Catzebo
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Kitty City - Indoor/Outdoor Cats
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The "catzebo" is the big news for Kitty City this year.  I wanted someplace where the the cats could go outside, but still be protected.  The original feral four (Tuck, Starburst, Fluffy and Brother) were allowed out under supervision and would generally stay close to me, but the roads were getting busier with new houses being constructed on the mountain and I heard reports of coyotes moving in on the next ridge.

The big problem to be solved was how to get the cats to any enclosure.  The driveway ran up to the garage doors and windows looked out onto a sidewalk that had to remain functional.  We had thought about doing an aerial bridge over the sidewalk,  but would have been overly complex and would have required replacing at least one thermal glass window with acryllic, which would not have the same heat retention quality during the winter.

The cats actually solved the problem.  When we went for walks in the woods, the feral four would only cross a gravel road via the drainage culvert.  I had hoped a culvert could be run under the sidewalk, but David, our yard guy, who did most of the construction, found out most of the electrical wires coming in the house ran under the sidewalk right there.  We came up with the idea of using black culvert tubing for a tunnel on top of the sidewalk and putting a small step bridge over the tunnel.

I installed petdoors designed to used in screen doors in the window screens.  This allowed access to the outside, but retained the stock thermal windows which could easily be closed to confine the cats inside when needed.  The windows are enclosed by a small pen which leeds to the tunnel.

The catzebo itself is basically a retangular gazebo (10 ft. x 14 ft.) designed for kitty use.  There is ledging all around and a loft which can be accessed by a ramp or via a large cat tree.  The catzebo and the pen around the windows are covered with tough nylon netting from the Purrfect Fence Company, http://www.purrfectfence.com .  The bottom of the catzebo as well as the window pen are also covered with decorative lattice work.  This provides additional protection and prevents direct contact with any stray or feral cats.

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The cats love the catzebo.  Surprisingly, little Blaze was the first to figure out the pet doors.  Splash has gained even more confidence being outside.  He used to be very afraid of storms.  Now he tries to stay out even in driving rain (of course the catzebo has a full roof).  Also suprisingly, Tuck had the hardest time learning how to use the doors.  It took almost a week and required taping the doors open at various heights until he learned how to open them and still opens them with his paws rather than his head like the others.  On warm nights, the cats even sleep out there.   I have planter with "cat grass" in it so they can munch on fresh greens.  They only downside is them bringing the large bugs (and one bird) into the garage as they did when they were running wild.
 
For now, only the garage based cats use the catzebo.  It does not connect to Callie, Patch, Jade, or Mocha's quarters.  I can block off the tunnel and now that I no longer have to travel out of town for work, I will eventually let them have some fun time out there as well.