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Bubby and Mariah are two adorable cats that love their catio, but it was not always like that! Bubby, previously a stray, was taken in and eventually adopted by Salli and Greg, a couple in Denver, CO. At first, he was afraid of his surroundings and sought only to be outdoors. Salli discovered catios one day while browsing Facebook and decided that perhaps catios could be a tool to help Bubby transition into being an “indoor cat”. Continue reading for the full story!
Bubby's Catio Tale
Part I: WB
Before he had a proper name, he was a roaming cat. He took solace in an abandoned car where other strays and feral cats would go. He had a reputation as the neighborhood cat. He was the black and white cat that lurked up and down the alleys. He was a true acrobat, a climber that adored to dangle in trees’ branches. Clever and venturesome, he knew where The Good Samaritans hung out.
Salli and her husband Greg took notice of this adventurous cat nicknaming him WB for his “white and black” markings that differentiated him from the others. He would drift up and down their block and climb the trees not far from their house. Unsure of his gender at the time, they believed WB was a female and approximately 2 years of age.
WB was prudent, but resourceful. He slowly started to befriend them as Greg welcomed him to their front porch with his do-it- yourself shelters. One day, Salli remembers that after carefully building his trust, she was able “to lean down and pet him!” Slowly but surely, WB was beginning to trust them.
Part II: Pawprints in the snow
At the time, Greg and Salli had two other cats: Mariah and Obe. Little by little, both of their cats began to accept the presence of WB around their porch. Despite this growing confidence between WB and their family, there were other elements at play for WB…
Colorado is notorious for its harsh spring snow storms. Strays and feral cats are very resilient to weather, but once the temperatures drop below zero, they can encounter several problems.
In the spring of 2019, Salli noticed that there were bloody pawprints tracks in the snow. It could’ve only been WB. WB had signs of frostbite on his paws! Something changed that day…
Both Salli and Greg wanted to do more. Not long after this incident, WB “came running into our house.” Salli remembers that she “scooped him right up!”
WB had kept coming back repeatedly—not only had he gained trust for them, but Salli and Greg had a WB shaped place in their hearts. Salli said, “Greg and I had a discussion about officially adopting WB.”
In October of 2019, it became official! WB was their cat! At the vet, they learned that in fact WB was a male, not a female as they had previously believed. Moreover, they learned that he was microchipped but with no address. He needed all his shots. It was a hard day for him, but something was different. He had a forever home at Salli and Greg’s where they would soothe him back to comfort and give him his new name: Bubby!
For the first months, they made Bubby a comfortable place in their garage to help him transition to sleeping inside. They would allow him to roam the streets freely during the days, and he would return to the garage at night where they knew he was safe. However, the transition to Bubby’s new life indoors was not always easy! Salli describes that it is in his “DNA” to want to be outside. He wanted to climb. He loved to explore. This was natural for him, but the weather and the dangers such as predators made her worry. She wanted to find a way to transition him to being at their house but didn’t want to rob him of his outdoor time.
Salli began to research steadfastly for a solution when one day she discovered “Catios” on Facebook. One thing led to another and soon she was in contact with Cat Topia.
Part IV: The Cottage Catio
“It was Labor Day weekend when we got our first Catio built,” Salli recounts “It must’ve been 100 degrees!” Cat Topia constructed the Cottage Catio on September 2nd, 2019.
Bubby slowly adjusted to his Catio and sometimes felt sad because he didn’t have a full life outside. Eventually, he noticed this space was built with him in mind and he began to adjust. Bubby started going outside during the night to his Catio constantly! Salli and Greg put bells so he could come back inside, but it kept waking them up. Bubby wanted one thing only: to be outside in his Catio.
After realizing how integral the Catio was to Bubby. Greg and Salli decided they wanted a Catio that would be more interconnected by tunnels into their house and garage. They loved their first Catio, but they wanted to go the extra mile to meet both Bubby and Mariah’s needs. Mariah is sick with auto-immune encephalitis resulting in seizures. They wanted a place that would be comfortable and secure for her as well. With Bubby, being the climber he is, it was important he could be up high.
Part V: Cat Paradise
“Now Bubby is NEVER inside”, Salli describes his love for his new Catio built in 2021. “He is always in the Catio—it is a playground for him!” Mariah, with her illness has taken a little longer to adjust, but with her RING camera Salli can watch both when she needs to. “I would highly suggest the RING cameras,” she said. They have helped her keep a close eye on Bubby when she is not home.
The second Catio has more tunnels where Bubby is close to their mulberry and walnut tree. He is always in these tunnels sleeping or just hanging out. “He is in the trees again!” As for Mariah, there have been some special ramps to help her get in and out.
Salli describes being outside because they have their own porch outside just adjacent to the Catios: “It couldn’t be more perfect! We are all together outside.”
Adopting a stray has its complications, but Salli is convinced that a Catio can help:
“It is possible though, with A LOT of patience, love and the right tools, to bring a stray cat who only knows being outside, into a successful situation with them becoming an ‘indoor’ kitty, when you incorporate a Catio as one of your tools. It took a lot of adaptation for him, but we just showered him with love and reassurance, kept our vet in the loop, played quiet spa type music, and paid attention to his cues to help him feel safe. Catios allow them to be ‘outside’ and safe at the same time. Plus it kept me sane!”
A special thanks to Salli, Greg, Mariah, and Bubby for sharing your story and photos with us!