Apr 20, 2023 | Uncategorized

A Catio for the kits named Norton & Lux

Screening in a front porch to create a catio!

This past winter I was contacted by a new client asking if I could build a catio for their cats.  I’m always up for building a catio!

I initially visited to scope out the project in the mid-winter while there was still several feet of snow on the ground – and just after we had received another snow dump!  I completed the project in mid-April of ’23, after the snow was gone.

To say that “I built a catio” is a bit inaccurate.  If you do a Google image search for “catios” you’ll often see custom structures built in folks backyards, which the cats can access from an entrance from the house (often a window entrance), and often involving multiple spaces, connected by tunnels, for the cats to hang out in.  Many catios are actually large screened in areas with a door so the cat’s owner can spend time in the catio with the cats.

Catio (plural: catios)
Etymology:  A blend of the words cat +‎ patio

“An outdoor enclosure for cats”

So based on this definition, yes, I built a catio.  In the case of this catio, I was tasked with figuring out how to take a front porch with railings and a roof overhang (Yay!), and add the framing required to install a screened porch door and screen in the entire area.  I began by removing spindles in the railings at the appropriate locations, replacing them with 2×4’s, and then building out the upper sections of the porch walls with the vertical and horizontal 2×4 structure required to install the pet screening.  I used cedartone lumber to build out the framing to best match the existing porch and railing structure.

The door was tricky (door are always tricky) as, in the case of this front porch, the door needed to swing inwards.  Most porch/screen doors swing outwards and, so, most porch door latches are designed for out-swinging doors.   Because of the proximity of the entrance steps, an out-swinging door would’ve been awkward and wouldn’t have worked.  To ensure the cats’ safety, so as to avoid the risk that that someone might open the door from the outside and not close the door behind them, my client wanted a door latch that locked for an inswinging screened porch door.  I found the solution with a keyed internal door latch, that works well with the tensioned porch door hinges that I installed on the door.

For catios to be safe for the cats, every square inch must be screened in so the cats can’t escape.  This can be accomplished with weld-wire screening, but my client wanted screening that would keep the bugs out to make it more comfortable for the client and the kits.  My client purchased fiber pet screening for the project.

Building the framework around the NW corner of the porch where the exterior brick fascia meets the stucco corner of the house was a challenge, but I accomplished this framing by building framing vertically off of the existing deck framing, and tying into the upper framing which I installed, in order to enclose the corner space and allow for the mounting of the pet screening.  I ripped 12 cedartone 2×2’s on my table saw to create the 24 eight foot sections of lathe I needed to mount the pet screening to the entire deck framing that I installed – this lathe is seen in the final pictures. 

This is the 3rd catio that I’ve built – one at my home for my cats, and now 2 more for my clients. 

How can I help your cats with their home?