Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cuckoo for my cats!


{Please do not just steal my photos and upload to your website. I have had numerous people trying to steal these photos for their websites. Please contact me first about possibly doing a feature!}




I'm not only cuckoo for design but also for animals.
My 4 kitties mean the world to me and if I could afford more pets, I would.

Meet our furry rescued children (you can read some more about their antics here):

Heidi who hides, our chubby 16 year old Manx {all the cats are obviously older by now ;) }. She was our first cat, rescued by a vet from euthanasia. She is my snuggler.

DIY outdoor cat enclosure

Hiding Heidi
Hairy Harry, our 15 year old Maine Coon. He is our sickly problem child with his heart murmur, seizures, bladder and litter box problems, but I love him dearly! I brought him home after going to Petsmart over the weekend. I didn't know that they had adoption day and couldn't walk past his cage. He was already 8 years old when I adopted him. He was the oldest one for adoption and I know how hard it is for old pets to find a home. I will never go to a store on adoption day again. I feel so bad for them all!

{UPDATE: Harry passed away May 13th, 2013. You can read about his story by clicking HERE. He will be missed forever!}


DIY outdoor cat enclosure
Hairy Harry (this is what he did when he came home from the shelter, doesn't he look so relieved to be home)

Silly Lilly and yes I have a daughter named Lilly too. I've always loved the name but never wanted kids. So when my husband brought our little polydactyl calico kitten home 13 years ago, I named her Lilly. When our daughter was born 7 years later I couldn't resist naming her Lilly too. After all they won't go to school together. Isn't she cute?

DIY outdoor cat enclosure
Silly Lilly


And 12 year old tiny cotton ball Lucy, unfortunately nothing matching rhymes with her name. She is so small but don't let her size fool you. She is a very feisty little thing and doesn't take any bullying from the other furry kids. Everybody loves her the minute they walk into our house. My husband brought her home from the shelter when I sent him to donate some food and blankets. He fell in love with her because she was the loudest cat in the place. She loves to talk.

DIY outdoor cat enclosure
tiny Lucy

Another update: we recently opened our home to a stray that lived in our neighborhood for four years. Meet former porch cat (Molly) Monkey who is blind in one eye. (read more about her HERE, HERE and HERE)

Molly Monkey

I always felt bad about keeping my cats inside but I also know that there are so many dangers awaiting them outside. We happen to live in an area where there are numerous busy streets and also an outdoor shooting range. Unfortunately a lot of people hate cats and do unspeakable things to them. So as they reached the senior citizen stage, I couldn't take it any longer because I felt so bad about them never lying in the sun, breathing the fresh air, watching birds, squirrels and butterflies... so I started to think. After searching the net I saw that there are several professionally made outdoor cat cages and some home made ones. And I started to wonder if I would be able to do the same in our small neighborhood without it sticking out like a sore thumb.
It's not the prettiest design decision to have a chicken wired enclosure in your back yard and I'm sure a lot of my neighbors thought that I had finally lost it. I certainly got enough questions about what the heck I was doing now in our backyard (you can see more of our garden here).
It took me pretty long to come up with the exact plans and materials on how I was going to build the enclosure. I had many trips to Lowes and Home Depot to look around for what type of wire mesh, hardware and wood I was going to use.
I started with drawing out some plans and after finishing the cage and comparing the childish looking plans to the actual cage, I came pretty close to what I dreamed of doing. I wish I could find them so I could post them here to show you.

DIY outdoor cat enclosures


DIY outdoor cat enclosures


DIY outdoor cat enclosures


DIY outdoor cat enclosures


I started with the small enclosure around the living room window. I purchased Ideal Pet Products Sash Chubby Kat Medium Pet Door, 27 to 32-Inch, a cat door that was made for windows. I'm really happy with the small door but I do take it out in the winter time and make the cats stay inside when it gets cold. The draft is just too much.

DIY outdoor cat enclosures


living room with cat door window
On the right you can see the cat window in our living room.


brackets for outdoor cat enclosures
support brackets for the tunnel

I used galvanized hardware for decks to put the structure together. From the window I had a tunnel run along the fence through a bush and the main cage is hidden behind our large lilac bush.

This is the way I supported the tunnel along the fence. I started with 2x2's screwed level along the fence. I made my own brackets with galvanized angles. I once again wish I would have taken pictures along the way but was to eager to get the job done.



building of the cat enclosure

how to build a cat enclosure

how to build a cat enclosure

DIY outdoor cat enclosure

I screwed cedar planks on top of the brackets. Then I attached the galvanized wire with an air compressor staple gun to the fence, folded it over and attached it to the other side of the cedar planks. After that I attached some pressure treated wood planks to the front of the wire, so you couldn't see the staples. Doesn't my Lilly look happy in her outdoor tunnel? My mom calls it the lions den.

DIY outdoor cat enclosure
Oops, still need to finish re-staining the fence!

DIY outdoor cat enclosure
tunnel vision


DIY outdoor cat enclosure


DIY outdoor cat enclosure
Harry was loving life rubbing himself on the catnip.


cat enjoying outdoor cat enclosures


cat enjoying outdoor cat enclosures
Before I extended the left side.

cat enjoying outdoor cat enclosures





cat enjoying outdoor cat enclosures


DIY outdoor cat enclosure to keep your indoor cats safe by cuckoo4design




I know that a wired cage isn't the prettiest garden design but now my furry children are finally able to enjoy spring, summer and fall with us outside. I love seeing them enjoy the outdoors.
I hope I'm not the only one out there that is cuckoo for animals and goes to great measure to make the furry children happy.
Did you ever do anything crazy for your pet?

