Hi,
I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you posting those cage instructions on the website. See, I have two cats my husband let me pick out on Valentine's Day three years ago at the humane society. It was love at first site. They were very skinny, declawed and then abandoned by some not so good people. So of course they can't go ouside and our house backs up to a field with lots of wild animals. (Even if they had claws I don't think I would let them out) 

Well, my female cat Jasmine loves the screen door open -- she sniffs at every little thing and chases leaves that roll by. She seems so sad sitting at the window, wanting out. Sometimes she'll run out because she wants out so bad. Mannie, the big lug, really couldn't care either way :-) but I would love for them to be outside and get all the smells around them. Well anyway, I was excited because I have those (wire coated) shelves in the shed from my husband's old business so I can get the enclosure built with minimal cost -- just need to make them some shelves inside to stand on and what not. 

So anyway, I thought I would write you to let you know that you made two cats' day. Mannie and Jamine thank you!!

From, 

Holly

I am happy to share the creative solutions that others have found to build safe, pleasant play and living spaces for their kitties, using my Build a Safe Enclosure for Your Cat instructions. Feel free to link to this page and share the information with others!


Do you have a solution you built and would like to share? ​Please send me your photos (jpegs please!) and a brief description of your experience and/or comments. I would love to show others some of the endless possibilities of construction - and continue the exploration and helpful tips.

Hello Marva,

I am proud to say that I built my first cage this past weekend using your plans. Thank you so much for posting this for all breeders to try. I live in Canada and the cost to build a 4' X 5' X 8' cage with three shelves was around $300.


​I have one request of you please. In your instructions, for those of us who didn't quite think this completely through. . . . . when building a cage for a room with 8' ceilings one should remember that the carpeting will make the measure slightly less than 8' so you may want to get 4" or so cut from each wall piece beforeleaving the store. :) My hubby is quite the handy man and was able to do that for me, but you're right the metal in these shelves is very strong.

Thanks again for your plans.

Wendy Huppe =^.,.^=
Purriwinkle Ragdolls

Wendy Huppe: I Built My First Cage!


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Chris Carlson: Kiko's Kondo


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enclosure gallery

Holly Hegseth: You Made Mannie and Jasmine's Day!

Robert Howe: A Bird's Eye View for Our Bengals


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(Editor's Note: Georgetta is one of those saints who fosters and raises rescue and orphan kittens for a rescue organization in Ventura, CA. She nurtures these babies, cares for them and socializes them so, when ready, they can to to their new, forever homes and be wonderful, loved, healthy pets.)


Dear Marva,

Here are the pictures... hopefully clear enough for your purposes. Thanks for the compliment on the beauty of my little guys... I will tell them as soon as they wake up from their afterbottle nap on the couch. They aren't in the picture, cause I didn't want to disturb them and they are so small, I figured they probably wouldn't show up very well anyway. Baloo (entering the enclosure in the photo) is about 3+ lbs. now and willing to pose.


​​The enclosure uses the 6 ft long, 12 inch wide shelving (total of 24, 6-foot shelves) and measures approximately 3 ft wide X 7 feet long X 6 feet high. I cut 4 of the 6 foot shelves in half to use 7 1/2 (3 ft.)shelves to make the "roof", leaving one (leftover) 3 footer to go inside on the narrower end of the enclosure in the back, close to the floor (about 12 inches off the floor), allowing me to drape a beach towel on the shelf and create a "cave". 

I also purchased 1, 16 inch wide, 4 foot long shelf which I trimmed to 3 ft. to add an additional shelf on the narrower/back end about 1/2 way up from the floor. 2, 8 foot X 12 inch shelves (trimmed to measure 7 ft.) were put on the long side, one just at the bottom of the window ledge height and the other at eye level. The shelves are staggered in height so it is fairly easy for the kittens to eventually work their way up to the top shelf.


I added a cardboard "scratcher" insert (Alpine brand) to make a ramp from the second shelf to third one. I used plastic covered wire threaded through the cardboard holes/slots in one end of the scratcher and secured it to the edge of the higher shelf. 

