Transitioning an outdoor cat to a life inside is not easy. The cat prowls the house, looking for an open door or window to escape into the neighbourhood. At night, he "talks" to you loudly or jumps on the bed and wakes you from a deep sleep. He may even refuse to use the litter box in his frustration. Rather than traumatise your kitty, build a cattery for him. A convenient window left open leads into his personal cat patio -- completely enclosed and safe from wild animals, dogs and other cats.
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Things you need
- 2-by-4-inch boards, 8 feet long, 15
- 1Roll chicken wire, 48-inch-by-25-foot
- 5 lattice panels, 4-by-8-foot
- Screen door with hardware
- Deck screws, 3-inch
- Deck screws, 1-inch
- 16 "L" brackets
- 2 flat brackets
- Drill with screwdriver bit
- Staple gun
- Wire cutters
- 4 shelf brackets
- 1-by-12-inch boards, 8 feet long, 4
- Covered litter box
Open a window facing into the backyard. Evaluate the potential for a cattery outside the window. Go outside and measure the space, allowing for an 8-by-8-by-8-foot enclosure.
Lay four of the 2-by-4 boards in a square, short side down and butted together at the corners. Screw together with the 3-inch screws. Insert an "L" bracket into the inside of each corner and attach with the 1-inch screws. Repeat, making an identical square with four more 2-by-4 boards.
Lift the two squares into place, butting against the house and 8 feet apart. While your helpers hold the squares in place, insert a 2-by-4 board to connect the squares at the bottom corners. Attach the board to the two squares with screws and "L" brackets. Repeat on the opposite side, next to the house. Then attach 2-by-4 boards at the top, making it into a cube. Adjust the position and attach the cattery to the house with screws, leaving the house side open.
Install one 2-by-4 board across the top of the cattery, centred. Have your helper hold it in place while you attach it using screws and two flat brackets.
Measure the screen door. Cut the last two 2-by-4 boards to frame the screen door. Allow the vertical board to extend from the bottom to the top of the cattery. Attach with screws and "L" brackets to the cattery. Attach the short top board between the corner and the vertical board.
Install the screen door according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Staple the chicken wire around the top of the cattery, flush with the top. Start at the corner against the house and wrap around to the other side, against the house. Cut the wire with wire cutters around the screen door and staple securely to the frame. Use the hammer to tap in any loose staples.
Measure and cut one of the lattice panels to fit horizontally across the cattery, between the wall and the screen door. Attach to the frame with the 1-inch screws. Install the lattice on the other two sides of the cattery. From the inside, staple the bottom edge of the chicken wire to the lattice.
Lift the last two lattice panels to the top of the cattery. Install perpendicular to the centre board, so they are supported in the centre. Butt together and screw around the outside edge with the 1-inch screws.
Screw the shelf brackets in opposite corners of the cattery, aligned with the top of the door frame. Lay 1-by-12 boards across the brackets and screw together, driving up through the brackets and into the boards with the 1-inch screws. Lay the other two 1-by-12 boards across the ends, on top of the first set of shelves, and screw together. Now the cats can walk all the way around the cattery or lounge above your head.
Remove the window screen so the cats can jump into their cattery. Set a patio table under the window if it is too high for the cats to jump in and out. Place the litter box in the corner, out of the way, and scatter the cat toys in the cattery. Use your imagination to add hiding places.
Tips and warnings
- Recruit family and friends to help you.
- If the cattery feels flimsy, add a vertical 2-by-4 in the centre of each wall.
- Plastic poultry netting is available if you do not like the appearance of metal chicken wire.
- Lightweight fibreglass panels provide a solid roof if shade and shelter are desired.
- Adjust the size of the cattery to fit your space. If you have no yard, an enclosed shelf extending outside the window is one possible solution.
- Hang a bird or hummingbird feeder outside the cattery, out of reach. The cats will watch the birds all day.
- If you live within a homeowners' association, read the covenants, conditions and restrictions before installing any structures such as a cattery. The rules may not permit a structure, even in your backyard.
- Use privacy lattice if you have kittens. They can crawl through the spaces in a standard lattice panel.
- Wear safety equipment such as gloves and eye protection when using power tools and staple guns.
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