By Bob Powell
After weeks of trapping, several kittens were selected for adoption at the local pet store. Not wanting to sit or step on one of precious little beings, I suggested to my wife, Donna, that I build a “temporary” structure on the covered back porch. I assured her it would be secure, have easy access, have ledges to perch on where the cats would have plenty of sun-shine and fresh air. Being a skilled carpenter, I knew this was a project worth tackling, my very first “Catio.” The year 2006.
It included heavy duty petscreen and cedar trim, beautiful, I said to myself. No more cat hair in dinner PLUS the litter box will be outside. After several years, we were well on our way to having a full-blown CAT RANCH. We needed more housing because “no one” could care for these critters like we could.
Having been down-sized in the corporate world, I took control of my destiny, and started to build catios full-time. I called my friend David Murphy, the Cat Carpenter, to let him hear it directly from me, that I was going into the catio design/build business. I’ve known David for several years now and respect him and his work. I told him my intentions and asked for his blessing. In classic David Murphy style, he said, “Bob, that’s fantastic. I’ve seen your work and I know you do quality work. I’d be glad to have you shoring up the other half of the market.” He went on to say that there was more work than he can handle and it would be great knowing that together, we would give Central Texas the quality catios it was asking for.
You know, keeping the cats safe from predators, getting hit by cars, etc. are all great benefits, but we can take the burden off the local bird population from be impacted from these skillful hunters. It’s about being responsible stewards of what I consider “gifts” around us.
A couple of years ago, I adopted Henry, my buff tabby. He was seen by a feeder dragging his broken, feral body to the food bowl. He was trapped and brought to Street Cat Rescue where he was given immediate medical attention. It was determined by x-ray exam his back had been broken in multiple places and had fused crooked. I wanted to be his champion since he’d had such a rough start. When I’m having a tough day, I’m reminded of him and his struggles. He has been such an inspiration to me to keep pushing on, to build more catios.
A client reached out to me with her story of rescuing 19 cats, which, over time, occupied and destroyed just every room in her house. Her husband suggested an outdoor enclosure for the cats. We agreed on a design and started building. She thanked me and said with tears in her eyes, that not only are we saving these cats, but that I was saving their marriage. She is one very happy new catio owner. Oh, the cats are loving it, too!
I have finally realized my purpose, to serve my community with the talent to build quality crafted catios and to protect our pets and those on wing. If you are interested in a catio, don’t hesitate contacting me. Check out some of the many catios I’ve built. References available.