A Catio for the 4 kits named Gator, Gumbo, Jasper & Bessie!
My 4th and
build to date!
I am long overdue for a blog post about a client project. And what better client project to blog about than another catio!
Catio (plural: catios)
English. Etymology: A blend of the words cat + patio
Noun: “An outdoor enclosure for cats”
I was fortunate to be hired by two clients in 2023 to build catios for their cats. I built the first catio In April, and then in September 2023 I built my 4th and largest catio to date. A 6 foot by 25 foot front porch enclosure for a couple with four cats who had just bought their first home. These folks knew me as they had been roommates while in college with another college student in a Milwaukee Avenue home that I had previously worked on. They had recently graduated and were starting their careers and, after buying their home, they were telling their old roommate that their new house had a large front porch and they needed to find someone who could screen it in for them so they could turn it into a catio for their four cats. “Call Ken, he builds catios!”, she told them, and they got in touch with me.
Their new home is a beautiful house on a prominent corner lot in the uptown neighborhood, with a front porch with large turned railing spindles and a multi-color paint design. When I first met with them they explained that they envisioned having me mount screening to the exterior of the porch structure in order to create the screened in porch. I stated that I thought this would adversely affect the character (curb appeal) of their home and suggested building a screened in structure inside of the porch railing structure instead. To accomplish this I built 4 separate wall sections, and a frame for a new screen door, all built with 2×4 cedar and stained with clear stain. I built all 4 frame sections without using any deck screws – all sections are fastened together with 5” trim screws (golly I love trim screws) and angle brackets at the joints, and I also used 3+1/8” trim screws to mount the 4 sections to the upper porch framing and upper and lower railing rails. As with most porches, the porch has a pitch to allow for water drainage. I built the frame sections to allow for this, so that water will drain under the sections and off of the porch decking, but with the upper framing of the wall sections square with the upper framing of the porch.
For the screening my clients chose to use a 2” x 3” black welded wire mesh. Also known as “hardware cloth” or “chicken wire” and typically used in gardening to keep rabbits out of gardens. They didn’t want to use a pet safe screening, such as the screening I used for my other catio project in April, as they felt that some of their cats would claw through the screening and shred it. I suggested the welded wire solution, which I have used in prior catio builds. Initially my clients were considering a galvanized hardware cloth – I believe the black hardware cloth looks much better and “disappears” from view as opposed to galvanized welded wire. I used ~800 stainless steel “cable clamps” to mount the welded wire to the cedar frame sections. The welded wire came in 3 foot wide rolls, so this involved rolling out and mounting the welded wire in 12 adjacent vertical sections (and planning for and building the framed walls in advance to accept the 3’ wide welded wire appropriately).
This project took me two weeks (8 days) to complete/build, after 2 days spent shopping for materials and delivering them to the home the week before I began the catio build. My time was spent: 1) initially building the 4 main wall sections and the door frame, and pre-mounting the wall sections/door frame and door 2) removing and staining all of the wall sections, door frame and door 3) doing the final mounting of the wall sections and door frame/door to the existing porch structure and 4) mounting the 12 sections of welded wire. On the final Friday of the build my clients had a party planned, with friends coming over that evening to enjoy their new catio porch with their cats. I put in a long, 10 hour day completing the welded wire mounting to the wall sections, door frame and door in order to have the catio done in time for the party.
It was a pleasure and an honor to be asked to complete this project for my clients. I believe, and my clients agree, that we found the best long term solution so that they and their kits can enjoy this front porch catio for many years to come, as they grow into their beautiful home. I’m told that I will be asked to return later this year to help them close up the “escape hatches” in their backyard fencing so they can also enjoy time in their backyard with their cats. Fortunately I left them with extra welded wire and cable clamps to accomplish this…
I have secured the website www.catiosbyken.com and I’m planning to get the site built this winter in the hopes that it will attract more catio business. With the exception of the treehouse I built in 2022, catios are my favorite things to build. I love creative projects that enhance the lives of pets and their people.
How can I help you spoil your cats – and the cat lover in you, with a dream catio for your home?