Well, thanks for stopping by fellow webbers and if you liked this post and my cat craziness, then I would appreciate it sooo much if you'd show a fellow cat lover some support and like my facebook page.

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196 comments :

  1. WOW! Julia! That is unbelievably awesome! What a super fun idea and gorgeous job!I LOVE IT!

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  2. Oh my goodness, this is so wonderful! I have a friend that will be moving soon, and her cats will not be able to go outside once they move, I will show her what you have done here. Fabulous and so incredibly kind.

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  3. OMG! I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!! My cats would be in HEAVEN! We need to figure out how to do something like this! Thanks so much for sharing your idea with us! It's AWESOME!

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  4. this is amazing......i keep telling hubby we need to find something to let our cookie out in on these beautiful days she just loves being at open windows or patio doors watching anything that moves......if i got him to build this i would need more cats!!

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  5. This is SO FANTASTIC. Yay for happy cats! :)

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  6. I saw this on DIY Show Off and had to come over! At first I wondered why, but after reading your reasonsings, I totally agreed. I'd be afraid of letting my cats out too if I lived near all of that. My two cats will check out the outdoors but will normally rush back in if they see anything or anyone. One is a little bit more brave, but I just have to yell at him if he goes out our front door. Our back yard is completely safe but if not, I'd want what you have. I already want your landscaping!!! Great ideas and well done too.

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  7. Oh, how I love this. I had 8 cats at one time, 7 were strays and my son got 1 from his girlfriend at the time. Well, we moved to the busiest subdivision in the South and 2 were hit by cars and 3 more were sick. I wish I would of done something like this. One of the ones that got hit by a car looked like Hairy Harry. What an awesome tunnel! I am a new follower as well.

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  8. That's a great idea! You did a beautiful job and, I am sure, have made your cats very happy! ~~Rhonda :)

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  9. New follower as well. Love this idea and your passion for your cats.

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  10. Wonderful idea, they can't catch the birdies either....

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  11. Thanks everyone for the kind comments! Yes, I have very happy and spoiled kitties!

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  12. I found you from DIY Show Off. I am definitely a fan. Took all of one second to love your blog.

    I REALLY LOVE THIS!!! I have been wanting such for years now and thanks to you I at least have a better plan. I just need money and tools, supplies and stuff to do it. It is on my wish list.

    Thank you ever so much!

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    1. Thank you and good luck with your plans/project!

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  13. Another 'Legal Alien' here!! (I am English and now live in Oklahoma!)
    Just wanted to say a BIG thank you!!! You post finally convinced my hubby that cat houses don't have to be ugly and he made one for our cats this weekend!! I can see tunnels and bigger cat houses in our future!! Thank you!

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  14. Oh, thank you so much for your post! I thought I was the only one completely freaking out about my cat getting hit by a car or eaten by a fox (a big problem where I live)... My neighbours call me crazy!

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    1. LOL, my neighbors call me crazy too!

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    2. I used to think this was kinda crazy, but now I'm all for it! One of my two little guys just got hit by a car and is in surgery. We live in a relatively nice neighborhood but thinking of my sweet little guy's poor bloody gnarled face due to someone not paying attention / obeying the speeding limit makes me so upset.

      I really like what you're doing here:
      1) I hate to see animals suffer and being hit by a car at three years old is much worse than being a little confined but living 10+.

      2) These vet bills are so far outrageous (but I'm so happy he's gonna be okay). I'd rather spend $1000+ on something like this than a $2000+ vet bill plus the uncertainty of one of them getting hurt again in the future.

      3) This will be saving the lives of many local birds and keep these cats from getting in fights other hood cats.

      4) You made these look so good! I'm amazed.

      Sorry for the rant, thanks for the post!

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    3. I'm glad your baby will be ok! How terrible that he got hit by a car.
      I hope you can work something out so he can stay safe outside.

      Delete
  15. Do you have to protect them from fleas, since they can get into the grass?

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    1. Yes, I do. I use revolution to protect them from fleas, flea eggs, ticks, ear mites and worms.

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  16. What a wonderfully large, absolutely safe area for your cats -- & I actually love the wire among your gorgeous garden. I've always felt sorry for indoor cats 'stuck' inside but this is the perfect solution.

    Introduced by DIY Showoff, I'm a new follower -- I love your unique ideas & am looking forward to exploring more.
    dawnedesign.net

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  17. What a great idea! We have 5 cats and were just trying to figure out a way to let them enjoy being outdoors without worrying about them being in danger. I'm sorry if you've already covered this, but could you tell me what size planks you used for the tunnel? Also, what size is the cage where they can lay in the grass? I just want to make sure it's comfortable for all 5 of my cats. Thanks so much for the great idea and your help!

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    1. Thank you!
      Our cage is 36" deep x 62" high x 118" long. I'd love it if the actual cage would be larger but our yard is so small. With 5 cats it would be better to have it bigger. Mine like to fight sometimes when they are too close together, so the bigger the better.
      For the planks I used 5 1/2" wide cedar planks which they had in the fencing section at Lowes. You could use pressure treated planks as well but I didn't want my cats to walk and sit on all those chemicals.
      Oh, and I stained all the wood before putting it up. It made things much easier.
      I hope this helps. Let me know if you need more help! I'd love to see what you come up with.
      I love that other people care as much about their pets as I do.
      Good luck!

