Outdoor Cat Enclosure/Catio – Part 1: I Gots Wood!

Finally, FINALLY I am starting work on the outdoor cat enclosure I’ve wanted to build the kitties since 2 years ago.  Or forever.  Whichever came first.  It’s #1 on my list of projects to complete in 2015.  And I’m finally doing it!

It’s going to go in the yard and [hopefully – if I can convince hubby] be attached to the dining room window via cat door & extension arm so the kitties can go in and out as they please.

I have today off from work [much needed vacation day!] so last night after work I did some final measurements and sketched out a design:

173a

It’s going to be 6′ x 6′ x 3′.  I called the local hardware store and they don’t sell 6-foot 2×4’s [I saw some at Home Depot and was hopeful], but they do sell 12-foot 2×4’s, which they said they could cut in half for me.  Yes, please!  If I had a table saw or power miter saw, I could do it myself.  But all I have is a hand saw, a reciprocating saw, and a circular saw.  And the thought of trying to cut all that wood with any of the above wasn’t too appealing.  Also, 12-footers wouldn’t fit in either of our little cars.  So I took hubby’s Prius [he pulled into the driveway after me and I didn’t feel like shuffling cars] and bought $38 worth of 2×4’s cut into 12 6-foot pieces & 8 3-foot pieces:

wood for the outdoor cat enclosure / catio in back of jim's car

I didn’t get pressure treated wood, because I read that if animals are involved, the chemicals are very bad.  So I got regular wood.  Which I know won’t last forever, but if we get 10 years out of this thing I’ll be happy!

This morning I laid out 6 of the 6-footers [which will form the frame for the front] on the living room rug – not optimal, but you work with what you’ve got, and we don’t have much in the way of wide open spaces:

outdoor cat enclosure / catio frame

I tried using my corner square and got very frustrated trying to get the frame pieces square.  So I consulted the “Complete Book of Framing” which Jim got me for Christmas [love you hubby!!!] and learned a VERY valuable tip that I don’t know why I didn’t figure out myself [I probably would have, given enough time… at least that’s what I’m telling myself]:

173d        173e

If you measure the frame diagonally, you can easily figure out whether it’s square!  Genius!  It took MANY tries, but I finally got it laid out square.  Then realized I didn’t have any screws.  D’oh!  I know most framers use nails, but knowing myself, I decided screws were the way to go, being that I usually f$*& things up and with screws I can undo it and redo it…

So I walked over to the local hardware store and got me some 3″ deck screws:

173f

Then pre-drilled some holes, starting with the 4 corners, and drilled in 2 screws per stud.  Here’s a side view and top view:

framing in the cat enclosure / catio using deck screws        173h

I read that pre-drilling probably isn’t necessary, but since it would royally suck if I split one of my 2×4’s, I went with pre-drilling.  Then I pre-drilled holes for the 2 support beams and screwed those in.  Now I haz frame!!!

173i        173j

I’m so proud of myself!  Another DIY milestone for me:  framing a wall.  Wow.  It’s probably not perfect, but I don’t care.  It’s perfect enough for me.

Next up will be building the matching frame for the back, then connecting the 2 frames with the 3-foot 2×4’s.  Then somehow making a door on the side for us to access… haven’t really thought that part through totally… then adding plywood shelves, using the middle support studs as shelf brackets.  Then enclosing the whole thing in hardware cloth.  Adding outdoor pillows to the shelves.  Probably a litter box or sandbox at the bottom.  A few plastic roof shingle things to protect the enclosure from rain.  And finally building some type of tube to connect it to a window.  This project will definitely take up the brunt of my summer!  But I’m so psyched to have started it 🙂

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6 Comments

  1. Jessica@CapeofDreams

    I obviously need to mature a little because your title made me snicker. But seriously, this is an awesome project. I cannot even bear to show Creme because she will be so jealous.

  2. Lucky kitties! I hope they learn to get along so they can share this space peacefully!

    • Nine Dark Moons

      I think the enclosure will only be used by the 2 boys [Darwin and Bonkers] and they get along fine, even though Darwin beats Bonkers up sometimes… Birdie seems to have no interest in going outside. So things should work out great, and give Birdie even more peace & quiet inside, when the boys are out in their enclosure!

  3. Your cats are going to be so amazed and so thankful when they realize they have access to the outside world.
    I’m volunteering Dad if reach a point where you need/want some help. He’d be thrilled!
    Great job so far!

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