I purchased a good quality of undercarpet rebound padding (about $20 for a 6' X 10' piece) with a plastic coating on the top to "pad" my tile floor against accidents (messy ones and ouchy ones). It is also much nicer to kneel on than hard cold tile to clean and change litter boxes, and food bowls . 

I covered the padding with 6 mil thick plastic sheeting and newspaper - easy to remove when babies get messy. I temporarily have cardboard cut from the shelving packaging (with fabric or toweling on top) covering the wire shelving so little paws won't slip between the wires, but eventually plan to use more of the rebound to line the shelves too.









​Marva, you had a wonderful inspiration to invent this type of enclosure, and I truly appreciate you generously sharing it with me and other feline "fanatics". Thank you too for taking the time to answer my many questions about the details of the construction. 

Due to your help, the major/outer parts of the castle were put together in about 45 minutes. I am sure I will make some changes in coming months, but that is one of the beauties of this design. It is very flexible as to configuration and modification... you just clip the cable ties with wire cutters and change it! 

Since I foster bottle baby kittens only part of the year, I can dismantle the castle after kitten season is over and store it in a relatively small area by just stacking the shelving and discarding the used padding and cardboard. The cost to reassemble it for the next kitten season is just for the cable ties... about $5. Wow!

Georgetta...

See Photo 1 - the finished enclosure..


I know I could have had Home Depot cut the pieces -- as you recommended, but a friend of mine, painter by trade, loooooves my cats and will do anything to have to come here and do something for them. He likes innovating, so now my enclosures have small doors at the shelf level so that I can unclip the metal clip and put food and water in on the carpeted shelf. See Photo 2


​He also cut a half door in one side of the door so I can open half of it to access my rambunctious stud on his huge cat tree....without Mr. Houdini slipping out the door..See Photo 3


The cages are so nice and airy...I prefer the pieces with more space between the bars.. See Photo 4


Thanks again,

Sean..

(Editor's Note: Yes, I like the shelving pieces with wider spacing too. It is easier to clean behind them when you can't move the cage -- I just stick the vaccuum hose through the bars. It is also easier to thread heating pad cords (or anything else) through the bars to the wall sockets, etc.)

Vetary

Sean Hogan-Downey: Variation on a Theme


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Georgetta Brickey: A Safe Haven for Raising My Bottle Baby Foster Kittens


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Thanks so much for the great instructions on building a safe outdoor enclosure. It was so easy and is so safe and secure for the cat. I have been wanting to do something like this for my indoor-only cat for quite awhile, but all the plans I have would be much more work. I still have a bit to do on it, but my cat, Kiko, loves the thing. 

I have a buggy that I wheel her outside with and can wheel the buggy right inside the enclosure. She insists on going outside even though it is 25-30 degrees out (which is also why I haven't quite finished it yet). On Sunday we had a heat wave of 50 degrees, so I put a chair inside and we sat outside for 1.5 hrs enjoying the balmy weather. 

She is going to love her kondo (I put a sign on it that says "Kiko's Kondo") come spring/summer. It is 8'x8' and 6' high. The tarp is bungee-corded on one side (the side that overhangs), so we can peel it back and get some rays when it is nice outside. I did attach the 4" pipe (for the peaked roof) to the cage so it should stay on when thunderstorms/snowstorms roll through. I also made her a bird feeder and hung that on it. I was going to move it into the garage when the snow flies (I put wheels on boards, so I can move the enclosure), but I suspect she's going to have none of that and it will stay out year-round.









Follow up..The only photo I have of Kiko in the enclosure was taken before I put on the roof (but that wouldn't matter as it would look the same with the tarp peeled back) and before indoor/outdoor carpeting was on the shelves. I have enclosed this photo. I originally put down some extra indoor carpeting I had. I thought she'd only want to be out when it was nice and was going to remove the indoor carpeting from the shelves during bad weather. I took her outside to check it out and she loved it and then it started to sprinkle -- and she still loved it, so I had to make a trip to the hardware store to get the roofing/carpet.


