Sunday, April 23, 2017


When we got Rio he was an outdoor cat. An outdoor cat who had gotten lost like 4 times in three months. His owners told us he was at Kentucky Fried Chicken for a week and they were feeding him. He also got attacked by a dog and had a $1500 vet bill. He had been through a lot in his 14 months of life before we got him.

We know what happens to outdoor cats here. Our last cat, Max, did fine outside for 3 years up here. And then one night, he left and never came home. It still makes me sad that his life ended in the jaws of a coyote. My friend has actually seen a coyote walking down our street with a cat in his mouth.

This was on my front door when I walked out this week.  It's the remnants of a bunny.  Well, his intestines and I think that pinkish thing is his kidney.  We have bunnies all over, and I think this was a baby bunny that Noah was feeding every day.  I don't have the heart to tell him. So, he keeps feeding the bunny and nobody is eating the carrots.  So, I throw them out.  And Noah feeds them again.  Anyway, you can tell this was not a basic house cat killing a bunny.  This was something savage.  Most likely a coyote....AT OUR DOOR.

So, we've kept Rio as an indoor cat. We thought he wouldn't be okay with it, but he didn't seem to mind. We used to open the window and let him sit in the windowsill, but then one time, he pounced to get a bird and fell right through the window and bent up the screen. He wonders in our garages and he's pretty happy with that.  But, there is still nothing like a fresh breeze in your face and sunshine on your body.

Then, I saw a catio on pinterest.  It's a cat patio.  Oh, this would be perfect.  I showed it to David.  He got a Kindle for Christmas and he loves Pinterest.  Next thing I know, he's pinning catio's and we have lots of ideas.

Neither one of us knew how much work this would entail.  It literally took all weekend.  We went Friday after work and got the wood.

Then, the fun began on Saturday.  We cut three sides of our screen and put some duct tape at the bottom.  This way the flies don't come in when he's out there.

Then, we cleared a 4x4 space under the window and Noah and I put down pavers.  We figured they'd be a good way to stabilize everything.  Plus, I didn't want Rio using this as a litter box since once it's enclosed, we don't have an easy way to get in there and clean it.

Noah was a good helper.

Then, David cut the wood. 

We pick up so much stuff at yard sales.  That saw, table and square were all from yard sales.

And then we got a sweet surprise!  Our peach tree finally has some peaches on it!  We planted this tree 10 years ago and nothing year after year.  We're hoping we get some peaches!

Today, we woke up and got to work again. We painted the boards.  Emily and Noah helped. This isn't Ben's thing.  We had paint left over from our house, so we had some nice expensive paint that matched the house.

And all the while, Rio watched us from the window.

Then, he was bored with us and took a nap.

Then, Noah took a nap.  It was a long process and we ran into little hitches with just about everything. Seriously, it's not a 2x4 if it measures 1 5/8 x 2 5/8.  When it comes to wood projects, you don't just round up and call it good!

We finally got all the sides and shelves up and it was time for the chicken wire.  Which, I got at a yard sale!

Emily and I had gone to the dollar store on Friday and got some toys to decorate the inside.  So, Emily put everything in there.  You know, because every cat needs a pinwheel and boa!

And we were done!  It took almost all weekend, well about 5 hours yesterday and 5 today.  But, we have a beautiful catio!  It was time to let Rio through the window and he was loving it!

We are happy he loves it.  And happy it's done!  We make a good team, David and I.  


Linda said...

This is EXCELLENT!!! First, I LOVE your narrative and the photos. All make me smile. Then, the great result. What a fantastic thing for Rio and for all of you. :) Our two cats do go on our patio with us but only supervised while we're there and they basically just hang out on the patio. We don't have threatening wild life like you, other than hawks who don't fly in while we're out there. The only "threats" we have are other neighborhood cats (like "Yard Cat" ) who silently appear when we don't expect it, so we have to watch our two who are less than thrilled with the visiting cats. Anyway... great work and I'm impressed!

Love, Linda

Anonymous said...

Love it. You guys all did a GREAT job and Rio is one lucky cat. I won't show Eli because I know he will be jealous. Hope it works out for the best.

Anonymous said...

Nice work, everyone! Rio is a lucky kitty!!

Anonymous said...

So sad to see that the bunny has left the scene. The pics of the family hard at it are terrific..Rio wins in the end..David is real handy with projects and Ben has enough sense to stay clear of frenzied activity..Gina as usual was an able marshal at making the whole thing come together

Anonymous said...

I love love n adore the catio!! When I'm at ur house Rio is always looking out a different window in the house..Gina, u n David n the kids did a superb job..:) from all the pics I can tell Rio is so happy to be outside.. :) xoxo momma

Piper AndTheKids said...

Rio is one lucky kitty :) My kitty used to come and go as he pleased but he's turning fifteen very soon and he's old and slow so he's strictly indoors (he's tried to sneak out a few times but he's too slow and I catch him)--I've been texting the husband pictures of catios he could build for the geriatric kitty but he just keeps saying the cat could just go outside into the dog kennel :p I'm not sure he can even push the doggie door open since its a heavy duty one made for a german shepherd