My Cat Story – Catio Tales
Table of Contents - My Cat Story
The Answer to My Cat Worries
Here I am sitting in the backyard while my two cats Diego and Frida bask in the sunlight of their catio. My lucky kitties didn’t always have safe access to the outdoors, nor did my many cats that came before them. Yet, it took battles of being woken up at three in the morning and countless escape plans until I finally realized something… A catio was the answer to all my cat worries. This is my cat story.
Chai's Cat Story
I grew up in Boulder Colorado. I always lived in mountain houses that sat right up against or in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. This made for a wonderful childhood filled with outdoor adventure and exploration. The beauty of nature that I am so lucky to have does come with one downside– the cats that we love so much are not able to enjoy it with us. It’s a dangerous world out there for our cats! Lions and tigers and bears…oh my!
Chai was my first cat: a white Siamese with a black face and trademark bright blue eyes. My family loved him dearly and he was the best cat a child could asked for. Chai loved sitting outside in the grass, chasing bugs, and watching the bird. He had a hopeful look in his eye that he may one day catch one. Though, he never did. The last day I saw Chia, the sky was overcast and my worst fears came true.
Waiting and Waiting
Now comes the sad part of this cat story. We had let Chai out for his daily stroll around the property, and when it came time to get him back inside at dusk he didn’t return. We waited and waited, but no sign of Chai. It was getting late, and it was long past my bedtime, I couldn’t wait up any longer.
The next day was wet, rain splashed and puddles of moisture accumulated on the deck. I popped out of bed as soon as my eyes opened in hopes of finding Chai! I ran down the stairs only to find my mom sitting at the dining room table with a somber look on her face. Chai’s body had been found down the street. His lifeless body was returned to us in a plastic bag outside the front door. I was filled with despair and anguish! My beloved kitty had been taken from me. I vowed to never again let my cats be put into harms way again.
Diego and Frida Cat Story
Fifteen years later it is December 2016, I am working at a sushi restaurant in Denver. As i was waiting for the end of my shift I got a call from my girlfriend. “Come outside I’ve got something to show you,” she says. So, I walk out the front door of the restaurant to see her. To my surprise, she held two of the cutest palm sized kittens. We become the proud owners of 2 cats!
The first one I see is a fluffy tabby named Frida had a big personality. She climbed all over us and jumped from person to the other. The runt, Diego, was much more reserved and shy. He looked like a tiny furry alien with big bug eyes and messy hair. I hadn’t had cats in years and had never had two of my own. So I was thrilled to have two new members of the family. We were living in a small apartment at the time but couldn’t wait to get them home to show them their new space.
Making a Run for It
When we moved into a house, things were going as planned. The place was a mess and we couldn’t find anything. However, we were exited to be in a new home. Frida and Diego loved their new living space; they had more room to run around, as well as bigger windows to look out of!
Though their new territory was a vast improvement, something was missing. Diego our male cat had the call of the wild and nothing seemed to ease his need to be outside! Every morning and throughout the day he would sit by the backdoor and cry as loud as he could. He jumped up on the door and made calculated escape plans anytime the door would open.
Therefore, I tried taking him outside on a leash, but he hated it, and would eventually slip out of it and make a run for it. It got to the point where he would wake us up every morning between 3 and 4 am meowing in our faces until we got up. Furthermore, he would then escort us to the back door in hope that we would let him out. Given that I lost cats in the past, I couldn’t in good conscious let Diego outside. Instead, I had to figure out a solution to allow him outside safely.
The Catio Project
My girlfriend dad had built a catio in their backyard when she was young and their cats loved it! They would call it Cat Topia since the cats enjoyed being out there so much. We decided that we needed a Cat-Topia and went to work.
Home Depot had the supplies we needed. As a result, we picked out our pressure treated 2x4s, 4x4s, 2x6s, roofing, and galvanized metal fencing. The catio planned to be 4 feet deep by 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall. So, we dug our postholes at 2 feet deep, set our posts, and waited till the next day for the concrete to set up. Shelves and perches were then added and a cat tower was built for access to the top shelf. Then I cut down a dead tree in the backyard to put in the catio.
A plywood roof with shingles was added so it could be used year round. Strong cat fencing was installed to keep them in and all predators out! Our catio was complete and it was time for the ultimate test – would Diego be pleased with it. Sure enough, it was a hit!
Overnight Diego was a different cat, he stopped meowing at the door, we were able to sleep through the night without him waking us up, and his mad dashes out the backdoor subsided. Diego got what he wanted, the ability to go outside to enjoy the fresh air, chase bugs, and watch birds; and we were able to let him be outside without the fear that he may not return.
The New and Improved
A new and improved “Cat Topia” was the best thing that I could have done for my cats. It’s the part in this cat story where Frida, Diego and myself are perfectly happy. Frida and Diego both love sitting outside, taking in the different smells, and sunbathing in the beautiful Colorado weather. For this reason, I will never live in another house that doesn’t have a catio for my cats, I think Diego might actually kill me in my sleep if I didn’t have one. Frida has grown accustom to it as well.
I would highly recommend building a cat enclosure for your cats; it will give you peace of mind that your babies are safe and secure while enjoying the outdoors.