​​We were in the enclosure today. I usually sit with her and read--she seems to like this better than being alone. She enjoyed watching (and hearing) the snow fall. She also loves chasing the crunchy oak leaves around. Yesterday she climbed straight up the side of the kondo to the top shelf! People think I'm nuts when they see what I make/buy for her, but she brings me so much enjoyment -- I'm only returning a small fraction of what she brings to my life. 

Chris...



Thanks, Marva, for the great idea for our four Bengals. Our girls love it! I built this enclosure at the outdoor end of our summer patio. The summer patio has windows on the end and one side of our patio/garage combo. It is enclosed with pet screen where the garage door is -- we do use it for a garage in winter.


The enclosure cost about $225 to build. I had to support the bottom because under the cage is a three foot ledge that drops off four feet down to the ground. Note the stone wall under the enclosure. As you can see, it made construction quite a feat! You darn near had to be a monkey to climb on the ladders to erect it! And I'm 70 years old! The man in the photo is my son-in-law who was helping me one day.

(Editor's Note: Robert's girls have access to their bird's eye view "palace" through the windows shown in the two photos below.)


I live in Horseheads, NY. The commander of the Space Shuttle is from here..

Robert Howe...

Stephen Gibson: A Super Condo for Some Lucky Kitties

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CAT1: Overall view with my favorite Mother-in-Law and one of her four cats. The enclosure is attached to the house. Most of the parts came from Lowe's. Just like your setups, I have some doors with a padlock to protect the pride from catnappers.

CAT2: Shows another view with more cats. The calico is 17 years old and doing well. The strange item on the corner is a rain guage my Father-in-Law wanted attached. For the top, I used a cheapo tarp from OSH's held down with cords. 

CAT3: is just a shot of the shelving before construction. The job took about 8 hours not counting coffee breaks. It really payed off to plan using lots of paper beforehand. Laying out all the parts like in this photo helped in the organization department too.

CAT4: Shows how I did the window. I removed a sliding pane and added a 3/8" piece of plexiglass. I had to use a power saw to cut it. What a mess! Lots of tiny pieces of sharp plastic everywhere in the garage. I used a drill and a jigsaw to cut the hole for the cat door. I went for the magnetic flapper version. The entire window is held in place by sheetmetal screws in the frame. Other than the shards of plastic, the window/door was easy to do.

CAT5: Is the base. 2X4's on 'patio deck' piers from Lowe's. On that frame I used a couple of layers of 4X8 plywood. The whole thing was painted with the outdoor version of Kiltz(sp) a good wood primer. The main idea was to paint the underside for protection. I also wanted to lift the whole contraption off the ground to confound the termites. I nailed and glued some really cheap vinyl floor covering on top so we could easily sweep and sometimes hose it off.










Some details:

  • I used one of those electrician's cable tie gadgets to make the ties really snug. But I learned, as you did, that the secret is the shelves. I very wisely put it all together before pulling things in real tight.
  • BTW: Electricians's conduit holders were used to hold the cage to the wooden base. I just screwed them in. Instead of holding conduit to a wall or ceiling, they hold our cage to the base, just in case an earthquake tries to make it walk away.

  • The shelves all have carpet laced with catnip because I wasn't sure the cats would be happy right away. After all, as a member of the 'Cat's Support Staff' I wanted them to be comfortable. So I installed a scratching tree and some KittyGrass. Beds, water and a litter box finished the job.

  • I followed your wise suggestion and designed several versions of likely combinations of shelves for each wall before going shopping. I soon found out how important being able to adapt was because of the lack of stock. It really helped to take the diagrams with me and lots of paper too. I am 100% in favor of making plenty of drawings beforehand. Paper is cheap.


Thanks again for a good idea. It turned out great. If you are curious about anything else, just ask.

Steve...

Postscript: 

The habitat I built has been fully operational for over 14 months now without a single problem. I 
have changed the carpet on the various shelves only once, due mainly to the rain. While my
habitat has a roof, water came in from the side and got many of the shelves wet. As a member of
the cat's staff, I had to change them. 8-)

Steve...