      Delete
    2. What type of galvanized wire did you use, exactly? I'm looking on the Home Depot website and am not seeing any fencing like yours. Do you remember exactly what it was? I have a cat, we live in the middle of the city and would hate to see something happen to her. I would LOVE to build her a little kitty play-yard outside like yours. Thanks for the great idea!!

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    3. Hi Tonya, I don't think they sell this stuff online and I'm pretty sure I bought it at Lowes. It was in the fencing section where items are for kennels and other pet cage materials.
      I hope that helps.

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  18. Was für eine tolle Idee. Ich habe selbst seit 20 Jahren Katzen. Als ich noch bei meinen Eltern wohnte hatte ich eine Freigängerin, die tragischerweise nach 3 Jahren überfahren wurde. Es war furchtbar. Nun wohne ich mit 2 Katerchen in einer Etagenwohnung. Hier können sie nicht raus. Aber ich habe vor, ihnen meinen Balkon zu sichern und zugänglich zu machen.

    Toller Blog. Habe die Seite gleich gespeichert.

    Ganz liebe Grüße aus Norddeutschland!

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  19. Ach und Deine Katzenfamilie ist total süß. Meine habe ich auch meist aus dem Tierheim. Diese Tiere sind besonders dankbar.

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    1. Hallo und danke! Schön einen Kommentar aus Deutschland zubekommen. Freue ich mich sehr darüber!

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  20. OH. MY. GOD. You are my cat lady hero!!!!!!! Your four are so adorable and so lucky to have you! I just have one and she is a bit of a diva -- she deserves this! Not sure how it would work in my yard but you have thoroughly inspired me. Thank you!!!

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  21. Hi,
    This is a fabulous idea!!
    Recently had to leave my home and have moved into an apartment with a very large balcony. I want to be able to enjoy the balcony and allow my cat to go out as well. I've been trying to come up with something that would work for both of us and your ideas have certainly helped me.
    Many thanks,
    Cathy

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  22. What a wonderful idea. We have two cats and they like being outside. I grew up on a farm with all outside cats. My cats have harnesses and long leashes. They are not left outside unattended, but this would let them roam somewhat more freely, and I would still have piece of mind that they were ok. thank you

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  23. I absolutely love this. I totally get it.

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  24. Amazing! I have been toying with the idea of making some kind of outdoor enclosure for my next kitty (lost my beloved 16 yr old girl a year ago) which could be accessed through a pet door. I'd never heard or seen of anything like it before -- until now! You did an awesome job. I, too, worried about what it would look like, but yours actually looks GOOD, IMO. Thank you so much for posting this. You have made me even more anxious to add some furry love back into my life. My next kitties are going to be SO happy!

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  25. Hey Julia...I made this my first stop, and couldn't believe my luck when I zeroed in on your cat enclosure! I have been searching for ideas for too long to remember, and I think your adaptation is fantastic. When I make the sea change, I'm going to bear this in mind. H :)

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  26. I LOVE this! I am going to do this at the beginning of 2013-- Thank you so much for sharing how to do it. Can I ask you about the ballpark of what the material cost was? If that is too personal, then I apologize! We have 5 cats and they would love something like this! I will definitely post pictures next year when we complete it! :)

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    1. Hi Lisa, NO it's not too personal at all! The only problem and reason why I didn't post the costs on here is that I'm not sure. I took so many trips back to Lowes for more material that I can't remember and I didn't keep the receipts. The project was before blogging and I never thought that I'd need pictures of the during or a list of material costs. If I'd have to guess, I'd say around $300-$400 maybe! And it would have been way cheaper if I wouldn't have used cedar fencing planks for the walkway. I didn't want to use pressure treated wood (too much poison) for the areas they walk on and I wanted it to match my fence which is cedar.
      I hope that helps a little.

      Delete
  27. Hallo Julia,
    I just stumbled across your blog hopping from DIY blog to DIY blog, you had me at the first post I hit, the bowl turned ceiling light, but after reading THIS one, I must tell you, I think I love you! Seriously, chapeau for the thought and effort you put in this project and the great way it turned out to be. Congratulations! Plus, I do think you have a lovely garden, so nice to see one like that, correct me if I' m wrong, but gardening does't seem to be top priority in american homes, even the ones with a nicely decorated interior, right? Now for the things I do for my furry critters: getting up in the middle of the night to let them in/out, worrying sick when they don't come home on time, spending one week of my vacation fighting the fleas they brought in the house....yes they are all gone now, and no I will not skip another profender treatment, even if it means they hate me for the next day....and I'm off to read more of your posts now, ganz viele liebe Grüße aus Mainz,
    Katrin

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  28. Hallo Katrin,
    ich freu mich so sehr über einen Kommentar aus der Heimat! Thank you so much! And yes you are right gardening isn't a priority unless a landscape company is doing it at least for some ;) I love to work and be in our garden.
    Hoffentlich bis bald!

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  29. I LOVE it. I must know: how do you get your cats to come back inside? I used to let my adventure-cat outside on a leash/harness, but she started bolting every time we opened the door. I can't imagine getting her inside from such an awesome play pen!

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    1. Thanks Audrey!
      They have a window door (you can see it in my living room photo) and can come in or go outside whenever they want to. They love it! They even managed to bring me a yucky present inside already ;)
      Stop by again.

