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Well I've built them a Catio, now there's only one thing missing....

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by jasperthecat, Oct 18, 2020 at 4:49 AM.


  1. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    ...Jasper and Ollie to be precise!:(

    Over the latter part of summer, between spells of bad weather and illness I've managed to find the time to build them a Catio which cost enough in time and money though that doesn't bother me in the slightest and with the exception of a small amount of finishing off and a couple of extra coats of pet safe wood protection on some of the shelves plus a good garden tidy up, it is for all intents and purposes, completed but the two boys hardly use it and if they do it's only very briefly.

    When the enclosure was partly finished but still cat proofed, they were out there for short periods and maybe up to half an hour occasionally but that was weeks ago and now they hardly ever go out for other than a very fleeting visit.

    I know they're indoor cats so they're not used to being outside but you'd think they'd want to sit outside for a while in the fresh air but we've got to almost push them out even on a pleasant day like today and if it's windy, cool or raining even though there are roofed areas, there's not a chance of them venturing out. They're a right pair of wusses and no mistake and I doubt they would ever survive as outdoor cats:D

    At least my OH makes use of it. The cupboards I built in at the lower right end are home to around 6 - 8 bags of cat litter and a large roll of paper towels, one bag of which of which is used to top up daily the washed, cleaned and dried out litter trays. There's also space to store their two large carriers once dissembled so the cupboard has freed up space in the utility room and garage.

    They have lots of shelves to keep their climbing and leaping skills honed and there is a loo should they need it which is accessed through a locked door from outside.

    There's even a tree in there so there's no good reason why they shouldn't at least enjoy a bit of down time in there but seems they prefer the great indoors.:)

    I've made it so that it can be dissembled and reassembled very quickly so if by next spring they still show no real interest in it, it won't be wasted and my daughter's cats will inherit it!;)

    [​IMG]
     
    #1 jasperthecat, Oct 18, 2020 at 4:49 AM
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 4:54 AM
  2. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    It looks really nice @jasperthecat
    I see a tree branch & some sitting areas which are good. Maybe add some waterproof beds & toys and a scratcher.
    I wonder if the newness still has a scent from the wood treatment which they may not like.
     
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  3. Willow_Warren

    Willow_Warren PetForums VIP

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    It looks great!! Maybe they are waiting for warmer weather (in about 8 months time).
     
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  4. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

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    This is typical of cats with new things. I'm sure they will come round, even if it isn't until next Spring now :rolleyes:.
     
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  5. ewelsh

    ewelsh PetForums VIP

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    Wow well done, huge pat on the back, for that all looks very professional.

    Of course they boys don’t want to use it.... because you want them to use it :rolleyes: the minute you forget about it or go to remove it, they will be in like rockets.

    I say leave it and come next summer when the windows are open and the birds are singing your boys will be loving their new extension sorry I mean catio :D
     
  6. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    The smell of the wood treatment is probably very strong to them and putting them off. They'll claim it in time, don't worry!
     
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  7. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    I can understand the logic behind your thinking but the wood was first treated many weeks ago with a pet safe material which basically has no smell due to having a spirit base which evaporates on exposure to air and therefore leaves it odour free. If I'm building something for outdoor use, I invariably treat the wood to be used with the wood treatment when I first get it delivered so that it protects it whilst waiting for it to be used and this has been exposed to air for many weeks so I know it's not the smell from the preservative which is the problem.

    Today I did some of the finishing off I mentioned earlier while my OH did some gardening chores and as soon as were out there, they were in and out watching us so it seems that the problem is not to do with the smell or construction, it's simply to do with the fact that they like us to be there when they go out!

    That would fit with the facts that when I'm out there doing work which has been less frequent lately due another bout of illness, unless I'm using my noisy sliding mitre saw, they'll sit and watch me so it's more to do with us being out there than probably any other factor.
     
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  8. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Ah, well that makes sense and I experienced the same thing when I first cat proofed my porch. In time, as they get used to it, they most likely will become more independent.
     
  9. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    Well to be fair there was some progress today and we found that they will actually come out into the catio with coercion when we're in the garden, particularly Ollie.

    However, it seems that the boys prefer to stay in the house with us rather than be outside on their own. This might change, though I somehow doubt it as they both like to be with us and Ollie in particular, follows us everywhere in the house unless he's sleeping or Jasper is around to play chase-me with him. My OH works from home at the moment and we have a desk set up in the lounge for her as we don't use that room much and Ollie spends most of his day in there with her.

