Monday, June 10, 2013

Pet Safety - Creative Cat Enclosures




The arguments for indoor-only cats go both ways. I agree that it’s in a cat’s nature to roam and hunt. But in our urban society pet ownership is pretty gratuitous, though hugely rewarding and fun. I certainly would not be as happy without my pets.

But I’m convinced by personal experience that cats will live longer and perfectly happy lives if they are kept indoors. After several trips to the emergency veterinary hospital in the middle of the night after a cat got hit by a car, in a cat fight or attacked by dogs, coyotes or raccoons, fighting flea infestations, and cleaning up extra dirt and oil stains after a cat rubbed underneath a car, you have to wonder if it’s worth the risk and expense.

And that’s not to mention the dead songbirds and rodents one of my cats used to bring in! Or neighbors’ complaints… the list goes on. We brought that cat indoors once we adopted a second cat who had always been indoor only. He adjusted just fine.

You can provide a safe place for fresh air and sunshine for your indoor cats. Enclosed porches or “catios,” terraces, sunny windows, cat runs, fence toppers and many other structures offer extra room for play and lounging.

The key is a sturdy frame and wire mesh with holes small enough your cat can’t climb through. Window screening is not strong enough to keep cats safe, you need something stronger. Cedar wood holds up well to the elements, but will turn gray if you don’t stain or seal it. If you want to keep your cats in and bugs out, add screening on the outside of the wire mesh.  The website for Catio Showcase has a bunch of great ideas for both DIY and professionals.


If you have a yard, make tunnels that go from one window or cat door to another, along the top of fences, or to a series of larger play areas. Cats don’t usually dig but they are good climbers, so make sure the space is fully enclosed at the sides and top.

Plants and water features can be fun for your cats as well. Use pet safe plants of course. For a list of toxic plants, see this list on ASPCA’swebsite. Keep in mind that any dirt may be used as a litterbox, so mulch planters with river rock.

What have you built? Let us know your ideas!

Until next time!
-Elaine Bothe


Photos courtesy of Elaine Bothe, Catio Showcase and Sally’s Cathouse. For more helpful indoor cat tips, see the Community Concern for Cats website.



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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:01 AM 

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