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  30. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your creative solution! We have a tiny 4.5 lb dog and HAWKS, big ones. It is always terrifying taking her out for business and we feel so badly that she's never gotten to romp in the yard free like our last dog, but it's just too dangerous. I stand over her watching the sky, praying I would react quickly enough if...but I've seen videos on TV and know I wouldn't be. They sit just over my head in our trees and watch for her. When I see them I have her use a potty pad inside instead, but she ought to be able to enjoy nature like God intended. Your plan has given me ideas and we might just try something, thanks to you. Of course, I couldn't have a floor on ours due to "business", and I worry about how to handle the grass growing, but your beautiful domed creation has given me hope!! Thanks so much and your kitty babies are blessed to have you! http://lynettesphotoart.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Lynette! That would totally work for a tiny dog. In fact my mom and I just talked about it the other day. I know that hawks are a huge problem. I want a little dog sooo bad but my cats would be NOT happy at all.
      I hope you find a solution!

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  31. Awesome- Love how you put in with tress and shrubs and they can come and go as they please in/out of the house. IF you ever want to build one for me-
    Game on- Otherwise- I will have to try= Not very good at this sort of thing, but hey= neve know- I just might turn into a pro.
    I have a Maine Coon as well, Prince Charaming, I am his obedinet servant, and I do bow to his every wish and command. He also has a heart condition and spends more money on pampering and vets than I do.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful Kitty resort.

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    1. LOL, I'm an obedient servant as well and I have spent a ton of money (don't actually want to know the number) on my cats already.
      I'm glad you like the kitty resort, maybe you can come up with your own...good luck!

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  33. Julia, you have the luckiest kitties ever. If you lived near me, I'd pay you to build something like that for my beloved Max. I don't dare let him out because in addition to the cars zooming around here, we have a HUGE problem in metro Atlanta with coyotes...and they eat cats. I love this idea! Your kitty babies are soooo cute! If you would like to read about how I adopted Mr. Max, his story is here: http://betweennapsontheporch.net/a-story-of-adoption-and-healing/
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.
    XO

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    1. Your Max is so cute! Love the story about how you adopted him. I only picked my Harry, he was love at first sight! The others, who I love just as much, were picked for me. I'd take anything furry into my home, LOL ;) I wish I'd have more money to take them all.

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  34. Beyond amazing. You obviously love your cats so much to go thru with this project. So so sweet. Thank you for sharing.

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  35. Found this on Pinterest. I just wanted to let you know this is fantastic! I have 3 cats that I'd love to have outside, but I don't want them getting away. We have a second story deck with no stairs, so I'm afraid of letting them out there for fear of them jumping off of the deck. I'll have to show this to my husband and see what we can do! :) Thanks for the idea!

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  36. You are an amazing woman!!! My cat, Edgar, would love to be able to go outside (he sneaks out on the porch with me). I get worried because he has such bad allergies and I don't want him to be an eagle snack. This would be great!!!

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    1. Hi Laura,
      maybe Edgar should have one for himself then too, right?

      Delete
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  41. That is so awesome!! My kitty would love it! Too bad my hubby wouldnt go for it.

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    1. Aww, I think you should try to convince him ;)

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  42. Hey there. I am a definite cat lover and over the years have had so many with their different characters. After my husband passed I had to move on and give up my cats, which was really heartbreaking. I now live in Australia and in a rental where animals aren't permitted. I think your invention is WONDERFUL and if I had my own property I would definitely think about making something similar. Congratulations.

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    1. Thank you. I couldn't imagine having to give them up. I love them with all my heart!

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  43. This is a fabulous idea!! I can't wait till we get a house and I can do this for my kitty, Lexi. She loves to go on the back porch, but we are 6 stories in the air! It's not like she can go play in the grass and chase birds. Instead she just looks at them from behind the bars and chirps non stop at them. This is truly an inspiration for me :) Thanks for posting and loving your furry babies so much!

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    1. I'm glad you like it. I hope you can make one for your Lexi when you move into your home.

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  44. Nice! I saw it on Pinterest ... and I think my cats may have a tunnel in their future. I like the way you kept it under the fence line.

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    1. Thank you and good luck with your kitty project.

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  45. I've had cats every day of my life. My parents, who currently have 5, have a system like this that goes down the side of their house and under the porch. I have 11 babies and I've decided that yours looks so nice, i'm going to build something like this on the front of my house. My bedroom *down* and my living room *up* windows line up quite well. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Amanda In Canada

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    1. Hi Amanda, I'm always so glad to see that people like this. Good luck with your project for your furry babies.

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  46. I'm glad to see that we aren't the only family that fell for the PetSmart adoption weekends! We too have four rescue kitties and I would love to have a system that you have set up for your furkids. Looks like they really enjoy it!

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    1. I'm sure your furkids would love it too ;)

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  47. I would love one of these for my Gracie and Joplin when my fiancé and I buy a house! One quick question, how do you keep mice and squirrels and other undesirables out of your house with this cage in place? I'm not talking about the dead ones the fur kids bring in but the live ones that can find a way in on their own? The possibility of them finding their way into our home is the only reason my fiancé says no.

    Thanks,
    Nat

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    1. Hi Nat,
      I've had this enclosure for a little over 3 years now and nothing besides my cats has entered my house yet except the dead vole that my Lillycat proudly gave me one day. She was so proud of herself! But that's it!
      I feel like the squirrels are way too smart. They look at my cats from outside the cage.
      I can tell your fiancé personally that he doesn't need to worry but if he is still worried, he could use smaller chicken wire!

