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
btw..this site really gave me my design ideas. Another cat lover.
I just finished a video of this enclosure. If you are interested check it out. http://youtu.be/VnP4uCE9NjQ
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.
my son doesn’t like bugs. i’m going to build one of these for him.
Good luck Beth. It’s a really fun project. He will love it.
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.
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
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.
Thank you Rose! That is very nice of you to say. It was a labor of love, worth all the time and money to build. I’m very happy you like the video too. Take care
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
XD I love you and follow all your projects that are amazing
You are very kind sebastian! Thank you!
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.
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).
Thank you Lisa!
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.
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?
I know this project was done SO long ago, but could you also send me the fact sheet? We want to make something similar to this, but it’s a bit overwhelming! My beautiful cat Lilla has been a partially outdoor kitty the past two years, and she was hit and killed by a car two days ago. We are no longer letting our other 3 cats out because of that, but they absolutely adore the outdoors. Thank you so much
(my email is firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hey Daniele. I’m so sorry to hear about your cat. That’s a terrible tragedy. Yes, the city is a very dangerous place for outdoor cats. I sent you the fact sheet. Let me know if you have other questions.
Good luck. Hang in there
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”,
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
Love it. We’re putting up a fence and I want to add a top to it. We’re building a “modified ” catio now
great! Good luck Terri!
Hello, Dan. I’m currently planning to build a cat enclosure for my two kitties this upcoming summer. I was conducting some research and came across your amazing cat run build on YouTube. I took notes of all the details you gave in your replies to comments on here that might help in accomplishing this build, but I noticed you made reference to a fact sheet that contained materials and purchase sites. I was hoping that you might also be able to share this fact sheet with me while I’m still in the planning phases of construction. Any help with this endeavor would be very much appreciated! Thank you for the inspiration!
Hello Galina. Glad to help out. I’ll send you the fact sheet I have right now. Good luck with your project! Your kitties will love it!
This is amazing! I would love the fact sheet as well, if you would be so kind. My husband built a small catio off our kitchen window, but we now have three cats so it can be cramped. We’ve often discussed expanding it among the fence but we plan to move soon. At out next house, something like this will be perfect!
Hello Karra. I will send the fact sheet to you now. Good luck!
Amazed by your cat enclosure! I have a 40X20 dog kennel. Wonder if I can modify a corner for the cats? At least they can go out and get some sun. What do you think?
Thanks Terry! I think your cats would love that kind of enclosure. I have a couple smaller enclosures as well. They really love them. Any outdoor space is great for cats. Go for it!
Over the last 7 years I have acquired a dozen cats. Each has a unique history. I love them all. Most live outside but I want them to be safe and I worry when they leave our big yard. I am interested in your design. What kind of fencing is that you use? Do the black bars keep in kittens? Would you share the dimensions of the ramps? I have a small one story house but thought about a wrap around for mine.
Hi Hazel. You are a saint for helping so many cats! Yes, the wire will hold in kittens so long as they are a couple months old. I sent my “fact sheet” to the email here. I am happy to answer questions once you have a chance to see it. Good luck to you and your little furry family!
This is just wonderful!!! I know how cats like to explore , which we humans tend to call « getting into trouble » but your catio looks like cat paradise ! I rent my apartment but how I wish I could erect a structure like this… and by the way, you did not take a break from art at all. This is a masterpiece !
Best wishes from a fellow papier mâché artist.
Phoebe (formerly pamela)
Yes, I think ratios or just small enclosures that let then go outside are great. Thanks again!
Just love the Aby’s and Bengal – the most beautiful cats. Even though it has been sometime since Riley passed – so sorry for your loss. She looked amazing. Was wondering if you still had your fact sheet available as I would love a copy. Many thanks for being so kind to share.
Thanks Jay. Yes, they are wonderful cats. Then again, I’ve never met a cat I didn’t like. I’ll send the fact sheet to the email listed with your post. Note that it is a few years old so prices and availability of materials has changed. Good luck to you!
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