When we adopted Kahleesi, we signed an agreement that she would be an indoor only cat. I guess the feeling is that most cats in foster care have spent enough time outdoors (usually alone and frightened) to last them a lifetime.
The amazing woman, Harriet, that fostered both our cats happens to own a cat boarding facility in Northern California. That is NOT what makes her amazing though. She takes a great deal of the income she receives from that business and uses it to foster cats. She gets an e-mail every Sunday evening listing cats who's time is up and she goes and gets as many of them as she possibly can I would venture there are times she has more fosters in her kitty resort than paying customers. What would we do without people like her in this world?
Anyway, one of the most incredible things about her kitty resort is her catios. We had never even heard of such a thing when we went to pick up Kahleesi. However after receiving the grand tour of the place (every room is like a mini kitty apartment, with furniture and pictures on the wall, it really is amazing) and seeing what was possible we were truly impressed with everything about this place and this woman!
Our original plan was not so grandiose. We started out to build a simple window box for Kahleesi. A place where she could watch the birds in the redwood trees, the foxes and the deer and the bunnies in the meadow, ( another good reason to honor our agreement that she would be an indoor only kitty ! ) feel the sun on her face and get a little fresh air. Her own little space, created especially for her. It was really quite cute watching her watch us build the window box. If you aren't a cat person you won't believe this, but I know she knew we were doing this just for her and she loved us even more for it.
But we got a little carried away and the result was a catio of our own! My husband was about halfway through with the window box when I saw a little chicken coop online. My wheels started spinning and I thought what if we could somehow attach the window box to another structure and truly get them a space all their own? Well I ordered the coop and when it came my husband said no no no, it's too small and it's more like a cage than a catio. I was ready to send it back when he said "You know, if we built a base for it and raised it up at least a foot or more, they would have a lot more room and then it would be more like an outdoor kitty apartment. Lucky for me my amazing talented husband spent several years working construction and knew exactly how to build a base for our new project. So our next stop was the lumber yard for posts, and 2 x 12's and wire and screen. The wire is to keep predators out (we had a fox pay the catio a visit just a couple weeks ago, but have since put measures in place that inspire him to stay in the meadow and off of our deck) and the screen over that is to keep bee's and other stinging insects out, oh did I mention we have scorpions? We only find one in the house every couple of years but they were in the back of my mind when we were designing the catio. I also bought lavender to plant all around the catio as I have read that scorpions do not like the scent of lavender. My husband spent every weekend for over two months on this project and Kali and Juju spend so much time out there that it fills my heart with joy knowing how much they truly enjoy this labor of love!
JujuBee is only in two pictures because we didn't pick her up until after the catio was completely finished.
And to anyone who thinks this is a cage and that cats should be free to roam, I say:
1) We are honoring an agreement that we made when we adopted them.
2) We live in a remote area with a lot of dangerous animals including bob cats.
3) They both absolutely love their catio. They spend hours out there, especially when it's warm and there is a gentle ocean breeze coming up the canyon.
4) We know they are safe. Safe from harm, safe from predators, safe form poisons and safe from becoming disoriented and lost.