How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Catio 101


Homer and Reno have a spankin’ new catio that wraps around an oak tree, providing opportunities to observe nature, climb trees and (mostly) nap. (Note: the stain/finish color is not the bright red that you see in these photos; it’s more of a terra cotta color.)

The brothers LOVE being outside. They were as happy as clams in their first small portable enclosure, but the hubbs thought they needed more space! The site we chose is situated beneath an oak tree (which is losing its battle with the drought) at the top of a steep hillside.

Setting up the foundation was more complicated than we anticipated. Post holes were dug, and the posts set in concrete sleeves. The deck has a hole in the center for the oak tree.

The ceiling is made of a heavy duty chicken wire. Using a wired frame, the chicken wire is both wrapped and zip-tied in a Houdini-proof configuration. We used zip ties to then affix it to the walls of the enclosure.

The finished catio is 8’X8′ and with the added ceiling height. it’s a little over 6′ high.



I can’t say enough good things about this product, the Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Wire Kennel (about $240 with free shipping on Amazon). First, you don’t need tools to assemble it. You simply twist wingnuts onto some connectors. Second, construction is sound; it’s super sturdy.  Third, you can purchase additional panels separately to extend it’s size. The base model builds out to 4’X8′. We purchased additional panels to extend it to 8’X8′. Easy peasy. Fourth, assembly takes maybe 20 minutes.

Since the kennel was designed for dogs, not cats, you’ll have to do a couple of mods to catify it:

  1. Wrap deer netting around the periphery. Otherwise, birds can easily enter.
  2. Don’t use the roof that comes with the kennel; cats can wriggle through before you’ve finished posting all your catio photos to Instagram. We used deer netting for our v.1 model. Strap it tightly to the top and secure with zip ties. When we moved into position under the tree we had to migrate to chicken wire for adequate support.

In this series of photos, we’d just finished washing the deck before putting all of the boys’ stuff in there that purrvide the comforts of home. Next week, I’ll have photos of it in use AND the catwalks and nap shelves we’re installing.

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Category: Featured, Home & Garden, Lifestyle

About the Author ()

Banzai is a cross-eyed flame point Siamese who doesn't write much, but when he does, it usually involves that stoopid new kittin.

Comments (7)

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  1. Scout Mango and Moms Brenda says:

    Wow, Scout Banzai! What a great writer you are! Did you meowser your Pawrents into creating a Catio furr the Babies Boys? THEN YOU get the House to yourself???

    A catio with a real tree in the Middle! Wowsa! Loves Scouts Mango and Aspen, Willow and Tigger. We have a new sister BellaJo and our crazified Brother who Mom notices his Orange Furr Jacket has Extra Skin! This Jacket is too big! Maybe he needs Billy Jacket needs a Black Furr Coat nexts! Mom calls Jack Billy Jack to rhyme with Bella Jo!

  2. Katie Isabella says:

    WOW WOW WOW! We are totally completely impressed with this catio and cn;t wait to see the boys in it!

  3. Seriously FABULOUS catio!

  4. Mary McNeil says:

    What a great catio ! But I wonder if they can get DOWN the tree trunk and under the floor ? (Cats being cats.)

    • Mousebreath Magazine says:

      We have chicken wire mesh that closes off the tree hole. It provides a lot of interest when there are skunks nosing around under the deck, and the boys can observe through the mesh. I’ll provide a photo on the next post!

  5. Kitties Blue says:

    Wowzers this is nice, but how do you transfer the boys to the catio? Do you put them in harnesses and a leash or do you take them out in a PTU? Our catio is attached to the house and we have a cat door, but we know we’d love something like this. Thanks for sharing, Scouts Cooper Murphy and Mau

  6. Mousebreath Magazine says:

    We transport them in their Pet Gear stroller (which they LOVE). We keep it in the kitchen next to one of the sliders, and they jump in and vocalize when they’re ready to go outside. Mr TF is already formulating plans as to how to create an access tunnel from the house to the catio. Given that it took an entire summer to pull this together, I think the access tunnel is a couple of years off. (Just wait until I post their CSWHQ sign!)


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