A Breathless Cat Fence Update! PART III

Since my last update a week ago, donations to Fence The Cats have continued to come in!

This all began when I did a post detailing the reasons why, after five years, I still cannot move into the Cross House. Most of these issues have been resolved during the last five years, but the last issue is proving intractable: The cat fence.

The fence is VITAL as the house abuts a highway!

My funds are, and always have been, limited. And because what funds I do have are earmarked to complete the south facade in 2018 (part of the Heritage Grant work), the cat fence will just have to…wait.

So, I thought I was stuck.

Then wondrous things started happening!

I was amazed and joyous that, because Tinker the cat unexpectedly sent money to help fence my cats at the Cross House, other cats (and some humans) were inspired to help, too!




I then did a post introducing my feline family.

Since Tinker’s “unauthorized” donation, the following has been received these past three weeks:



These donations came in via Go Fund Me:

Kitties Max & Gus. We kitties need out proper spaces. Please use this towards the cat fence — or house funds as best suits. Thanks for making the world a better place! Max & Gus

Kara Hudson. History and kitties. 🙂

Jackie Steele. I’m never going to get to live at the Cross House, but I can help you and your kitties get under that roof sooner!

Sheryl Gruhler. I’m a crazy cat lady also. I have 3 and adore them!

Sarah Whillock. I’m more of a dog person than a cat person, but all furry things have a special place in my heart. You sir, are a saint for taking in so many helpless little ones.

Derek Walvoord. Keep up the good work!

Amanda Hodson. From Gypsy, the mustached kitty.

Stephanie Sullivan.

Mary Beth Seith. Our household kitties wanted to contribute to the fence to help get that amazing clowder to their new home safely!

Linda Brandt. Specially for you cat fence, I would love to see you move into the house

Dan Goodall-Williams.

Mary Bercik. MEOW!!! Build that fence and install a computer somehow so we kitties can watch Randy Rainbow YouTube videos to keep us sane during this administration’s continuing reign.

Tinker. Dear Ross, Don’t tell Patricia I took this out of her wallet. I’m sending it for the cat fence. Love, Tinker

Judy Edie.

Lee Ann Antes. I donated because I love old homes and admire those who restore them to their former glory! Wishing you well!

Roger Heineken. This Squires-designed house demands restoration/preservation and Ross is THE man for the job.

Week total: $985!




These donations came in via Go Fund Me:

Brendan Denehy

MaryCarol Smith

Sara Bruckmeier. for the Cross house and the kitties – to be used at Ross’ discretion

Bob Murray. Ross, the work you are doing is amazing. I’ll leave it to your discretion as to how the money is used. Kitties, house, pond…as you see fit.

Shannon Gigerich. CATS!

Marie Marshall. Your love and respect for the history of this house and the animals you encounter is inspiring. Half for the house, and half for the kitties!

Juan Vasquez. Kitties.

Tracy Weltha. For the fence, from Mac & Vector, your kitty neighbors at IM Design Group

These contribution brought in another $615!

Note: IM Design Group designed this blog.


And these donations via the mail:

Matt & Erika: We have 5 cats, all of which are rescues, Your stories and generosity bring an occasional tears and many smile stop our faces.

Kim Harvey. My husband says build the wall and make the cats pay for it!

These contribution brought in another $600!

Week total: $1,215

Grand total: $2,200!




This part week, these donations came in:

Tiffaney Williams: Kitty fence!

MaryCarol Smith. For the kitty fence!

Miranda Marti. It’s National Cat Day

Sherrie Harding. For the love of cats and stained glass!

Karen Spencer. For kitties and koi. Wish I could send more. I have an little old dog and a 95 year-old house that both need work! You go Ross! You are an inspiration. Greetings from New York!

Ashley Fraser. For letting us old house lovers all live vicariously through you ❤️

Melissa Obrock. Dear Ross, I don’t recall how I found your blog, but I have been quietly reading for years, and have read every post (even – ESPECIALLY! – the political ones). In December of 2016, on our way home to Chicago after visiting family in Wichita, my family made a slight detour through Emporia. We only make the drive to Kansas once every other year, so I was determined to see the Cross House’s exterior in person while we were “in the area”! As we approached the Cross House, I NEVER intended to bother you, but when I saw you outside working I was compelled to shake your hand and simply say thank you for the many, many hours of entertaining reading you have given me. And you were amazing. Despite my apologies for interrupting your work, and my attempts to decline your offer of a tour, we ended up spending half an hour with you, taking a magical tour that my two kids (now 10 and 8) talk about to this day. They were entranced in a way that I could never have predicted, and I have so many fond memories of our brief visit – though I’ve always felt naggingly guilty that we crashed your private space in a way that I never intended to. My family talked about your restoration work a lot on the remainder of our drive home, and I told my husband I intended to write you a thank you note and send periodic thank you gifts to your go fund me account. And then my father died, very unexpectedly, and I lost track of most things for most of 2017. At some point, I remember reading, with much excitement, your blog post about scheduling paid tours for curious visitors and have since then meant to send you a belated payment for our surprise visit. And being the scatterbrain that I am, it’s been ages but I haven’t forgotten. And now, your cat fence is what is preventing you from moving into your beautiful Cross House. As a lover of cats (all of whom have been rescues), an employee at a zoo, and someone who wants you to finally get into that house, I am THRILLED to send you this contribution. I plan to send additional gifts here and there, as my distracted brain will allow. And if we end up back in Wichita, you can be certain that I will schedule and pay for my tour well in advance 🙂 During our tour, you asked me to comment on the blog to occasionally say hello, and I most certainly haven’t made that happen. But I am religiously reading, and am in awe of all that you have accomplished. I’m applying the “better late than never” principle to this much delayed note of thanks, and hope you’ll forgive both my initial interruption of your day and my rudeness in not thanking you in a timely manner. Much appreciation, Melissa, Sean, Miles, Elanor (humans), plus Winslow and Frodo (kitties) of Chicago.

