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Ask An Ambassador: Same Old Same Old Or New & Improved?

Real Estate Agent with Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com SAL.2002007747

Apparently there's a kitty communication network that points them our way when they need help.  Last year two more cats started showing up at our doorstep.  A female that had been previously trapped and spayed (ear is slightly tipped as is the practice for Trap Neuter Release) and a male with a full set of "kittenmakers".   They show up on our front porch one at a time (she's a a bit skittish and afraid of him, he'd walk in our front door if we let him), so we feed them and put a heating pad in a doghouse on the front porch to help them get through the winter months.

As tom cats are prone to do, he's been roaming the neighborhood and brawling, and from the looks of him, probably not winning. We took him to the vet for treatment and that led to a disruption in our normal cat situation. We've been a max capacity for some time, so adding one more even temporarily is a domino effect.  The two cats that alternate free roam in our unfinished basement have both had to be locked up while the tom cat is in the other end of the basement locked in a large crate.

We need to get them back to their normal routine, and after the tom's second visit to the vet last Friday (no more kittenmakers), we have two options.  Just turn him loose and hope for the best, and know that it also disrupts the peace and quiet the stray female has been enjoying, or expand our capacity and build a 2nd catio for the back deck.

If you know Liz, you'd know that option 2 was the choice, so I'm in process of building another 8x6 footprint catio in my "spare" time. 

Now we could have built an exact copy of the one we built in 2019 for a mother/son couple that found us, but we've learned a few things since then. 

For one, sometimes when two cats are living together, they get into scuffles.  Having a way to separate them inside of the catio is an essential.  (solution, add a divider wall down the center with a gate we can open or close if needed to separate.

Two, a 2 foot door is fine for us getting in and out, but when we wanted to add something larger than 2 feet, it meant having to tilt the entire catio upward and sliding the larger item under the frame.  (solution, 3 foot doors on the new model).

Three, cutting and stapling hardware cloth is a hassle.  We're still using hardware cloth, but I've added a cutting tool since the first catio that should speed the process and lessen the risk of me needing to make a blood sacrifice during assembly.

Weather permitting, the new catio will be completed by this weekend.  Shelves on the side walls let the cats exercise and lay in the sun.  We custom make outdoor litterboxes using large plastic totes.  We'll move a couple of boxes inside for shelter, and Liz will probably order a couple more pressure sensitive heating pads for the homes along with some no-freeze water bowls.

All of this with the cats is a very long way of getting to a point that applies to our blogging.

How I wrote and what I wrote about when we first started blogging has changed considerably over the years.  While some of the early posts might work to generate business, most didn't.

Over time, we learned better ways.

We implemented better tools.

We developed a better user experience.

We could have kept doing the same old, same old, or we could improve.

Recognizing what works and what doesn't for our local market was key to finding a better rate of success with our blogging.

If your blogging isn't giving you a return on your time, maybe it's time to stop with the same old same old and seek some improvements.


Don't give consumers content that they can find from 500 other agents in your market. 

Until next Tuesday, just ask an Ambassador if you need help!

Bill & Liz aka BLiz

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of Transaction Alliance
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418

MailTo:  Liz@LizSpear.com

Search Homes:  Https://WarrenCountyOhioRealEstate.com

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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Bill (and Liz too) - apparently the FCC must be connected to the feline and cat network in Warren County Ohio and adjacent areas.

Mar 28, 2023 08:29 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

No doubt.  The bulk of our kitties have all "found" us over the years.  We live on a dead end country road just off an interstate exchange, so I suspect our street and the barns nearby are dumping grounds.

Mar 28, 2023 08:32 AM
Michael Jacobs

And then there are the bees and don't you dare forget about those chihuahuas either.  

Mar 28, 2023 08:40 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

No doubt!  We've got bee work planned for the next week, time to move them out of winter set up and give the hives room to expand.

And the Chihuahuas are always right there with us :)

Mar 28, 2023 09:14 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Wow- that's tremendous of you to help the cats! 

The best way to blog and not sound like 500 other agents is to write local - with your own spin. Copy and paste will generally be ignored.

Mar 28, 2023 09:02 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

That's my particular issue with a lot of content.  If it's too generic, it won't get you found.  Local content for the win!

Mar 28, 2023 09:15 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I love reading your blog posts - and this one is particularly fun!  I hear that there are people whose karma attracts cats

Mar 28, 2023 09:35 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Well they certainly find our way to us!  With the latest 2, we're now taking care of 17 total.