    It was a lovely day today and I decided to add some cladding to finish off screening the cat loo at shed end of the catio and Ollie was sat in front of me watching me work while I was out there so it seems they just prefer being with us ;)

    Little Ollie, I say little but he's 6.2 kg so hardly little, watching me work.


    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    I think you're probably thinking along the right lines @jasperthecat - Bertie only wants to stay out in the garden for any length of time if I'm out there working ! Otherwise he'll pop out for a short time and then comes back almost immediately. Indoors he always has to be in the same room as me and will follow me around no matter what I'm doing:rolleyes:
     
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  11. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    I'm actually thinking of modifying the small window through which they access the catio from the lounge so that instead of us having to open the window physically to let them out, I get a chipped cat access flap fitted into the glass so that they can come and go as they wish. That might be the best way and it will save the room from getting cold with having to keep the window ajar so that they can come and go as they please.:)
     
  12. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    Well my two seem to be that way.

    Back in July we thought we'd try Jasper with a lead and harness. We'd tried it with Ollie and he was no problem. The day we took Jasper into the garden was nice and calm and he seemed to be enjoying it but I think he was spooked by a large ginger cat that sometimes comes into the garden and which came up the side of the house but scarpered really quick when it spotted us. He too must have spotted it as immediately after he started to bolt and my OH tried to hold him and picked him up but he's a big strong cat and broke free and ran under the conifer hedge and then reappeared but without the harness on him and he then proceeded to run behind the double shed we have in the corner of our garden which is bounded by a 6 foot high wooden fence.
    He reappeared at the other end of the shed but then ran back but when we ran to the other end again he'd literally disappeared and we though he must have somehow found his way out of the garden as he was nowhere to be seen, so the next two hours were spent by my OH and her Mum knocking on people's doors and searching their gardens but without any sign of him.

    We really thought we'd never see him again or that he'd be run over on the bypass maybe 70 metres away.
    I stayed in the garden with both the front and rear doors of the shed open and it was while my OH was in the neighbour's garden for the second time, after deciding that Jasper really isn't a jumper so he mustn't have left the garden I happened to look again in the very darkest corner of the shed and saw what I thought was grey fur poking out from the base of the barbeque which was the same colour. It was only after I'd closed both doors and gently prodded the 'fur' with a pea-stick that it moved and I realised it was him. When I shouted to my OH over the garden fence that I'd found him, she would have beaten Usain Bolt back home.

    Contrary to what we'd thought, Jasper instead of panicking and leaving the garden, he'd headed for somewhere familiar. I'd had him in the shed with me several times over the previous year so he knew it and must have felt safe there and the little so an so must have sneaked in just after we went to the other side of the shed looking for him and had been there all that time. He couldn't have been anywhere else as we'd have spotted him so it shows that if he ever escaped again, he was unlikely to go far.

    Ollie is a bit more adventurous but even he wouldn't go far. I think some cats are just born adventurers while others like Jasper and Ollie are your home birds.:)
     
  13. Ali71

    Ali71 PetForums VIP

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    Ollie is beautiful! Wow...
    That is a great catio! I think you're right about adapting the window, being as contrary as they are they may be thinking if they go out, they will have to stay out, whereby with a catflap they can come and go?
    Mine follow me from room to room too, I think it's fairly standard especially with indoor cats as we are their world...entertainment, comfort, food source lol :rolleyes:. On a nice day could you tempt them in with some treats and sit on a chair on the outside? Hopefully if they can catch sight of some wildlife they will know they have "surround sound live CAT TV" when they come out and could be more willing?.....:)
     
  14. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    Both of mine like bird watching. Unfortunately at the front of the house we have had to cut back a tall species of honeysuckle tree and large clematis and ivy all of which which was overgrowing and a was a source of much pleasure as the birds used it and Jasper and Ollie would spend hours sitting on our bedroom windowsill watching them.

