Back on the Butterfly, Reprise

four cats in front of furnace vent
Back on the Butterfly

The other day when I ran the first image of my cats sleeping on the butterfly rug in front of the heater vent, I was remembering this image from this day last year, October 6, 2010. There you see three of the black cats with little, little Peaches, Giuseppe to the left, Jelly Bean to the right and Mr. Sunshine next to him. They LOVED their little big sister in a way I was glad for since I think it added to Peaches’ last years, but Giuseppe especially escorted Peaches around the house, the two of them so sweet in their May-December relationship, he 3 and she 20.

The furnace came on the first time this season on Sunday night, and Peaches wandered into my office and sat in front of the furnace vent at the foot of the stairs, her favorite sleeping spot. In honor of the occasion I unpacked the cleaned and rested butterfly rug for her comfort.

Just as if the heating season had never ended last spring, the boys all gravitated toward it and joined Peaches while she tucked herself in between them. Giuseppe and Jelly Bean gave her a few licks and purred, but mostly they just transferred warmth and youthful energy. I swear it’s what keeps her going so well.

I just have to leap over them to get to the steps, but what’s a little inconvenience for the comfort of up to six cats?

One caution if your cats sleep around heating sources such as furnace vents, wood stoves or cooking stoves—make sure they don’t press against any heat-producing source. Cats are heat seekers, but they can easily burn through their fur down to their skin if they curl up against a standard furnace vent, the legs or other parts of some wood stoves, especially older ones, fireplace apparatus like screens or andirons while the fire is burning, some radiators or even an old-fashioned gas stove top with the pilot underneath. You’d think they’d know they were burning themselves, but haven’t you ever burned yourself on the stove or on a grill and not immediately known it?

This vent is intended for high-traffic areas and is an alloy coated with Teflon. It doesn’t hold enough heat to burn skin or fur while the furnace is blowing hot air unless the furnace goes above 85 degrees (mine never sees 70). I tested it with my own hand.

I have all my other vents, which are basic painted metal and can’t be replaced because of their size and placement, surrounded with a wire cage—nothing fancy, I made it out of vinyl-coated fencing held far enough away from the vent that the wire or vinyl can’t build up enough heat on the outside of the cage. Most newer wood stoves or other burners have protective barriers on legs and parts around the bottom, but the fireplace and stove are still an issue requiring care. I actually had a cat who slept on the stove top over the pilot, and I had to layer cookie sheets over it so he wasn’t directly in contact with the hot metal where he repeatedly re-burned his front leg.

Happy cuddle season!

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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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