We found Carol's email after a long day at work. She wanted a freestanding Catio with access from the sunroom window.
Following a meeting with her in person, we finally met Fred, a lovely orange tabby. We let Carol choose materials and showed her some of the previous work we've done.
Carol's Catio project immediately caught our attention, she opened her garage door for Fred during a snowstorm a few years ago. Although Carol had her own cats at the time and kept them apart from each other.
Fred was excited to have a wonderful Catio and enjoy the outdoors once again in safety.
Considering Carol's backyard is filled with a variety of wildlife, including hummingbirds, finches, and sparrows. We used a 1"x1" black coated wire mesh. Other materials included cedar 2"x4" timber, and clear polycarbonate roofing panels, which provided some shade and kept the Catio cool. Our first step was to sand and stain the floating deck boards. Looking for a whitewash rustic look, we decided to use a non-toxic water based stain. As soon as the deck was finished, we began framing the walls.
To frame the walls, we used the deck as a foundation. We were able to work on a great level surface which also provided a comfortable spot to relax and enjoy the sun. Don't tell Carol though.
A second entrance was added to ensure Carol could enter and leave without worrying about Fred making a dash for the scary free world.
After finishing the walls, stapling the mesh, and installing the roof panels, Fred's Catio was ready for accessories! We love to be creative when it comes to accessories and put our selves in Fred's paws. Is there a place I would want to jump, where can I best observe birds flying and squirrels running in fear of my ferociousness, where would I hide when the squirrels aren't afraid? We put all these aspects into our decisions when it comes time to build our shelves, ramps and accessories. We used a nubby thick outdoor carpet for this project. This provided great traction for Fred to run full speed as he leaps from shelf to shelf. We provided a peek a boo bubble dome in a high shaded corner to provide comfortable lounging fit for a king. Ramps to easily access the floor of the deck for Fred to prowl his domain. As we looked around and saw the project coming to an end, we were embraced with a feeling of satisfaction. Did we really build this? We continue to amaze ourselves. While basking in this feeling we noticed a little orange face peeking at us from the sun room adjacent to the Catio. It was Fred, who wasn't happy with us taking a break. We got the hint. Back to work for Fred's sake, and our own as we didn't want an upset cat on our hands.
The last step, the cat door! We cut the screen and installed a cat door.
The moment has come! The door opens and out came Fred unhappy with being locked in a separate room. Then his tone changed. What is this? Is it finally ready? Is this for me? Is this fresh air?! He quickly knew what to do and explored his new Catio. Leaping from shelf to shelf and pondering every crevice. Carol's eyes lit up as she witnessed Fred happily going in and out of the new area. This brought us joy as well. Our hearts grew and it quickly became apparent as to why we love what we do. Every happy customer and happy cat brings us more satisfaction in our lives. This is what truly makes it worth it.