Catio Stories: Nan Hampton

By Nan Hampton

When my last cat, Neko, died, I asked my daughter to help me find new cats. She found Harry Potter and his mom, Annie, at a local shelter. The shelter didn’t want to separate them and that suited me fine. Harry and Annie moved in with me about 10 years ago. I knew I wanted them to be strictly indoor cats since I had lost another cat, Scooter, to a coyote who caught him in my front yard one morning. So, I had the catio built. It is built into the house via my patio door so I can easily access it. The cats have their own cat door built in at the other end of the patio door.

The cats love to go out and watch what’s happening on the patio on the other side of the wire mesh. The catio is built of 2-inch heavy wire mesh over a cedar frame. The wire mesh is heavy enough that it would not be easy to cut through. There is a shelf about halfway up around the inside of the mesh for the kitties to sit on or lie on to take a nap in the sunshine. At each end next to the house is a small bench halfway between the shelf and the patio floor to make it easy for the cats to jump to the shelf.

Other uses can be made of the catio. A friend found a tiny baby bird that had fallen out of the nest and was sure to die.  When the bird was about ready to go on its own he brought it over (along with 1-inch plastic netting to put over the 2-inch netting so the bird couldn’t get out).  The bird stayed in the catio (the cat door was locked so they couldn’t get in) for several days eating meal worms before we released it. After release it stuck around in the trees “talking” to us.

All in all, the catio really protects the birds and the cats and my cats love it and spend lots of time there.

Featured image above is of Nan’s catio (taken from the patio door).

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.