Rhonda Gildersleeve. Looking forward to this part of your Cross House plan come to fruition and can’t wait for the “Kitties Invade the Cross House” post!

Gail Allison. Fence for the kitties! I look forward to the day you can make the Cross House your home.

These contribution brought in another $390


And these donations via the mail:

Kari Steph: Hi Ross! I found your blog earlier this year and spent days (perhaps weeks) reading through every single post. I love what you are doing for the Cross House and I am amazed at your fortitude. I think I might have collapsed into a sobbing heap by now. Anyway, I saw your post about the cat fence and wanted to help a little bit. I volunteer for a small cat rescue and I also have 7 indoor cats of my own (which I am happy to see does not qualify me as a crazy cat lady!),so I understand the issue. I hope you get to move in soon!

Ryan and Vickie Scroggin, and kitties Charlie and Baxter. Take care of the kitties!

Christine (CJ) Milakovic. Dear Ross, You are such giver! I am in awe everyday of your patience, persistence, careful, thorough, and exactly ways. You are the BEST at everything you do. Your finished work shines with pride of completion. I don’t know you in person yet, but I know your heart. Thank you for sharing so much of your wonderful self with us, your blog family. We’re all better for it. This small donation is to help the lucky kitties and you get settled into your new home more quickly. May today’s post be the tipping point that gets you all home! Big hugs and much affection.

Matt and Erika. I am an avid reader of your blog and saw the story about your fence for the kitties. We have 5 cats, all of which are rescues. Your stories and generosity bring an occasional tear and many smiles to our faces. Hoping this helps a little toward getting your and your kitties to Emporia  little sooner!

These contribution brought in another $265

Week total: $655.

Grand total: $2,855!

To date, about 35% of the estimated $8,000 to build the cat fence has been donated!


This week I will be ordering the metal panels for the first phase of the cat fence!


The plan. There will be six outdoor “rooms”.


  1. East Room. Currently a dusty parking lot.
  2. Corner Room. Currently a dusty parking lot.
  3. North Room. Currently a patch of lawn. Next to Highway 50. This will have a evergreen hedge.
  4. Zig-Zag Room.
  5. Fence around AC condensers.
  6. Fence around garden equipment and summer cat house.

The order this week will be to fence rooms 4, 5, and 6. I believe I can also start on the east side of room #1.


Donations have ranged from $20 to $500, and each is very much appreciated and feels like a hug!

I created the Go Fund Me account in 2016 after receiving repeated requests from people. “I would love to help? Can I donate somehow?” As of today, $5.560 has been donated (including the cat fence donations)!

Donations have helped to offset some of the terrifying financial burden of restoring the Cross House. But donations impact me, too. It is hard to explain but every donation makes me feel less alone, less crazy. Every donation makes me feel connected to a family of people who love old house…and now kitties, too! And I often think about this when I am high up on scaffolding or stripping old shellac off oak trim. I think: Wow. People CARE about this. And this generates a special kind of tingle inside. It feels good!

I am keeping the Cat Fence monies separate from the general donations, and will continue doing updates on the fence and future donations.

You can see all the donations on my Go Fund Me page (the green button just above the comments).

You can send a check if you prefer:

Fence the Cats!
POB 454
Strong City, KS 66869

(Make check payable to Ross)


To all of you fabulous and crazy people, and kitties, a hug and kiss!




  1. Merryl Mouse McRae on November 5, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    So what will this cat fence look like? Is it going to cover up the house?

    • Ross on November 5, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      Hi, Merryl!

      The fence will be in the rear yard (east).

  2. Sandra Lee on November 5, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    How wonderful the kitty fence fund is growing! Thanks for the ideas & various ways of funding for this s important endeavor! Hugs out to you & this outpouring of love has prompted me to get on the bandwagon! Dottie Rose Lee 🐈 meowed & gave a paws 🐾 up for the cat fence! She implored her mama (me) to get cracking with our donation! On the way…🐈🐾

  3. pk on November 5, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Love the color of the cat fence!!! Thanks for keeping us updating on the funding- it’s very exciting to see the progress and soon the fence will be a reality!

  4. Jackie on November 6, 2018 at 6:47 am

    This is making me wish SO HARD that I could give more‼ Will installation of the fence be done by yourself, Ross? I’m looking forward to pictures as I can’t really (well, let’s be honest… at all) visualise how things will look.

  5. mick on November 7, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Hey Ross – I came across this and thought of you and your cart fence. I wonder if it might give you more options on materials and height… No idea of the cost, particularly in the quantity you would likely need. However, it also looks like something that could be fabricated by somebody handy like yourself https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:ugcPost:6464591279266242560

    • Ross on November 7, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Hi, Mick!

      I have seen those but would never buy the product unless I personally knew one or two people who had them installed and swore by them.

      Things can look wonderful in a video…and not work in real life!

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