is the whole damn point

The Components

The goal was to isolate the cats from the plants. To do that, I needed a few things:

  • A box.
  • Something to screen holes in the box so I could look inside without allowing the cats access.
  • Something to hold that other something on the box.

And that was it.

In the end I went for a sizeable moving box (27x15x16 if memory serves) and a roll of “bird netting”, which is normally used to keep birds out of your outdoor garden. That and some tape and paperclips stolen from my office.

That’s it.


Step 1: Put Box Together

For this purpose, I’m leaving one end of the box open. In fact, since the Click & Grow can have an additional light arm added, I even taped the flaps such that they would extend the height of the box when it was flipped over. Nothing rocket-sciency about this.

Step 2: Make Holes In Box

Obviously I want to be able to see inside without moving the box, so I made a couple of holes in the front. The box is sturdy enough that this doesn’t seem to have compromised it at all. And now I have windows to look in.

One thing I’ve noticed about the Click & Grow, though, is that the lights do put out a bit of heat. I doubt it’s enough to ignite cardboard, but I’m not willing to take that chance – for one thing, what if it gets a short in it or something? This is cardboard we’re talking about; it’s all too easy to make it burn.

To that end, I cut a hole in the top of the box to ensure that heat can escape, and also to keep the cardboard away from the actual heat source. With the extra lamp arm installed, there’s about an inch of clearance. Perfect!

As a bonus, these holes also make sure we have plenty of airflow. The plants probably need that…

Step 3: Deny Kitty Access To Holes In Box

This was as simple as hanging the bird netting over the holes. I originally wanted to staple the stuff down, but it turns out that my stapler doesn’t swing open to allow me to do that. Instead I used some paperclips; just bend them into a vaguely staple-like shape, push them through the box (trapping the bird netting), and then bend them in like a staple from the inside.

Easy peasy.

And with that, there’s a nice net over the “window” so my cats can’t get in!

Step 4: ???

Step 5: Profit!

And that’s basically it. My basil is getting so huge that it was almost brushing the lights, so I decided to go ahead and add the lamp arm. I should probably cut it back (I think that’s what they recommend), but this amuses me for now.

Sometime in the next few days I’m going to plant something else.

First, though, I have to decide exactly what…