Catio Stories: David Murphy

By David Murphy, Cat Carpenter

In 2008 I got laid off from a corporate accounting job, wanted to take a break for a while and found a volunteer opportunity at a local cat rescue organization.  They had a sanctuary that seemed to constantly need work, and I’d always enjoyed carpentry so I did a lot of work repairing and upgrading indoor and outdoor cat habitats.   Eventually I needed to find a job, but the thought of going back to a cubicle was unappealing.  Someone asked me to build a catio for them so I gave it a try and found it to be both fun and rewarding.

One thing led to another, and after building a few more catios I felt like I had enough experience to create a website and start a business.  Austin has a lot of cat owners, a great year-round climate, and people were just starting to become aware of catios.  Soon building catios became a full time job, and now in my seventh year I am hardly able to keep up with the demand.

Cats enjoying their catio built by David Murphy.

Being able to combine my love of cats and carpentry has really been a treat for me.  It’s pretty wonderful having a job where the definition of success is happy cats!  Cat owners are always thrilled to see their cats having a safe and fun way to experience the outdoors, and the birds and other wildlife in their yards are safe from the cats and provide endless entertainment for them.  I developed my own style of catio construction and while all my projects are somewhat similar, each is one of a kind designed specifically for that client’s setting.  Large screen porch catios, which provide a wonderful space that cats and their people can enjoy together, have become very popular.  Every catio I build has lots of perches at many different levels to provide enticing spots for cats to look out and enjoy nature.

In 2020 with everyone spending so much time at home during the pandemic,  people have been looking for projects around the house and catios have been more popular than ever.  It’s challenging and fun turning an old back porch or empty spot in the yard into a kitty oasis – and while the challenges of being a one person business are many, it sure beats sitting in a cubicle!

Interested in working with David? Check out his business page.

Featured image (above): Some of David Murphy’s happy clients enjoying their catio.

This post is part of a February 2021 series promoting the benefits catios have for both cats and wildlife. Learn more about catios and why they’re important for protecting native wildlife.