Mar 28, 2023 10:13 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Bill it's clear we should create an AR Cool Cat Crew so we can all come out and help you finish the catio and help with the bees next week.  I swear do you actually get any sleep? Seriously, you are one busy Cool Cat/Dog Dad!

Mar 28, 2023 10:21 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

It's like everything else, one piece at a time :)
Some days I get more done than planned, other days less.  When things get too out of balance, I can always take a vacation day or two from the engineering work to "create" some extra time.

Mar 28, 2023 11:17 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten

Yup one bite at a time.....some days a lot more bites!


Featured in Bananatude


Mar 28, 2023 02:42 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

They gravitate towards you! Congratulations on gaining two more furballs. And great analogy with blogging, although I did prefer reading about the new cat house!

Mar 28, 2023 01:51 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

When it's done, we'll have a grand Facebook unveiling...okay, maybe a picture :)

Mar 28, 2023 03:30 PM
Jim Harper
Atlanta Communities Real Estate - Marietta, GA

Clearly an engineer-built catio. And if your blogs are "engineered" with the same skills, they are bound to be effective.

Mar 28, 2023 07:03 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Jim, I have to tinker :)   I started with the base idea from some catios on the internet, then added the extra bracing, shelves and roof.  And since it's built in panels, a few minutes with the drill and the joining deck screws can be backed out to get me back to panels to put in a U-haul to take to our next house when it's time :)

Mar 28, 2023 07:29 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Bill- excellent analogy. I remember reading about your catio back then. And you're wise to learn from Catio #1 and apply it to Catio #2.  Who knows what Catio #3 will bring??!!

Mar 28, 2023 08:46 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Catio #3 probably won't be a catio at all.  However, when we get to our new house we're going to need to build some basement enclosures, so we've been putting thought into how we can separate/expand as needed.  Some cats won't be happy with others, so all things we have to take into account.

Mar 29, 2023 05:10 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I think that Tango, Trey, and Tom Boy might live near where you live.  I will have to let them know and maybe they would want to swing by for a visit from time to time, haha.

Mar 29, 2023 06:15 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Brian, Apparently cats don't care about a "No Vacancy" sign :)

Mar 29, 2023 08:11 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Enjoyed this analogy and  your statement:  "We could have kept doing the same old, same old, or we could improve."

Mar 29, 2023 10:17 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

It's been easier to make improvements with the experience we have from the first effort.

Mar 30, 2023 07:30 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Improvement is always the right path to take. Thank you for sharing this.

Mar 29, 2023 10:49 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

It's the balance between "good enough" and the gain from making improvements.

Mar 30, 2023 07:30 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Spare time? What is that?  Those animals are so lucky to have you guys.

Mar 30, 2023 07:25 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Vacation day planned for tomorrow.  Beehive work, catio building, and a new listing goes live at 10 am., so maybe before end of day will have an offer (or more) in hand for our clients.

Mar 30, 2023 07:31 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good grief..I'm amazed at all youi do for yor fur babies. Excellent tie in to real estate..always something new, something better, more efficient, mandated..but it's all good. As sor spare time..yours is non-existent as far as I can see!

Mar 30, 2023 01:46 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Sometimes the weather throws a kink in my plans.  Rainy day, no bee work and no catio building!

Mar 31, 2023 12:39 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

First, as a cat lover, I am enthralled with the catio! I want something similar but with the option to come in and out as needed (on mild days). My brood likes to be outside when weather permits, so I allow them to hang out in the garage with a pet door providing access to food, water, and toiletries.

Thanks for encouraging us to improve our work. I shudder when I look back at some original AR posts but I think we were all in that boat at one time.

Apr 13, 2023 10:07 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Pat, In our case, 4 cats already have full time possession of our garage!
The back deck adjacent rooms don't lend themselves well to moving cats from inside to out.  In our case, the two catios are full time outside living space for 3 cats.  We don't have room inside for any more, so we create a better deal than a basement crate and then provide winter accommodations (heating pads, heated water bowl, windbreaks, etc.) when the cold weather comes back.

Apr 13, 2023 10:11 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

A catio!  Love this term.  Never heard it before.  Before I read this blog I thought it was about a chicken coop.  Loved the story!  You are both amazing!  Thanks for sharing -- and I believe the cats appreciate you too! Liz and Bill Spear 

Apr 17, 2023 12:00 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

I did finish building the catio last week, we just have to add the housing and fill the litter boxes and we'll be ready to rearrange our current cat situation.

Apr 17, 2023 01:54 PM