MARIO’S TIPS FOR A DIY CA­TIO

Modern Cat - - Body & Soul -

# 1

Build your en­clo­sure. Lucky Dog Ken­nel Sys­tems of­fers ready-to-as­sem­ble chain-link pet en­clo­sure kits that make set­ting up a ca­tio a breeze. The ren­der­ing pic­tured uses Lucky Dog’s An­i­mal House AH 56203 ($725, sat­ur­dayso­lu­tion.com), com­plete with gabled roof, plus ad­di­tional Lucky Dog mod­u­lar com­po­nents to ex­tend the square footage. Or, if you’re handy, build a wood frame cov­ered with chicken wire. [Ca­tioS­paces.com of­fers awe­some, easy to build DIY ca­tio plans.] Min­i­mum ca­tio en­clo­sure is 75-100 square feet. With more cats, big­ger is bet­ter.

# 2

It’s im­por­tant to give cats el­e­va­tion points and dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives of their space, re­gard­less the size of their ca­tio. Start by cre­at­ing steps us­ing chairs and lad­ders; look how far they jump and where they

want to go. Some­times just ar­range what you al­ready have. Ide­ally, have a few high perches. An­other key item is a “high­way” (like the Ja­panese bridge in the Zen cat gar­den) with mul­ti­ple on-off ramps as exit points in case of at­tack. It’s a cat­i­fi­ca­tion thing.

# 3

Find a spring point of de­sign and get creative. What makes you happy aes­thet­i­cally? A pool, gar­den, views of a bird feeder?

# 4

Keep it fun. If your tal­ent is gar­den­ing, in­cor­po­rate cat-safe plants. Maybe you’re good at re­pur­pos­ing ob­jects for cats to play with and in­habit. Above all, don’t make it a chore but at the same time, don’t go out of con­trol!

# 5

If you’re good at build­ing, use sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als specif­i­cally for out­doors. For my Ja­panese-in­spired project we used Trex build­ing ma­te­ri­als, strong and non-toxic.

# 6

Keep it clean. I’ve heard lots of com­plaints about cats us­ing their car­pet tower for just a few months. Use a wire brush [to re­fresh] and they’ll be back. Or re-clad with new ma­te­ri­als and a sta­ple gun. Be sure to put a car­peted tower in a pro­tected part of the ca­tio.

# 7

Keep it in­ter­est­ing: Shift the fur­ni­ture oc­ca­sion­ally, maybe a dif­fer­ent an­gle or move to an­other room. Cats are cu­ri­ous and love some change. Have a few move­able pieces.

# 8

Build it to last. Cats live longer when they aren’t out­side and get­ting into fights with wildlife and other cats.

# 9

Watch the Jack­son Gal­axy Show on An­i­mal Planet and tune in to what cats want. His cat­i­fy­ing is in­spir­ing.

“In the ca­tio, he is so in­ter­ested and stim­u­lated, like he has a new lease on life.”

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