by Finn Frode
Milly and Snow White enjoying their new catio
A few weeks ago we moved from a third floor apartment to a terraced house with a small garden and that gave us the opportunity to offer our two old cats much better outdoor facilities. For now the covered verandah has been turned into an enclosed catio>, but we hope to enclose the rest of the small garden later on.
The indoor/outdoor discussion is always sure to raise heated discussions, but actually there is no right answer that covers every situation. We have decided never to allow our cats to run free, because although it's a quiet neighbourhood with many free running cats, the risk of car accidents, fights or catching a contagious disease is greater than we wish to gamble on.
Also if some day we get another pedigree cat, the contract most likely will demand the cat does not run free as many responsible breeders ask for just that nowadays. At the end of the day an enclosure or catio seemed the right solution for us.
The frame of the enclosure is built from pressure-treated rough sawn timber, joined by lap joints with screws and glue. It is covered with green plastic coated chicken wire, which I expect not to rust as quickly as non-coated. The door is a simple construction made from planed strips of wood and some fittings. I didn't do much drawing in advance - actually I had most of the plan inside my head or made it up as I went along.
I'm no DIY guy, so the construction has it's flaws, but as long as it fills it's purpose, it's OK with me. And building it took me no more than 12 hours - at the cost of less than 140 US$.
On the day we and the cats moved in the enclosure was ready for them. First they checked the house for a couple of hours, then when we opened the door they went out without the slightest hesitation, walked up to the fence and gazed out into their new big World.
Milly was born an indoor cat and has always been the careful type, so at first she seemed a little overwhelmed by all those new sensations. She got used to it over the next couple of days and by now she has taken upon herself the responsibility of being the first to inspect the verandah every morning. Goes with the territory of being First Cat of the House, I guess...
Snow White has been much more interested in absorbing all the impressions the garden has to offer and can stay there for hours. Sometimes the cat next door drops by and then they sit just starring at each other. On the first day she also tested whether the fence was safe by climbing it all the way up. Fortunately it held her weight...
You can read more about construction details and see some more pictures at my Cat enclosure page at Finn Frode's Fat Furry Feline Friends.
See also: Catio Cat Enclosure