Friday, July 11, 2014

A quick-to-build and inexpensive Catio!

After touring various Catios last fall, I spent many months mentally constructing a catio for my cats.  Said catio will have access from the kitchen window and let the cats have the run of the north side of the house.  Said catio will also cost a hefty amount and need a concentrated time of work to build it.  I'm not sure if said catio will appear in the cats' lifespan, but I did have an epiphany recently and can construct a catio for now.

I bought a roll of wire fencing, four of those double ended hook thingies (I don't know what they are called, but you will see them later) and got out my wire snips, drill, drill bits and eye hooks leftover from another project.

My epiphany had to do with the fact that the back porch is already enclosed on three sides.  So I only needed to find something to close off the other side.  It had to be movable, because I need access to the back yard, but also secure enough so the cats couldn't get through it.

Enter the fence.  I had to buy 50 feet, but I can probably sell on Craigslist the 38 feet I didn't use on. Also, FYI, when you unsnip the wire holding the roll of fence in place, get ready to jump back because there is a dramatic and somewhat scary unspooling.  In this picture, if you squint, you can see that I have attached eyehooks to the house, clipped the clippy things to the eyehooks and have clipped the other end of the clippy things to the fence.

Here are the clippy things I'm speaking of.  V-necked shirts make good holders of said clippy thingies.

And here the fence has been stretched across and attached to two more clippy thingies which are attached to eyehooks.

I'm not really sure about the amount of give in the middle, but we shall see what happens.

Here are the cats investigating their catio.  Predictably, they went right to the fence and worked long and hard at getting out in the yard.  I told them that the concrete was as outside as they were going to get for now.

The project took me only an hour and cost about $20.00.  It's pretty easy to put up and  roll away, once I figured out I should mark which junctions of fence the clippy things were best clipped to.  I just used some twist ties to mark said junctions.

I've taken to leaving the left side clipped, and rolling up the fence and leaving it in the corner of the porch.  I use the lower right clippy thing to keep it rolled.  But if I want it off the porch entirely, it's also easy to unclip everything and set the roll in a corner of the yard.

Two weeks later, Sentinel is working pretty hard to push the middle of the fence enough to get under it so he can get to the yard.  We shall see what happens there.


balyien said...

Which kitty looks like he wants to melt your face with his mind in that picture where he's looking at the camera? Is that Antares? My kitty looks at me like that sometimes and it cracks me up.

So the fence doesn't reach all the way up to the balcony above? But your kitties don't jump over it? I know Miri would try.

Patricia said...

That is Antares who wants to melt my face when I take his picture! Isn't he fun?

I had visions of attaching a separate upper portion that was even floppier than the fence just in case Antares did try to jump. Sentinel won't get very far with only the front paw, I've had to pull him off a fence when he got stuck halfway up. However, Antares hasn't yet tried to jump, so it's working just fine as is. We haven't tested the power of the fence when another cat wanders into the yard and up to the fence, though. I'm waiting to see what happens then. Antares tends to become an evil demon with superpowers when there isn't a door between him and another cat.

Sara K. said...

Nice!!! I bet the cats are ever so grateful for the space. Though, as you hinted, they would likely try to get more space. It is not too inconvenient to move the wire when you want to go outside?

Patricia said...

When the cats aren't using it, it's rolled up and off to the side. Because it's very inconvenient to have to move it to go out back, which I do more than I think. So I roll it out when they are out there and roll it in when they are done (or I'm done with them) being out there.