Falls Church, VA

Kevin from Falls Church, VA contacted me with photos of his catio for his cat Pecan. The setup looks great and Pecan looks happy. Here is what he wrote:

“We’re in Falls Church, VA. For now I just layered some cardboard squares for her steps, but I’ve got some scrap carpet around so I might make it a little more comfortable. For access, we made a little swinging door on the bottom right panel – we used three zip ties on top so it can swing open, and while she’s in there we just lock it into the feet. Super easy!”

And in a follow up received today:

“I thought I’d provide an update on how the catio is going – best thing to ever enter our (or really just Pecan’s) lives!

The new morning ritual is as follows:
1) stand on my chest and nibble my hand to wake me up.
2) inhale some wet food
3) immediately run to the sliding door and meow
Even on chilly fall mornings like today (53F) she wants nothing more than to sit up on her perches and spy on the rest of the courtyard.
Sparrows like to nest and roost in some cut-outs along the wall where her enclosure is, so that keeps her occupied for a long time. Her other favorite are when the crows show up.
Had some leftover carpet and scrap wood from a project so we upgrade the platforms from the boring old cardboard that used to be there. Hung a few (still unused) toys from string, and here we are.
Still dreaming of ways to expand but I don’t think the leasing office would be too thrilled!
Anyway, thanks again for this resource – has really changed our lives.
Kevin, Amy, & Pecan”
Kevin, I love your morning ritual and it sounds somewhat familiar, at least the nibbling part to get the human to wake up and put food out.

Another awesome story submitted by a reader named Barbara

Below is what Barbara submitted through email. Thank you so much for sharing with the blog!
“I had been seeking some way for my indoor cat, and his Malti-poo friend, to use my deck.  The costs to cat proof it were all rediculous.  Then I found this DIY Catio.
I built it with 4 boxes of 23 panels, purchased from Amazon.com at $35 each.  I have 9 panels left over so I might enlarge it by 9 panels.
I recommend adding a Channel Locks tool to the tools list.  You can use it to pull the frames into the connectors, to remove a connector if you change your mind, and to open a tight bottle after the Catio is finished.
I used nearly 500 wire ties as the pattern grew in my mind as I used the materials — I ripped back at times.  There is a baffle around the top to prevent the cat from getting out.  But I would have needed to build 4 panels high to walk around it in, so instead I have an open space for that.
Every option to let the pets use the Catio at will was very costly.  In the sliding door option I would have disabled my use of the deck.  In the window option I doubted the little dog would have gotten used to using steps to get in and out.  So instead I built baffles on the entrance so I just open the sliding door about 10″ and neither pet can go anywhere but the Catio or back into the house.
The cat loves it.  He had never been outdoors in his life.  Being a cat he expresses his love by taking long naps.  I’ve given him several platforms to do that.
Zelda the dog is rather Meh!  She would rather be sniffing around on the whole deck.
The building process took me about 4 days at 3 – 4 hours a day. I tried to draw pattern, but found it easier just to create it as I went.
I will be making some waterproof pillows for the platforms and put a piece of vinyl fabric over them.”
Barbara Catio

Sue’s Catio in Ohio

I was contacted by a reader who happened across my blog. She was able to create a catio in no time at all AND was willing to send me pictures and to post her story. Thank you so much Sue! It looks awesome and your cat looks so happy.

From Sue: “I googled outside cat enclosures and found your blog! So glad I did. I already had 6 cubes and I bought 2 more boxes and in a few hours I built my cat Lacy her enclosure. It’s on the back deck and attached to the basement window. I put plywood in the window with a pet door. She loves it!! I should mention I will be 66 years old next month and I did this without any help. My next project is to make her a hammock to hang in one corner. People say she is spoiled but for all the joy she brings me, I thought she deserved a pay back. And I got tired of hearing her cry in the window when I was in the deck, LOL.”

Fat Tony!

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!


Another catio!

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!


Donna’s Catio!

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!”