      Delete
  48. I have never grinned so much while reading a blog! This is the best idea ever! I only have 1 kitteh, (4 pups) but Reba-the-cat would LOVE this!!!!
    Can't wait to show The Husband...I pinned you - hope your get a bazillion visits :)
    hugs and smooches to the babies
    Robin
    All Things Heart and Home

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    1. I'm sure your Reba would totally love it.
      I'm glad you liked it ;)

      Delete
  49. We have 5 cats and I would love to do this! My outside window goes to a deck though. I am going to see what I can do for this at my own house. I remember growing up a neighbor had all these for his pets and it was such a neat idea. I love seeing yours.

    trisha
    momdot.com

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    1. Thanks Trisha, I'm sure there is a way to do this with a deck.

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  50. Love this idea! My husband and I have been thinking about doing something for our two kitties, Lucy ( I call her Lucy Goosey) and Tempe. We live in a condo with a small back yard and tons of stray cats running around. We done the harness and leash thing, but they just put up with the harness to be outside. (they walk so weird with it!) I will have to show the Hubby this to start coming up with plans! Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Haha, I know what you mean with the harness...they look so funny! We tried it as well.
      I'm glad you like it.

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  51. I love you! Seriously you are an awesome pet parent for building for you babies. This gives me great ideas for mine.

    thank you

    leigh anne

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  52. I have to say I am very impressed with your wonderful cat project. I think it looks fantastic and if anything adds a certain flare to your garden. Your cats look so happy and it is nice to know that there are people that go to those lengths to save their furry friends.
    Thanks for sharing
    Regards
    Sandy

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    1. Thank you so much Sandy! I would do anything for my furry kids.

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  53. I know this is an old post but, I just came across it. Love, love, love, your lion's den. I am an animal rescuer and also have an outdoor enclosure. I too don't like forcing a cat to stay indoors if in fact it would enjoy going outdoors. It's unnatural. Great job.

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    1. Thanks so much and it doesn't matter if it's an old post, I still love hearing comments and support!

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  54. Hi Julia! I just discovered you through your home tour on 6th street design school and I LOVE your blog. You combine my two favorite things - design & kitties! I have 8 special needs cats who I love and your enclosure is awesome. It's great to see someone else out there who loves their furry children just as much! :-)

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    1. Hi Kelly and thank you so much for you sweet words. I do love my furry kids a lot and I'm always happy to hear from people that don't think I'm cuckoo for doing this ;)

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  55. This makes me happy inside. Especially the happy, sprawled out kitty pictures. I have a kitty and only let her out when I'm home. I don't think I could bear to keep her cooped up inside. I'm lucky to have one that stays close and comes right home when I call her.

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    1. Thanks Genevieve. You are lucky that your kitty doesn't go far!

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  56. This is so amazing! I showed your blog to my bf and he's already thinking of how to design an outdoor kitty cage for our kitty in our backyard :)

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  57. Julia, I love it! I too have a 'cat terrarium' as we call it. I am currently in a rental so mine isn't as fancy as yours. I also used a cat door, and I used a Christmas tree stand to put a large branch up like a tree. There are a couple pics on instagram or google at #catterrarium. I am saving yours as inspiration for when I buy a house next year.

    I too think cats need to be indoors, and now that we have lived with a cat terrarium, my cats and I will never be without. They are so much happier and never try to escape out the door.

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    1. I'll check it out. I call mine the lion's den :)

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  58. Such a wonderful idea - and then you followed through and made it even more awesome! <3
    One question:
    1) How do you clean it? High pressure hose? (from bird poop, cat upchucks etc)
    Thank you again - so inspirational. Can't wait till I have my own house again so I can do something like this. Greatly appreciate all the info and tips!

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    1. Thanks so much and you guessed right, I use a pressure hose to clean the planks.

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  59. This is one of the greatest ideas I have ever seen. My indoor cat would love something like this..sigh, but I don't have the room outside for an idea this large. but I think I can figure out how to make something similar to this on a small scale. thanks so much for posting...Bonnie Schulte in WI

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    1. Hi Bonnie, I'm sure you can figure out something smaller. Good luck!

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  60. Such a great idea and I love the tunnel! I honestly dont think its that bad of a garden design either. Some can looks pretty bad, but the way your plants grow up around it makes it look like its suppose to be there. I will definitely be taking ideas from this when I build mine for my 4 furry friends too.

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    1. Thanks so much Kimberly. I was trying to hide it behind plants and I also know that cats like to sit and hide behind plants so it's a win-win situation.

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  61. Your idea is inspiring! BEST DIY I've seen on Pinterest.Thank you for sharing this. Your cats are so lucky to have you!

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words :)

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  62. Beautifully done! We would love a similar setup for our girls! Looking at the photos of yours, I was picturing holes drilled onto some of the planks so the cats could reach their paws through and peer through at stuff going on below.....

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  63. Thanks for sharing such an interesting post. I am so excited to read your post about Cat resorts. I am also fan of cats. It's such an interesting news for me.

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  64. I loved reading about your cats. My husband and I are "cat" people and we also planned to be childless. But we are both now in our mid 40's and have a beautiful 4 year old son and his name is Lucas. Our families thought we were crazy naming our son after one of our cats. We had a cat named Lucas (I bottle feed him and his 3 siblings - Albert, Moses, & Baby Dumplin). While all 4 have gone over the rainbow bridge (I still miss all 4 of them), I will no longer feel awkward or embarrassed (or even crazy) about our son's name in connection with our fur baby's name, thanks to your story about Lilly.

