Our cats were constantly asking to go outside. We never gave in to their plaintive cries because a) we loved the abundant birdlife in our neighborhood and b) we lived on a busy street.
Fortunately, we have a very creative cousin who loves to surprise us with projects around the house. One day, we came home to find he solved the problem of the melancholy kitties. He converted our seldom-used screened-in porch into a Catio.
Below is a quick video of Kitten and Lulu enjoying their digs.
We had already taken some old trellis panels and mounted them in the windows for a friendly way to add some security to the large screened windows. The first step in the Catio conversion was to secure some lightweight wire fencing inside the windows so the cats couldn’t slice the regular screen and make a getaway. As you can see in the close-up below, the wire fencing was secured using large washers with screws.
The next step was mounting heavy weight shelf brackets—with heavy weight screws—to hold the pine board shelves. They were spaced so the cats could jump from one to another while climbing to whatever level they want to enjoy. It is important to remember to place screws through the brackets into not just the wall or window support as well as the pine boards to make sure the boards stay in place.
Finally, a pre-made kitty cube was added as a kitty cubbyhole for snoozing. We recycled this one from an indoor cat tree. You don’t have to include one, but since we had it we thought it was a nice addition to the Catio.
The shelf brackets, pine boards, heavy-duty screws, wire fencing, washers, etc. should all be available at your local home improvement store. You don’t need many tools to complete this project. You can have the home improvement store cut the planks to the length you want.
It is important to make sure everything is anchored securely because the cats love to jump and you don’t want anything to come loose!
This is an example of what our cousin did with the space we had. You might come up with a perfect design for your own place.
—R. A. Kroft, Story & Photos for The Conscious Earth
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