Back in December I was contacted by a reader named Janis for some advice on an indoor cube enclosure for a semi-feral cat to live inside for winter. The winters are harsh in her location and she was worried about his survival this year as well as wanting to get him neutered and to have a safe warm place to recover. Her solution she came up with turned out fantastic and she gave me permission to share a couple of photos and her story. Fat Tony looks content and Janis is slowly incorporating him into her home with the other cats and dogs. What a success! See her update below:
“Just wanted to give you an update to all your help. Fat Tony was neutered Wednesday and he is now in his zip tied home. See attached picture. It’s 4′ long, 2′ wide and 4.5′ tall with access to a window. Work was throwing out tables so I brought one home.His condo sits on top a table, actually ratched to the table with straps. It’s going no where!
I paid exra for pain meds ( just incase there were complications). He wouldn’t use the litter box so I set up another box with potting soil. Yep, dirt… and he went in that. Sprinkled some over the litter and now, like a good boy, he goes where he should. Fat Tony sleeps alot. I’m guessing after all that time outdoors, he probably never really slept. He’s making up for lost time. He gets like it’s his job and slowly getting used to the household noises. He hasn’t met the other 4 footed family members yet. Baby steps. I want him to feel safe.
Many thanks so much for your suggestions and all your help.
Fat Tony & Janis”
And an update in January:
“FT is doing really well. Still enjoying his condo living. He’s very clean. We’ve started letting him out with the other cats. Of course, they’re the ones with the issues. He seems happy to have friends. Slow and steady, he’ll get there and so will they.”
Janis and Fat Tony,
Thank you so much for the updates and Janis, thank you for caring about this beautiful boy!
A reader contacted me and sent this message along with some photos and permission to post.
” I used your website for inspiration, and I’m grateful. I created a wonderful escape for my two cats- one who is blind and the other who has only one eye. They have been indoor cats their whole lives (10 years) and ALWAYS want to get outside. We have to limit their freedom, due to the obvious dangers. The window sill with a screen is just NOT fair. This new catio is just the right amount of space- even in the cold weather, even at night, even in the rain, our boys have been enjoying it every day. I’d love to share photos. please let me know how.
I live in CT, US.
I bought the wire storage shelves, a box for 6 cubes from Kmart – cheapest I could find (still exist)
I used all your tricks and tips.
I agreed that the cats don’t need any height, so, on the ground level, it’s just two panels high. (two because, when sitting, my cats are 17″ inches tall, and a panel is only 14″ high.
I used some old roofing material on the steps and on the “sun bed” so their feet don’t fall through the steps. Figured it was waterproof, and, won’t mold, and should withstand the elements.
I was worried about it taking their weight (each cat is 14 pounds) but there seems to be no problem. And even the tallest part, at 5 panels, is not wobbly or anything.”
How awesome is this? Their blind kitties can now safely enjoy the outdoor area and fresh air and sun! Thank you for sharing Cjet!
This is posted with a friends permission. We live in Snohomish County, Washington State and this catio was built by a local named Dean Smith – firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested, contact him for your own catio if you are not a “do-it-yourselfer”. Anyway, pretty cool catio construction. Will said he will be adding some cat furniture and such.
This post is from my friends at the Community Cat Coalition and is copied from Facebook. This is a beautiful catio and I was given permission to use the photos here for more ideas on building your own safe space for your cats. From the CCC page:
“Catios – they’re not just for summer you know!
When we featured Donna and her lovely family of ex-free roaming cats last spring, we mentioned her almost completed catio (her story here, though only 3 of her 4 babies were mentioned – a gross oversight, since her senior boy Jupiter also started out as a free roamer!) https://www.facebook.com/CommunityCatCoalitionWa/posts/710022702472393. Well, that catio was completed in time for some summer sunning by her pampered pets, and did they ever love it! 4 happy cats safely inside but not feeling trapped or confined – they have the world at their paw-tips. And as fall rolls in, they may not go out in the rain – but there are lots of days of no rain, and imagine the fun of playing in the snow for a bit! 🙂
Donna designed and built her own catio – she’s a woman with an eye for design, and having seen the catio in person we can guarantee it is sturdy! The netting is a plastic deer fencing, tough but super easy to work with. Take a look, and look also on Dawn M’s catioblog https://catioblog.wordpress.com/ – there are great tips for making your own catio there.