    I started feeding the birds outside the catio and Ollie loved it until there was none there and then he would show his displeasure by wowling at me to get him some birds.:) When he sees me throw out some bread he knows what it means and watches the bread intently for any signs of birds. I have a bird feeding station with nuts, seeds etc at the end of the garden which is used quite heavily by the local birds but I think I'll make one and place it near the catio, which might help. My cats strangely don't like treats so that won't work with them but I'm sure either a bit of raw minced steak or cooked beef or even a very small amount of cooked ham could act as a substitute.;)

    My two are allowed to roam the entire house but prefer to spend their time with us unless they've chosen a special spot in which to nap. If they're awake they're never far from us which as you say is quite understandable given that we are their world as is our home.
    I suspect next summer if we're sunbathing or relaxing in the garden they will be out there. The catio faces North so gets no direct sun therefore it doesn't get too hot for them but it could get cold as the weather cools so I might build them some wooden caves to fit in the shed end with just a small access hole and a slit through which to watch over the garden. That should keep 'em warm and cosy.:)
     
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  15. Kittynanna

    Kittynanna PetForums Senior

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    I was only thinking when I read your first post that they will likely come out when your outside maybe sat out in summer nearby etc, but can see they have now started venturing inside.....it’s really good and I’m sure they will enjoy it.
     
  16. MilleD

    MilleD PetForums VIP

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    You may not have seen this well known graph which could help you out here:

    upload_2020-10-19_17-21-59.png
     
  17. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    I've not seen it but it makes sense!
    We often buy our two a treat in the form of a toy to keep them from getting bored but the interest is usually short lived and they have no end of toys which they never bother with but the two toys that give them most pleasure and guaranteed to get their attention costs literally nothing or almost.

    One is a sheet of A4 paper folded tightly long ways until the whole things is no wider than one centimetre and quite stiff. Poke a little of that out from under a cushion or duvet or blanket and my two will be pouncing on it as long as we'll play with them. They'll even sit together and let each other have a turn. A simple piece of paper and that's all it needs. Of course they will mangle it eventually but we all have unwanted mail and circulars so it's easily replaced.

    The other toy which I first made for Jasper over two years ago and is still the one which we use daily to keep them fit and healthy. It consists of a an old fishing rod toy ( from B&M ) with the original feather wand toy removed and in its place a length of 2kg breaking strain fishing line ( obviously it's very fine), to that I firmly attach a piece of stiff black Ostrich feather about the size of a medium/large house spider and that's it. I have to say it can very realistic once you get used to teasing them with it.

    Once you get used to playing the cats with it, you can emulate a spider crawling or a fly flitting around from surface to surface and they go crazy for it, so much so that these days when a really large spider shows up, especially at this time of year, they're hardly interested where once they would have killed it in seconds. The real thing is not nearly as much fun as catching and 'killing' the toy spider it seems!

    The moment Ollie sees it, he' goes absolutely crazy chasing and will get to the point where we have to stop playing for his own good otherwise he could do himself harm both leaping around into things and getting out of breath. I would add that even though the fishing line is only 2kg breaking strain, never once have they actually broken it through play and they're both 6kg cats.

    Jasper on the other hand is much more hesitant but once he is triggered, Ollie immediately steps back, keeps out of his way and lets Jasper get on with it as Jasper is like an absolute wild cat. Normally he is so placid but his character changes completely. His precision, accuracy and sheer power in his attacks stuns me. Jasper is quite easy going during play and will let Ollie play without interruption but Ollie often jumps in and spoils his fun when Jasper plays with other toys, but even Ollie knows not to do that when Jasper is playing 'spider' as he gets angry if Ollie interrupts and will give him a right bashing so usually Ollie does the smart thing and lets him get on with it! ;)

    I don't know about other people's cats but for my two, the most important ingredient for keeping them happy is by play from us. Cats need the input from humans and not be expected to entertain themselves if they're indoor cats. If they're outdoor cats it's perhaps different but indoor cats need so much more interaction from humans to prevent them from being bored, at least my two do.
     
  18. MilleD

    MilleD PetForums VIP

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  19. jasperthecat

    jasperthecat My best buddies.

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    Well there you go, it's true the more you spend it doesn't necessarily mean the cats appreciate it more. I find with my two it's a case of diminishing returns.:)

    I know I spent a fair bit on the Catio but to be honest, I wasn't bothered about cost, it was the fact that it was a project which I could undertake in my own time so I really enjoyed constructing it. It would have been better of course if they'd been more enthusiastic about going in there but hey ho....there's nothing like a cat for upsetting the best laid plans and I'm sure they'll use it when ready.;)
     
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  20. MilleD

    MilleD PetForums VIP

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    Just tell them you're not letting them in it. That'll do the trick.
     
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