Deluxe Cat Enclosure

I took a small hiatus from my art to build a “catio”.   I’ve always wanted to do this.  We have an old cat, Riley, who has led an exclusively indoor life.   We wanted her to have a little time outside before she’s gone.  And the Bengal, Max, he spends all day waiting for me to play with him.  He’s afraid of every toy except one.   And he just needed more stimulation.   As for the little pill Eddie, he just needed a place to roam.  So, for those of you cat lovers out there, here is what I built over the last three weeks for my cats.

We have a family room on the second story of our house.  Now they can go out onto a patio outside the window.  Here is Max’s first steps outdoors.   Very tentative!

Just outside that window is a four layer structure.  The cats can wind their way down through a small maze.   Can you see Eddie at the bottom?

They can then take a ramp to the back yard.  More about that later.   Or they can walk around to the side of the house and take a ramp that leads to a bathroom on the lowest level of our house.  Here is Eddie getting ready to do just that.  Max is still unsure.

Here is the ramp to(from) the bathroom.

That leads to this small enclosure outside the bathroom window.   Max become very confident once he understood where the paths ended up.  Here is Max and Eddie outside the bathroom.

As I mentioned they can take the other ramp to the back yard.  Lots of fun that direction!  It goes behind a giant cedar tree.

Down two more smaller ramps.   Left to right, Max, Eddie, and our very old cat Riley.

At the end that path is the “Cathouse”.   Everything a cat could want in that place including a catnip plant.  It’s only been “open” two days and all three cats love it.   It has been a joy watching them explore.    We have a chair inside so that we can hang out with them.

We’ve never seen these cats get along this well.   So much to watch!  Birds, bugs, and squirrels are all the rage.

Here is Riley on the tree.

Here is Max in the middle of night.   I found him outside chasing the bugs that were attracted to the lights (yes…it has lights)(and a heated bed inside one of the little rooms).

Old Riley has found many places to rest her bones.

I have at least a hundred more photos, but you get the idea.   Back to some art.  I’ll have some of that real soon.   Take care
Dan
btw..this site really gave me my design ideas.  Another cat lover.
http://cuckoo4design.blogspot.com/2012/05/cuckoo-for-my-cats.html

I just finished a video of this enclosure.   If you are interested check it out.   http://youtu.be/VnP4uCE9NjQ

 

33 Responses to Deluxe Cat Enclosure

  1. Andrea says:

    This is AMAZING!!! We have been considering something like this, although due to space constraints and an HOA- much scaled back. We have boarded our cats at various places in both Sumner and Federal Way and each of the cat apartments (for lack of better words) has access to a small enclosed outdoor space. Simple, but it has height so it has some interest with multiple levels. We just want to try something. Our little cat really seemed to like the outdoors when exposed to it. Our other one is a bit more agoraphobic… lol but surely the lure of fresh air and sunshine and warm spot to lounge will likely win him over. Maybe we just need to take the plunge, start small and go from there. 😀 I found you through Cuckoo4Design.

    • Hello Andrea. Our cats simply love this enclosure. Our big bengal, Max, was really hesitant at first. Even though he is big he is really nervous about new things. So it took some coaxing to get him out there. But now he is in and out all day long. He spends hours watching the birds and napping. You certainly don’t need something so expansive as the one I built. I have a tendency to go overboard on everything I do. Good luck to you!
      BTW, you are very close. I live in Seattle. These last few warm days have been perfect for using the enclosure.

  2. Beth says:

    my son doesn’t like bugs. i’m going to build one of these for him.

  3. Derry Matthews says:

    Hi awesome project, where did you get the fence panels and hardware for the cathouse?

    • Hello Derry. Do you mean the fence panels on the cat house in the back yard? If so, that was a trick I highly recommend. I went to Home Depot and bought a pre-fab dog kennel. It was meant to be a free standing 4 foot x 6 foot enclosure. It is made of 2 foot wide panels of welded wire held together with clamps they provide. Very strong and nice and it had a door built in with a latch. Because I used my fence for one side I was able to make an 8 foot by 8 foot enclosure with those panels. I then added the 14 gauge black wire (that I got at Home Depot. It was three foot wide). I used for the tunnels etc and put it over the top. I wanted it totally enclosed because we have raccoons around. The planks for the tunnels was 5/4 by 6 inch cedar decking. And the 2x4s were also cedar. I put polyurethane over the cedar to protect it from the weather. Hope this helps.