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    1. Aww what cute names. And don't ever be embarrassed again!!

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  65. We've got an enclosure for our 4 cats, not as big as yours though. We live in WA state, and get temps down to -20 and our cats go out year around. I did a double door (thick flexible plastic) in our pet window, and insulated the pet window as much as I could. We keep it open during the day, only when we're home. We've got one side that's got a windbreakand a cat box, it's also got a full roof. Our cats love going out there, we've got wild critters that come around, raccoon, deer, squirrels, and lots of birds so there's plenty for them to look at.

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    1. Sounds like a great idea to insulate the window.

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  66. awww this makes me miss my sweet handsome cat so very much. he had been gone missing for over a week now :( its been raining lately. makes me cry sometimes. wonder if he's alright..eat well.. what a heartbreak..

    love all your kitties...

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    1. I'm so very sorry to hear that! This has to be terrible. Poor little kitty. You can just hope that maybe someone took him in. Did you hang up some flyers? Call the local vet?
      Good luck and I hope you find your handsome baby.

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  67. Thank you so very much for posting this. I found your picture of part of your cat run on Pinterest, which had a link 'youramazingamazonplaces.com' that took me there, then a link to here. I put your direct link on the comment section so people could hit it and come here....a shorter route. I've been talking about doing this for years! We have the garden window and I hadn't even thought of going from that. You ROCK! Thank you so much. You've made my job much easier!

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    1. Thank you so much for putting the direct link on the Pinterest pin. Way too may people have just stolen my pictures and posted my cat run on their sites. I appreciate it!

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    2. Beautiful garden. We have a kennel that attaches to our house, goes along back and around the side which they access though a cat window. I know they would love a run like yours. A few howel horribly when I'm across the yard. What I couldn't see was how you attached the wire to the fence and planks.

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    3. Mine still cry when I'm in the garden and I was thinking of adding some tunnels. The wire is attached with a staple gun the fence and to the walking planks.

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  68. Very interesting and a good imagination to come up with this design, I saw a similar tunnel on another site, made on the ground for chickens, they called it a chunnel (chicken tunnel) I like the idea for keeping both cats and chickens safe!!

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    1. I like the idea of keeping chicken safe too. They get killed by other animals way too often!

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  69. Absolutely lovely place! I adore your area how its made.

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  70. We rescued a kitten in November, 2012. We LOVE her and she loves us. I originally named her Sunny, but, my 2-year-old at the time, couldn't pronounce his "s" and her name was changed to Hunny. :) Fits her perfectly. It's been pointed out to me by friends, that hunny is in EVERY photo I take of our son. And it's true. They are so close. She follows him everywhere. Now that we are enjoying spring, she can't STAND it when we go outside and she can't tag along. I feel so bad because she will sit at the back door and constantly claw at the glass. I don't feel comfortable letting her out in our gated back yard, as, we also have a rescued dog who has been known to do unspeakable things to smaller animals. Hey, she is a dog... that's what she is about. LOL. And, I'm just afraid of honey wandering off, or, picking up flees or mites. SO, when I found your blog post... I seriously almost left work to go home and start building. lol. We have a side yard that isn't being used for anything, that I was dreaming about turning into me and my son's Art Garden this summer. You better believe I will be building a "lion's den" for Hunny so she can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors with us! THANKS for sharing!

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    1. Aww, Hunny sounds like such a sweetheart and I'm sure she will love her lion's den too. Good luck with your project. I would have loved to build a bigger one so I could sit in a screen in area with them but we didn't have the room :(

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  71. I spent 3800 dollars on surgery for my cat when he was hit by a car. This is such a great idea, he hates being kept inside! He isn't to fond of his leash either!

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  72. Now, your my kinda pet owner!!! Good job!

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  73. omg, this is amazing!!!! I want this for my kitty!

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  74. Love it I have something similar to this but portable that we take when we winter in Florida in our camper. My 4 fur babies need to get outside safely down there and we need to keep our sanity.

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  75. Hi, Love your enclosure. You did a great job! In 2010 we only had two boy cats who I would walk outside with a harness and leash. Then a stray mama cat came around and had four babies under our house, My wonderful husband of 28 years went from "we can't keep them", to building me a large outdoor cattery attached to my work shop. Obviously, we kept all and now have the SEVEN cats! They all live in the house, but I take them out to their enclosure most days. It's about 50 x 10 and, with access to the shop, and I have a table and chair in the enclosure so I can just sit with them. They love being "outside" but they are safe. We used an existing chain link fence and netting for the top, so they can't get out. Will be adding a tunnel from our house soon. Your tunnels are beautiful! The things we do for the love of pets!!
    Sad to hear about your Harry. He sounds like he was a special guy. And you can be happy knowing that he spent the best years of his life with you, and because of you. Thanks for your site. Crazy Cat Lady and Catman in New Mexico

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    1. Oh that is wonderful that you kept them all and have them with you in your shop and home. I'm so glad you wrote to me.
      Good luck with your tunnel!

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  76. Hi Julia,

    Great tunnel! I currently have an 80' tunnel and 5000 sq ft cat enclosure in my backyard- the enclosure is commercially designed but we made the tunnel out of chicken wire and some board planks. The tunnel was never intended to be permanent, but just something we could whip up quickly when we moved into our new home to keep our 'pride' safe. Well it's been a few years and the chicken wire has lead to a couple escapes (our cats were safe though, thank goodness!) and it has been problematic because it runs along the grass and has been difficult to maintain. We're in the process of redesigning the run so that it is elevated above ground, perhaps 6" or so, so that we can maintain the grass and keep the weeds down.

