A whaaat? you ask? A Catio. A patio for cats.

Our cats are the indoor variety for the most part, but they love the smell and sights of the outdoors. We want to keep them safe while letting them do a little exploring; it’s what cats do. So when we moved to this house, we promised we would build them a Catio.

The house is perfect for it – situated on a hill, it has a deck wrapping around three sides. There is a door to the deck where we can put a cat door, allowing them easy access. What we need to do is enclose a portion of the deck (we’re thinking at least two sides), and then give them a way to get to…..the chicken coop!

There’s the house, from the coop – see the deck?

Since we don’t have chickens, we thought giving the kitties a runway to the coop from the deck would be a FUN THING. Maybe not, if they’re afraid of heights. I guess we’ll find out. The runway has to be high enough so we can drive under it with the riding mower, but not so high that the sometimes overenthusiastic winds in the area blow it into the neighbors’ yard 40 acres away. So it will have to be strong, that runway, but still open enough that the cats will enjoy laying out on it on a warm day, sunning themselves before heading on down to the coop for a little field trip.

This is the first in a series of blogs about creating a fun, safe, and for the cats, interesting environment out-of-doors. The first part of the plan is to clean up the coop to start getting it ready for occupancy. Pulling the weeds is pretty easy, then comes covering the chicken wire that is on the ground and cleaning up the inside of the coop itself. It’s not too bad, but we don’t really need the cats tracking in anything remotely looking like it was once part of a chicken.

We also need to measure and figure out how much wood and wire we’ll need for the deck, to keep the little darlings confined instead of yahooing it over the sides. The bridge – well, the bridge will be an interesting challenge. I may have to channel my dearly departed dad to see what he thinks would be a good solution. That may sound a bit bizarre, but he’s helped me with more than one project, whispering suggestions from beyond the veil.

Pile o’ coop weeds – dog Fiona in the background, supervising the work.

This is shaping up to be a fun project. We want to get it done before Summer sets in, so being consistent in working on it is key.

Stay tuned!