  4. Hammerfoot says:

    Hi,
    I’m sure you have already answered this. But I and my wife were wondering what kind of cats you have? We think that they are pretty,cute, etc. We also love your enclosure that “cat walk” is the bomb. Thank you for sharing all your work with us, you are a true artist.

    • Thank you Hammerfoot! I do love the cats. We have two Abyssinians and one Bengal. They were all “rejects” from the cat-show world. They all had some kind of imperfections that disqualified them so they gave them to us. We just love their personalities. Then again, I really like cats, like you obviously. I love dogs too but haven’t had one in a while. I appreciate the note and your kind remarks about my art. Take care

  5. Rose says:

    What a wonderful place for your babies to enjoy the outdoors….I have indoor cats who would love something like this. Your video on you tube was beautiful too.

  6. Sherry says:

    I’m incredibly impressed with your cat enclosure! I see you are in Seattle – I am also – and I’m wondering how much use it gets during the winter? Do you leave the access windows open all the time?

    • Thank you Sherry. The cats don’t go out as much as they did in the summer. But they each go out at least once during the day. I often hear Max go out after I go to bed. And Eddie will go out early in the morning. (Riley passed away a couple months ago. But I’m very happy that she was outside almost every day last summer.) We inserted cat doors into the two windows. The one upstairs is a really nice one that is made of aluminum and with real glass panels on the sides. It is insulated enough that it’s fine even in the very cold times. I bought a piece of thick (1/4 inch) plexiglass for the bathroom window downstairs. I cut a hole in it and put in the other cat door. Again, it is well insulated from the plexiglass and we don’t lose any heat when it’s cold. We are very happy with the project. The cats expect access to the outdoors.
      Take care

      • terrepruitt says:

        I know it has been a while, but I don’t think sympathy ever expires. Sorry about Riley. Even though we know it has to happen and we expect it, it is never easy. But that you did this for her to experience before she left is awesome.

        This is so amazing! I was laughing as I kept scrolling down and it just went on and on! I would not disagree with your comment that you tend to go “BIG” (overboard?).

        I always fantasize about doing something like this for our cats. My hubby is a bit (oh,ok – a lot!) paranoid so I am sure it would just turn into a big fight about letting the cats have 24/7 access. So I will just continue to fantasize.

        Thank you for sharing your cat creation!

      • Thanks for the note about Riley. We miss her terribly. I do go overboard on everything. I have since added a second, small platform outside of my studio window. And I’ve added to the big enclosure. They can now move from the big cat house in the back yard up some ramps and into our “little house” (a small house I built in the back yard for my daughters when they were younger). Eddie and Max do love it all. Sometimes they go out in the middle of the night.

      • terrepruitt says:

        Oh my! It was huge to begin with, but now, I bet it is rivaling your house!

        Our cats would always been in it instead of the actual house.

      • They do love it outside. I love seeing them out in the back yard watching the bird and squirrels. To tell the truth, I enjoy building. I built our house, and the little house in the back yard.

      • terrepruitt says:

        Oh, wow! They are lucky to have a builder for a dad!

        Our cats love to watch the yard animals. I feed the birds and squirrels so they have entertainment.

        Our other cat had an “away house” (it was a collapsible dog house, shhh, don’t tell) that we would put her outside in. She would sit for hours. She loved it. I am waiting for awhile before I let these two out in houses. Once I do, I know I will never hear the end of it. We haven’t even had them a year. So it will be awhile.

      • I love those collapsible, wire dog carriers. It is so easy to just put one of those on a pedestal outside a window so that they can go outside. That is what I have outside my bathroom window (you can see it in the video) and also outside the window in my studio. Sounds like you have very spoiled cats as well.

  7. Lara says:

    This is too awesome !!! I have always wanted to do this for my 5 Abyssinians.( I see you have a couple. ) Wonderful cats. I live in Alaska but I am just getting ready to make a big change after 30 years up here! My family is in Colorado so I think I am headed that way. I hope I can learn to live amongst that many people again. We’ll see. Your art and cat enclosure are inspirational! Keep it up. The world needs more of both!