    I have some questions about the wood that you used: how was the wood treated? how has it withstood the weather? It seems that it has been a few years since you built the structure and I am wondering if the wood still looks good or if it has turned black or started to rot. I was thinking of using pressure treated wood but don't know if it will withstand the weather long enough to make it worthwhile or if I should use steel or some other construction.

    Any assistance you can provide would be very helpful!! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Sandy,

      I love to hear about other people's enclosure. Yes, I used pressure treated wood for the structure and cedar planks for the walk way because they aren't treated with chemicals. Before I put everything together, I stained all the wood, pressure treated and cedar.
      It's been holding up great. And I just wash it occasionally, I'm sure you know how it goes with the hairballs and all ;)
      Nice to meet you,
      Julia

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  77. Hey! Just wanted to say: your cat enclosure is great! And your kitties are beautiful and look so happy in there! I think you actually did a really good job of making it blend into your pretty garden and not look weird at all. I have two kitties and we have a 4' x 8' enclosure for them in our backyard that they access from a window. The wood we used is untreated, so it's not as pretty as yours, but I did find some dark green wire mesh which helps it blend in with the greenery a little better!

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    1. Thank you so much Natalie! I'm always so happy to hear that other people share our love for cats!

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  78. Julia!!! you are amazing,this enclosure is genius., our Hobbes is 1yr old, we rescued him from outside our house on a very busy road in the shrubs, he was about 2 weeks old barely a pound, and has never really been outside, I will not rescue this sweet kitten to let him outside to lose him to drivers, owls or even coyotes I to feel very guilty about him not going outside, my dog does, it is a fenced in yard, well the cat smacks him on the butt on his way in and out, as if to say I want outside to. this is an incredible idea and one my husband would easily enough be able to build something like it, TY for posting all of this so my imagination can run wild for our Hobbes. so very sorry about your beautiful Harry, he was a very lucky little guy. thanks so much, :)
    Holly

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    1. Thanks so much Holly! I hope that you can find a way to let your Hobbes outside with an enclosure. I'm sure he'd love it ;) Good luck!

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  79. THIS IS AMAZING. I just have an apartment and my cat loves to sit on our very tiny desk with us. Since we're on the second floor it's no biggie, so long as we are out there with him. When we finally have a house one day this will be perfect!!!!!!! PINNED!

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    1. Thanks for liking and pinning. Hope you can give your kitty one too some day!

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  80. this is the COOLEST thing ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! great job!

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  81. ingenius! Saw it over on yhl...I love it. Nice job!!

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  82. What a fabulous idea, I am now following on Bloglovin and looking forward to seeing more!

    xo-
    Brittney
    http://thedivinediabetic.blogspot.com/

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  83. This is awesome! I totally understand how you feel. We had a neighbor move in when I was growing up that forced us to turn out outdoor cats into indoor. It was heartbreaking but we didn't want to take the risk. I'm so glad you were able to help your furry kids! Brings a little tear to my eye because I know exactly how you felt.

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    1. It's also heart braking what people do to cats and that they are the number one reason why they aren't safe outdoor.

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  84. I rarely comment, but I just had to say that I really love this idea, and can't stop looking at the pictures. It's clearly a labor of love and your fur babies are very fortunate to have you :)

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    1. Thanks so much and that's totally what it is, a labor of love.

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  85. I love this idea. My parents have done something similar and we call it a 'catio' - cat patio!

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  86. This is so awesome! I thought my cats were the luckiest cats on earth, but I think you've got me beat.

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  87. Wow! This is great!! I can't let my kitty see or he will be so jealous.

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  88. WOW!! I am so very impressed with your cat enclosure! Talk about TRUE LOVE and being such a GREAT CAREGIVER/MOMMY to them. They are all so gorgeous and lucky to have you. Thank you for sharing! :)

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    1. Yup, it's true love ;) Thanks for coming over!

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  89. Oh Julia!! I showed your pictures to my "tuxedo cat", Bob and he's so excited! I would love to put this outside our bedroom under the shade of the Maple trees and plant some shrubs around it to give him some privacy. He would a adore it! He was a farm cat and misses being able to go outside and prowl around. I have got to put this on the list for next summer's big project! Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos of your project.

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    1. Good luck with you project next summer, I'm sure he'll love it!

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  90. this is like my own dream come true. thanks so much! your cats and you are so lucky :)

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  91. WOW! Julia! That is unbelievably awesome! What a super fun idea and gorgeous job!I LOVE IT!this is like my own dream come true. thanks so much! your cats and you are so lucky. I am so very impressed with your cat enclosure! Talk about TRUE LOVE and being such a GREAT CAREGIVER/MOMMY to them. They are all so gorgeous and lucky to have you. Thank you for sharing! :)
    web design Dubai

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  92. Very Nice Work Julia! You have definitetly done a wonderful job on your cat enclosure. I make and supply Australia with this style of cat runs and enclosures for a living, i know the time that can go into designing and making somthing like this. You have inspired a lot of people, that their cat does not have to live it's life indoors to be safe. I have just written a report on Purchasing A Cat Enclosure that would be usefull for any one looking to make their own cat enclosure and needs more ideas on how it all works. It is Free you just need to sign up to my mailing list. It can be Downloaded at http://catkingdomenclosures.com.

