Furry Friends displays cheap and cheerful ‘catio’

The adoption of Sofi and Sable from Furry Friends prompted Nanis Gilmore and Philip Parshley to build their own, scaled down version of a kitty ‘catio’

Those who love their kitties like the volunteers at Furry Friends do, obviously want to keep them safe. When kitty lives indoors, she stays safe, but she can be bored. Although cats prefer to be outdoors, many dangers lurk — and, not to mention, cats can prey on birds. Well, Furry Friends volunteers are friends of the birds and don’t want to see our bird friends made into a toy or dinner. The answer is: Build a catio.

The adoption of Sofi and Sable from Furry Friends prompted Nanis Gilmore and Philip Parshley to build their own, scaled down version of a kitty “catio.’’ Photo courtesy Furry Friends
The adoption of Sofi and Sable from Furry Friends prompted Nanis Gilmore and Philip Parshley to build their own, scaled down version of a kitty “catio.’’ Photo courtesy Furry Friends

The adoption of Sofi and Sable from Furry Friends prompted Nanis Gilmore and Philip Parshley to build their own, scaled down version of a kitty “catio.”

Seeing the satisfaction the pair derived from sitting on the windowsill or backslider window gazing out at the garden and the myriad visiting birds was all the inspiration they needed. As a volunteer at Portland Audubon remotely, Gilmore is extremely concerned about the loss of birds due to cat predation, and recalling the window boxes at our shelter house, decided that a “deluxe” window box best suited their own kitties.

Their north-facing window proved ideal for two reasons: Sofi and Sable could watch the Gilmores whenever they worked in the garden and feast their feline eyes on the many birds and feeders nearby. The couple constructed their “catio” mainly of 2 x 2 cedar planks with 2 x 4’s for added strength, and used polycarbonate for the roof. A window insert complete with a cat door and flap at the same level as the windowsill allows for easy access to the structure, the flooring is made of 3/8” plywood, and the screening is a high quality window screen designed especially for pets. Several levels of shelves for climbing are attached with screws and metal brackets to the walls and sturdy outdoor carpeting stapled to them for comfort.

Photo courtesy Furry Friends
Photo courtesy Furry Friends

Last but not least, the Gilmores installed a large “people” door on the outside that allows them to wash the window, clean the catio and, if needed, rescue one or both kitties in an emergency.

To say that their custom designed “catio” has won paws up in approval from Sofi and Sable would be an understatement. Not only have they eagerly explored every shelf, they love lazing away the days in the warmth of the sun and spending more time out there now than inside the house.

As for Nanis, she hopes that their DIY project will inspire others to construct their own “catios” in an ongoing effort to protect both birds and cats from other predators.

About Furry Friends

Furry Friends is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit no-kill cat rescue serving Clark County, Washington and adjacent counties. Founded in 1999, we are a volunteer run organization that rescues and adopts out homeless, relinquished, and abused cats. We shelter and care for them as long as it takes to find them forever homes. We provide medical exams, medications, spay/neuter, food, and litter for up to 400 cats each year. For more information contact Furry Friends at (360) 993-1097 (message hone) or information@furryfriendswa.org (email) and www.furryfriendswa.org.

Story courtesy of Nomi Berger who is the bestselling author of seven novels, one work of nonfiction, two volumes of poetry, and hundreds of articles. She is a volunteer writer for Furry Friends in Vancouver and also volunteers her writing skills to animal rescue groups in Canada and the USA. She lives with her adopted Maltese named Mini.

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