What I love about this contraption, the invention of a wife and constructed by her husband, is that it was boldly conceived without overanalysing how it might look. And don’t get me wrong, it looks great. The focus was on the welfare of their cats and they love it. This cat owner realises the benefit to a cat of sensing the outside air and feeling the ground under their feet.
They came up with a tunnel which runs from what appears to be their living room’s window and which descends to the front garden to a tent which is covered in a netting rather than solid material. This allows the cats to view what is going on around them and to walk and rest on the grass. It is a bit Heath Robinson1 in its construction but that is unimportant. The important thing is that they did it and it works.
The hardest part of planning to do something is actually doing it. Putting the first step forward towards completing the task is the motivator. The pictures explain how it looks and works and as mentioned the cats love it. Anabel Maler, 30, of Iowa city, came up with the idea and she says that her cats chase each other in and out of the tent all day. They lie in the tent sunbathing for long periods of time. She put some catnip in the tent to encourage them to stay there and emjoy it.
It’s been up for a month and its success means that they have created another. Although it looks a little fragile, Mr & Mrs Maler say that it has stood up brilliantly. Both cats run “vigourously through it”, said Anabel.
The reason why they built this beautifully effective construction is because they rent their house and were unsure if they’d obtain the landlord’s permission under the terms of their agreement to build a catio or an enclosure at the rear of the house. Unsurprisingly, the Kitty Chute has attracted the attention of neighbours who’ve stopped to take photographs of it and the cats playing in their tent.
Anabel said that they love to be on the grass the most. And I love to hear it because it is a point that I have consistently made on this website. Keeping domestic cats indoors is a good idea in many places because it’s safe but they will miss the smells, sounds and the feelings of being outside. This kind of imaginative solution is an excellent way of correcting that defect. More people should do it. It can seem insurmountable and it can seem difficult to do but this home-made construction didn’t take that long to make. It just needed the motivation and the commitment to do it which came from a desire to improve their cats’ welfare. It is a classic case of an enriched environment for domestic cats.
Note 1: Heath Robinson means makeshift. Put together in an informal and novel way.