I am pleased to report that the catio has been a raging success! The boys love coming and going on their own and I LOVE not having to open doors all the time or shoo incessantly meowing kitties from the room.
We still have room to grow but for now, we went the easy route and outfitted the catio with a modest cat tower. Using some leftover wood from other projects, we added an upper tier shelf to the left that allows them to get to the top of the tower and a lower shelf over the cat door.
As you can see, they have been making good use of everything. 🙂
Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.
~ James Herriot, James Herriot’s Cat Stories
The boys had free reign of our apartment porch in Louisiana for two years. It was fenced in with gardening border to prevent them from escaping. Since moving back to Washington, they have a much larger house to roam but no outdoor space. So we built a catio!
If you’re not familiar with catios, they are essentially outdoor enclosures for cats. There are lots of designs available online if you want to build your own and lots of sources for ready-made designs that you can just buy and install as well. If you are handy with building things yourself, you might even design and build your own which is what we did.
Sourcing out the wire was more of a challenge that we anticipated. And it’s not easy to work with.
We built two side panels that are 3 foot wide by 8 foot tall and a center panel that is just shy of 6 feet wide. This was the best size to fit our available porch space.
We added a door to the long side to be able to go inside to place cat furniture or build interior platforms for maximizing the vertical space.
Painting, painting, and more painting.
We used the primary and trim colors of the house. I thought was overkill when Don suggested it but he was right. It looks much better than it would have if we hadn’t painted it. It blends nicely with the house.
It took us about three weeks to complete and maybe 20 hours total. It’s still a work in progress and needs some finishing touches. We also want to add platforms to give them things to climb up and to have different places to watch the activity outside. For now we’ve accomplished the basic build and are working on training the boys to use the doggie door. So far they aren’t loving the access door but I know they will figure it out with time. They are able to push through it to come IN if we put them out but they have yet to venture out on their own.
Once we have the vertical space filled out with additional levels I think they will be much more comfortable and interested in exploring. I have a feeling it’s just a little too cramped for now. Milo doesn’t like to share close quarters and he likes high places. I think he’ll really appreciate having somewhere to sit 6 or 7 feet high. He also feigns indifference to life when he’s observed. Once he gets a chance to go out unobserved and unaccompanied by Olli, I have a feeling he’ll settle right in. And once he does, Olli will follow suit. Little brother like big brother. 😉