Catio

Until this week I didn’t know about catios. My daughter said she thought she invented them. There are websites to buy prefab or to purchase plans to build your own.

This post also serves the purpose to write for a friend follower the story of how I got my cat, since I was never going to have another cat after Mickey.

See why we named him Smoky. He came with his own furry blue blanket.

The backstory is that after having to have my last cat put down at the vets (read here and weep) I was not going to have another cat. I gave away all the cat accoutrements, even the carrier. And, after awhile, I stopped expecting to see that tuxedo cat waiting for me at the end of the driveway.

After a year, my 90 year old mother, who lives with me, began to talk about us getting a cat. I was explicit. “I do not want a cat.”

After hearing that for awhile, she changed her tact. “Well, I would like to have a cat.”

I made limits. It will be your cat. You are responsible for it. It will be an indoor cat so it doesn’t go fight and get injured or catch diseases.

Then, once my mind was open to D. getting herself a cat, things happened fast. I was at a friends for dinner and mentioned the mom/cat thing. “Oh, my neighbor works at a pet hotel and has to give away a female cat who was abandoned at work.” I sent a photo to mom and she and her “babysitter” were all set to go pick up the kitty the next day.

I was in a writing project seminar, when I saw the text from my friend. “The woman came for her cat.” I quickly texted D and M so they wouldn’t drive there and be disappointed. They went shoe shopping instead.

Meanwhile a teacher friend of mine heard this exchange and quietly spoke up. “I think I have the cat for you.” I asked about it being gentle for an elderly lady and willing to be indoors. She keeps rescue cats until they can be placed. She shared this photo:

His profile photo.

Well, the next morning my friend arrives at my house before our seminar with a big, fluffy blue blanket, cat food, and this guy. She explains, “He’s a British Blue, or shorthair. They were bred to be street cats and they are notably friendly with people.”

She explained that her cousin had named him “The Dude” and that he got teary-eyed when she placed the cat with us. Over 16 pounds of cat with very soft short fur and a little quiet voice.

So that indoor cat thing went well for some months. We got string toys and a laser light, and catnip and scratchers, etc. When winter was letting up, however, and I was gardening in the yard a lot, Smoky started expressing his desire to be out, too. He got tired of string chasing.


This took a little time to train him to go out through the cat door and hang out in the backyard rather than heading down the driveway for the street. He went over the fence into my sculptor neighbor’s backyard, which is cat heaven. After an hour or so, I’d call for him and he’d come. He got a treat, so he was trained to come in when he felt tired and I’d lock the cat door and that would be our during the day outing. He wanted to go out in the early and late part of the day, but I refused because that’s when the other cats, some ferral, and the urban critters are out.

You may be laughing at how Mom’s cat so quickly bonded with me. Well, for one thing, I can run around the house and give him stuff to chase while Mom cannot. And he discovered I sleep with a big wool blanket that suited him. Smoky grew very fond of chasing things in piles of tissue paper.

Then, after procrastinating a great while, we took our rescue cat, with the clipped ear for spay and release to the vet at the animal hospital I used to take Mickey. They gave him vaccinations and tested him for kitty aids. They re-tested and he still was positive. So now, he isn’t supposed to go outdoors since he is immuno-suppressed. Also he would share the virus with another cat if they quarreled.

That explains this.

Plans for a redwood with wire structure where I can grow strawberries and Smoky can come and go via a flexible tunnel from the cat door,

Today was spring like and I did some yard work. Smoky was beside himself with jealousy. At one point he made a run for it when I was coming in the back door, so I had to capture him, lug his almost 17 lb bod back indoors. Then he mourned.

He thinks I turned my laundry room into a studio just for him.

If my handyman will get us on the calendar, we’ll have this catio up in no time. Smoky will be able to exit through that back door in the cat door, walk about 5 or 6 feet through a tunnel and open out into an 8 x 6.5 ft. enclosure with sleeping levels and lots of things to sniff. The ground there is dirt and granite gravel.

Porch watching, bird and dog watching.

Yep, he’s mom’s cat all right. I notice. He follows me around the house like a puppy, sleeps on my bed and comes to the front door when my car pulls up in the driveway. Guess I was ready for a cat, after all.

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