One of our summer projects was to build a patio for the cats to use outdoors, a “catio,” if you will. I thought it would be a fun and enriching way to get the kids outdoors and working this summer, create some lasting memories and get some hands-on skills.
After drafting a couple designs (reminding the kids to aim SIMPLE for this first project) we were ready to buy supplies. This was the first of MANY trips to Home Depot this week. Hooray for minivans fitting 10 foot poles!
We measured and cut the poles down to size.
We got distracted by an enormous caterpillar. My nature app tells us it was a sphinx moth caterpillar.
All hands on deck for sawing.
They kids put together a preliminary cube.
Once we had the cube made, we decided how to cut in more attachment points to add levels.
So much sawing.
Yup, that’s even Sam lending a hand with the tools.
Working all day in the July heat makes you HOT! Snow cones were well-deserved.
Once we have our final form, it was time to color. Both for looks, and to prevent UV deterioration of the PVC pipes.
Jack became quite adept at drilling.
It took us three days of work, refitting, getting more supplies, trying different things, waiting for paint to dry. It took about two days for me to cut and sew the netting in place. In fact, I gave up on giving a nice finish to the joint into the door frame, instead sloppily tacking and taping it into place. At some point you just need to sprint to the finish! Maybe when the weather cools I’ll go back and finesse that part.
(Also, I had another back spasm in yoga class on Tuesday. So between working on the project I was popping ibuprofen and icing my lower back. Didn’t let it deter me from accomplishing out goals!)
Saturday we declared it finished! The pet door was already present in this house, we just never used it before. We put in a log for fun and Sam added netting scraps “for comfort.”
Finally it was time to release the cats!
They LOVE IT. It was even sprinkling rain, but they stayed out feeling the sun and the breeze for a long time.
As I write this post, they’ve been in the catio for 1 1/2 hours. Freddy goes in and out but Nimbus settled down for a nap. We take turns keeping an eye on them in case they find a way to escape or get caught in the net.
I’m glad the cats love it and have a space to get outdoors. But I’m also proud of myself and the boys putting in all this hard work.