SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- These cat houses are smaller than the doghouses Steve Whitaker's construction class at Clay High School built last year.
Smaller, however, doesn't measure out to be easier, not with a slanted roof put on for drainage.
"That was the last change we had to make," Whitaker says over the sounds of hammers on nails echoing through his classroom out into the hall.
"He saw a picture of a doghouse with a slanted roof, called and said that's what he wanted."
"He" is Bill Sykes, head of the Michiana Animal Alliance Group. He got the idea for
"Homes for Hounds" two years ago from reading a mailer from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that solicited donations for a drive to build doghouses for pet owners who otherwise couldn't afford outside shelter for their dog.
"I could have sent in 50 bucks," Sykes told the South Bend Tribune for a story Sunday, "but I asked myself, 'Will that doghouse be seen here?' Probably not."
Instead, Sykes used the money he planned to send to PETA for supplies, and with the help of a friend built a doghouse.
Then he built a second one.
Word got out that Sykes and his friends were building doghouses to donate, and suddenly there was a television news camera documenting the project.
"When it came out on the news ... my phone rang off the hook," Sykes said.
Construction companies called to donate plywood, shingles and other supplies, while Michiana Animal Alliance footed the bill for paint and screws.
Meanwhile, demand for the free doghouses scorched Sykes' phone line.
"Homes for Hounds" was such a hit, Sykes suddenly found himself in need of an assembly line.