    • Hi Lara. Welcome back to civilization! 🙂 This was a very satisfying project. Your abbys would love it. You must be busy with 5. They are very active. Great cats though. Good luck with your move.

  8. sebastian says:

    Hello this is simply amazing (not English so I translate it hehe) all your masks your art is amazing what you will do you a lot of creativity
    😄 I love you and follow all your projects that are amazing

  9. Danka_Zee says:

    This is amazing. Not only the cats can do what they want, you enjoy watching them while the wildlife around you backyard is safe. Love it!

    • Thanks Danka. I do think it’s a great thing for city cats where the outdoors can be dangerous. My cats love the tunnels and the cat house at the end. They go out every day, even in the winter.

  10. Madelyn says:

    I would like to build a catio for my cats also. Where did you get the panel’s for the enclosure?

    • Hi Madelyn. Do you mean the big ones I used for the cat house in the backyard? That was actually a dog kennel I bought from Home Depot. You can see it here,http://www.homedepot.com/p/American-Kennel-Club-4-ft-x-8-ft-x-6-ft-Uptown-Premium-Steel-Boxed-Kennel-Kit-308596A/202851225. It was a little pricey, but it was modular. So I was able to turn a 4 ft by 6 ft pen into an 8 ft by 8 ft enclosure using my fence as one side. Plus, it had a built in door with a locking latch. I figured it would have cost me that much to make an enclosure that size with other materials. I’m taking the liberty of sending you a fact sheet I made. It lists all the materials I used and where I got them. Good luck! PS. Max and Eddy spent the entire day outside yesterday (it was sunny and warm in Seattle).

  11. lisa padilla says:

    Beautiful

  12. Hannah says:

    Hi! I’ve been admiring your cat enclosure. I would like to attempt something similar for my kitty! I saw you sent a fact sheet with all the info on the materials you used. I know you’re busy but if you had the time and the inclination, would you please send it to me? It would be so helpful to have it! Thank you and I enjoy your blog and your beautiful paper mâché artwork.
    Best,
    Hannah

    • Thanks for the kind words Hannah. I’ll send you the fact sheet. I have to say that you don’t need anything so elaborate to make them happy. I have a knack for building so this was a fun, easy project. But I made Eddie a small enclosure for the small window in my studio. I just bought a wire dog kennel and put it on a small wooden pedestal and cut a hole in the side. So when I open the window he can go out and sit under the bush and watch the animals. He really loves it.

    • I tried sending that fact sheet with two different emails and it kept bouncing back. Do you have another email?

  13. Pamy says:

    Your “Catio” is simply amazing! I just have so so many questions and I have been trying to convince my husband about building one for our kitties, and yours is exactly what I have been dreaming of!! We have 23 strictly indoor kitties that we love tremendously and we live in South Florida. My oly fear about building a catio and letting them outside is the possibility of them getting fleas and even worse Ticks! I know that a netting like that wouldn’t keep away insects and bugs from the kitties so I wonder how could that be solved?! We have a large back yard but we both have no idea on how to even make a plan for it! 🤔 Being in Florida would mean letting our kitties outdoors mainly in the winter months since it gets a little cooler and is not so humid and hot like in the summer time, plus most of our kitties have long hair! Wow I am so in love with your catio and I like the way you also installed real trees inside the cat house! Did you build the cat house on the grass? Did you make the concrete base? Oh I wish I could speak with you to get some good advice!!! If you lived closed we would hire you for the project 😜 Simply awesome! And also your art is very impressive, your dragons look so real!! Thanks for sharing your creations, especially your cat “amusement park”,
    Take care!
    Pamy & the kitties 🐱

    • Hello Pamy. 23 cats! Wow! Yes, an outdoor enclosure would be great for your kitties. I don’t have plans per se, but I do have an information sheet that lists the materials I used and where I got them. If you give me an email I’d be happy to send it to you. I put small gravel in the bottom of our “cat house” in the back yard. I didn’t want grass for lots of reasons. It wouldn’t get enough light to grow well. It would be difficult to trim or cut. And fleas live in grass. I didn’t want sand because the cats would use it as a litter box (I do have a litter box in the enclosure though). I would think that the base would be important to keep out ticks. I don’t know enough about ticks to know if a net would help. I would think a net would have to be so fine that it would kind of defeat the outdoor feel of the place. Thanks for the note. Good luck

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