Outdoor Cat Enclosure/Catio – Part 7: Shelf Slats!

Last weekend I got the frame of the cat enclosure stained and built.  Today I got the shelf slats cut and stained.  They’re not nailed down yet, that will be the next step.  It’s supposed to rain tonight through tomorrow, so even though I’m STILL not feeling well, I pushed myself to work on the slats today.

Last weekend I bought 12 6-foot 1×4’s at Home Depot.  The cat enclosure is 3 feet wide, so I figured I could cut them in half and have 24 shelf slats.  But I hadn’t taken into account the width of the 2×4’s making up the frame.  D’oh!  So instead of 36″, each slat needed to measure 40¾”.  Today I cut the 12 6-foot 1×4’s into 12 40¾” slats:

outdoor cat enclosure / catio cutting the shelf slats in the yard        outdoor cat enclosure / catio cutting the shelf slats in the yard

179c        179d

At that point, I realized I needed a LOT more wood.  So I headed downtown to the local hardware store and bought 16 8-foot 1×4’s, cut in half, providing me with 32 4-foot 1×4’s:

wood for the outdoor cat enclosure / catio in the back of my car

At this point, hubby asked me “why aren’t you just using plywood again?” and I said “because slats will allow for drainage”.  But after spending a small fortune on 1×4’s, I’m starting to think I should have just used plywood for the shelves, with swiss-cheese holes bored into them for drainage…

Anyways, moving on…

I cut the ends off the 32 boards, leaving me with a pile of rubble.  Then discovered use #54 for my LL Bean tote bag:  hauling rubble to the basement:

outdoor cat enclosure / catio extra wood from shelf slats        179g

After they were cut, I got my palm sander out and smoothed down the ends:

179h        outdoor cat enclosure / catio using palm sander in yard

Then spent 2½ hours staining [thinking again that hubby had a point about plywood…]:

outdoor cat enclosure / catio shelf slats shelving stained        outdoor cat enclosure / catio shelf slats shelving stained

Thankfully today was overcast and rather cool.  Otherwise I’d have baked out there!  The waterfall provided soothing white noise while I worked:

outdoor cat enclosure / catio shelf slats stained river waterfall yard

Here’s all my boards drying!

outdoor cat enclosure / catio shelf slats stained and ready to go        179n

Thankfully the stain/water-seal dries very fast.  After 30 minutes I went back out and arranged the slats into the configuration I plan on using:

12 on top [6 on each side] with a break in the middle so the cats can jump down to the middle shelf:

outdoor cat enclosure / catio shelf slats stained and ready to go

14 on the middle shelf with a break on the right side for them to jump down to the bottom shelf:

outdoor cat enclosure / catio shelf slats stained and ready to go

And 18 on the bottom shelf:

outdoor cat enclosure / catio shelf slats stained and ready to go

There will be outdoor cushions on the top 2 and middle shelves, and a litter box and cat grass planter on the bottom shelf.  And I’m pondering the creation of ramps to help Bonkers move easier between the levels.

I realized after the fact I’ll have to make a notch to the back of the shelves abutting the enclosure frame, otherwise the gap between that shelf and the edge of the frame will be too wide:

outdoor cat enclosure / catio there's a gap in the corners, need to notch the shelf slats

So the next steps will be notching the 5 slats abutting the frame, nailing down the 44 slats, and stapling the chicken wire to the frame.  Progress = good!

(Visited 277 times, 1 visits today)

4 Comments

  1. Jessica @CapeofDreams

    Great work. I am lazy and probably would not notch the slats, but it will look better if you do.

  2. It’s beautiful Alison – but it must weigh a ton. Hope you never have to move it!

Leave a Reply