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  93. What a good time your cats seem to be having in their enclosure! I have four kitties and they love to go outside. Ticks are one problem here, but the biggest issue is that the cats eat grass, etc. and then when they come back inside, they puke it up. No fun!

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  94. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. The question is ok. It's easy to clean. A power washer works wonders!

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  95. Great idea ! I really love it !
    All my cats are missing, stolen for their fur or killed by hunters (all of them at the same period, in September)... But I can't live without cats, and either let them locked in house... (sorry for my english, I'm french and not bilingual !)

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    1. Your English is great!
      And that is horrible that they are all missing!

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  96. How cute! One or two of my cats would love this!!

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  97. I LOVE this idea and hope to one day be able to buy it; my girls would love this (yorkie and almost 13-year old Himalyan cat) and so would I!!! I forgot, cat hates dog so it would be just for my cat! Thank you for sharing!!!

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    1. Oh sorry that they hate each other! I'm sure they'd both love it!

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  98. I LOVE this. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. Totally brilliant and my kitties would love it. By the way, I had a Lucy too. When she was naughty we called her LucyFur or Lucy Goosey. Your Lilly is a very unusual looking cat - I love how straight the division is down her face. One of our friends did something similar - to disguise their large-breed (almost people sized!) doggy door, they built a dog house right up next to the house and put it right in front of the doggy door. Then it looked like the dog was just going in and out of the dog house rather than going inside the house. I love clever ideas like that!

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    1. Thanks so much! Love the dog house idea too!

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  99. Wow, I love this! I have two cats that I saved when they were feral kittens and I do wonder if they miss going outside. In the summer I leave my windows open so they can look outside and feel the breeze but it has a wired part so they cant get out. I must keep this idea for the future just incase I ever feel like going nuts for my cats.

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    1. Yes, keep this idea for the future. I'm sure you cats would love it.
      And thanks so much!

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  100. What a fantastic idea! We keep our cats and new kitten indoors too. We feel the same way, too many dangers outside and maybe get hit by a car. This is a safe alternative and I think it looks very nice. Your cats are adorable!!

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    1. Thanks so much I will tell them you said so ;)

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  101. Julia--I really enjoyed your post and would like to try something similar to make a window perch for our cats (our yard is small). I was wondering if you could share how you attached the frame/two planks to the siding around your window? Have you run into any issues such as the siding ripping or water seepage? Would you recommend extending the two planks on the sides of the window all the way to the ground for more support? Thank you so much!

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    1. Hi, I'm glad you liked it. I attached it with bolts, just like you would with a deck and I do have support running down along the wall. So far I don't have any water damage or seepage.
      Good luck.

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  102. This is so cool!!! If I were handy, I'd so be doing something like this. I think it looks amazing :)

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  103. You are truly amazing. Now I either have to find someone who will be willing to walk me through this project so I don't kill myself, or take a few classes on basic woodworking to secure I keep all my digits. This baby is becoming an awesome reality, thanks to you!!!

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    1. Awww thanks so much! And I wish you the best of luck with your project

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  104. Hi there! This is such a beautiful cat run! I just have a few questions, since I'll be making one for my cat in a matter of weeks, and yours is perfect!!! What width is the wood? And what do you use so it doesn't get soggy and gross after a few rainfalls? Thank you so much in advance. I love your cat run, I wish my backyard was big and lush enough to make it look like yours, but unfortunately I'll just have to make do with what I have for now!

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    1. Thank you! I just used regular cedar planks and and I stained everything before assembling it so it doesn't really get soggy and gross. But every year I pressure wash everything which helps a lot.

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    2. Thank you for replying so quickly! I'm sorry to harass you again, but I'd just like to know what kind of plant your allowed to grow around/over it? I wanted to grow ivy but apparently that's poisonous to cats.

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    3. You aren't harassing me at all. I love it when other people are just as crazy about their cats as me. But I'm not really that familiar with plants. I have a lilac bush growing around it and they are doing great with it.

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    4. I'm back for more!! We made an attempt at starting ours today but it didn't work out because we tried chicken wire and it was too flimsy (as I'd guessed it would be, but heaven forbid anyone listen to me lol). Finally I convinced my mum to get the kind of fencing that you used. Only issue though... I have no idea how you secured it to the wood! Am I missing that part in the text or...?

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    5. Hi again, they are like galvanized staples in my aircompressor. You just staple it over parts of the wire, does that make sense? Works like a charm ;) Good luck.

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  105. This is awesome and I can't wait to do something similar. I used to have 4 cats. 2 disappeared, one was poisoned and my last baby has been relegated to the house since I found out the neighbor was trapping cats(possibly something to do with the other 3). Like most, I cannot afford an enclosure ($$$ and too small to boot), but this I can do! Thank you soo much for sharing.
    !

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    1. Oh my, it sounds like you have a terrible neighbor. How awful, I'm so sorry! Why do humans have to be so evil?
      Good luck with making your own enclosure. Sounds like you really need one.

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  106. This is so great! I have three pet rabbits that this would be awesome for. I have no building skills at all so I will have to try and talk my husband into building it. I have to supervise my rabbits outside separately in an X-pen, but their time is too limited outside because I have watch them the whole time. This would be great to have in my backyard so they could run around safely and off of the ground where there aren't any predators. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  107. Your outdoor cat enclosure is super cool! We've featured it in our blog :)

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