Catios – the perfect solution for all. The cats are happy – even those who were outdoor cats seem to relax and enjoy life inside, when they can have this taste of the great outdoors. The owners are happy – their cats are safe, not exposed to disease, predators, cars, poisons, ill-intentioned humans… safe cats, and healthier – less vet bills! The neighbors are happy – no cats pooping in their gardens, no cats fighting in the middle of the night, no cats walking on their cars… Animal Control is happy – fewer complaints to monitor, and the cats are safe. In fact – is there anyone who ISN’T happy about Catios? Make one today – you won’t be sorry!”
My friends at the Community Cat Coalition posted this idea yesterday.
*Note: If you put your cursor over the video, a pause and play button will pop up.
We often hear people say that they’d love a catio, but they just don’t have the time to make one. Or, they are renting and aren’t allowed to build anything permanent. Sometimes it is the cost or the difficulty in transporting materials in a car. Guess what, this 5 X 5 X 5 foot catio can be assembled in 45 minutes and you can take it apart and roll it up for next year in less than 15 minutes. Small and easy to carry, you can take it with you and easily store in a closet in the off season. Okay, it isn’t pretty until you dress it up, but it is fast and easy and your cats won’t care if it was inexpensive. The example in this post was about $100 to build, but you can do it for a lot less by cutting longer poles to size or by sharing deer fencing with a cat friend.
–12 – 1 inch X 5 feet PVC Pipe. (* $3 each at our local hardware store.)
–8 – 1 inch Side Outlet Elbow Joint PVC ( $2.18 each at our local hardware store.)
–100 – Zip Ties ($5 for the pack.)
–35 feet of 6 foot deer fencing. (About $35 if you share a high strength 100 foot roll ($100) with a friend. Much less if you use the deer netting instead.)
*It is MUCH cheaper if you buy 10 foot or longer PVC pipes and cut them in half. I went the fast and easy route on this example.
You can purchase deer netting and deer fencing at feed stores, on Amazon.com or at big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. It generally comes in 100 X 6 foot rolls. You will only need 35 feet for this project. Buy the 1/34 inch heavy duty version for young cats, escape artists or unsocialized cats. They cost about $100 – $120 for a 100 foot roll. Deer netting also comes in 100 X 6 foot rolls with a smaller mesh for around $45 – $55. These vary greatly in strength and durability, so don’t buy this type online unless you know it is a heavier guage. Some sold as deer netting are actually just bird netting. Buy the durable version that you can’t tear by hand. You can substitute bird netting for mellow or supervised cats, but I don’t recommend it for active cats, unsupervised cats, cats who chew plastic or in areas with outdoor predators or rodents who could potentially chew through it.
This is just a an easy sample. You can upgrade it any time by purchasing additional poles or connectors. Google PVC catio to see other examples. For different connector options, check out these links. Share your pics in the links below.
Message us for printable directions in PDF format. We will post on directions our website later. Send us pics if you make one or have other fast and easy catio ideas to share.
So, I went to Flower World (a local nursery) today to pick up some new cat grass for the catio. They had 2 varieties this time so I bought them both and combined them in one pot. I wondered if they would prefer one over the other and it seems that Lazarus likes the thicker grass and Dark Lord Binx likes the thinner stuff.
I finally added the silk plant vines I bought on sale from Michaels to create a hiding spot the cats can still peek through. I just used the vines and some twist ties. Binx attacked a few of them but they are holding up just fine so far!