My Habitat Haven Catio and Cat-Friendly Backyard with Purrfect Fence – Let’s Discuss!
It was always a dream of mine to have both a catio and cat-friendly backyard that my cats could enjoy!
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My first cats, Malibu and Jack, spent their entire lives inside. Believe it or not, I was an adult when I adopted the first cats of my life.
Malibu and Jack started off in a tiny little apartment when I was a pre-vet student, moved around to various other apartment situations, eventually to rental homes and later the first home that my husband and I purchased.
At one point, we even lived in a little studio loft above a barn. They did not complain. But the most outdoor time they ever got was laying in open windows or the rare occasion when I took Jack outside on his Come With Me Kitty Harness (should’ve done that more often). They would have absolutely loved our current setup.
If I had to do it over again I’d probably choose the Travel Cat harness.
When we bought our current home it had a pool with a large screen. That was a big selling factor. My cats could finally go “outside!”
They LOVED being outside on the screen porch. Between sunbathing and catching our little Florida lizards, life couldn’t get any better. But just beyond the screen was a big backyard full of green grass calling their name. Plus, the screen on the pool made the backyard seem smaller than it was.
With time, and Florida hurricanes, the screen deteriorated and we had to make a decision. Ultimately we decided to tear it down and make my dream of having a catio and cat-friendly backyard come true.
Many people do not have the option of letting their cats outdoors. I absolutely get that! And that’s where the Habitat Haven catio comes in.
Making our backyard cat-friendly was a multiple-month-long process, but really only because there were so many things we wanted to accomplish.
The Catio In My Cat-Friendly Backyard: Habitat Haven For the Win!
I did a lot of research on what I wanted. You can certainly get cheaper “catios” online that you could assemble in an hour or less. But I wanted a quality product. I wanted a known brand.
I chose to work with Habitat Haven. They make catios and cat enclosure kits.
Habitat Haven was founded in 2003. They are cat people and know what cats like.
I chose the 3-sided Lion’s Den option but there are so many possibilities!
The 3-sided option allowed me to put the catio up against a wall with a window, i.e. how they would enter into the catio. This photo is a pic of the 4-sided option.
Cat patio (aka catio) enclosures by Habitat Haven allow your cat to experience the outdoors in a safe manner. These pre-designed and configured outdoor cat enclosure kits are so popular and easy to use.
If you have the space and the budget, they also have expert designers who can make your dream a reality. You can add: enclosures, bridges, tunnels, stairs and towers! It’s a cat’s paradise!
We were having all the work done to tear the patio screen down, so I had my contractor assemble the catio for me. I have a busy life which includes children, so I just didn’t have the time.
However, catios by Habitat Haven are totally a do-it-yourself project! Everything you need comes in the boxes, including the directions. They also have great customer service and are just a phone call away if you need help.
The material is high quality. From their website: “Each enclosure is created using durable, powder-coated steel components and a sturdy mesh fence that can withstand various climates and keep out other animals, ensuring your cat’s protection.” The “steps, flooring, and bridges are made from high-quality cedar wood, making it a long-lasting option.”
“Additionally, hammocks and awnings are made from tough outdoor-appropriate fabrics that are meant to last. Each is made from fade-resistant and water-proof materials, which means as soon as a storm passes through, your cat can resume its outdoor exploration without issue.”
My cats absolutely love the catio. We also added a cute tin roof on top, which I love!
Now that my Habitat Haven catio was built, I had to accessorize.
The cats enter the catio via this pet door by Ideal Pet Products that I MYSELF installed, so you know it must be easy. I like it because it can be locked so they can’t go out, can’t come in or both.
Next, I knew I wanted a cat tree. But how could I get one that would stand up to the elements? After a lot of searching, I found this 8-nest walnut-colored cat tower from Kuranda. It was exactly what I’d been looking for.
They are known for their dog beds, but they also make these awesome multi-level cat towers made out of furniture-grade PVC frame, with solid vinyl fabric that is durable and easy to wipe clean. Plus, all the parts are replaceable.
I added a few other items like this cat grass planter and just a big piece of firewood for them to scratch on. They love the real wood.
The Purrfect Fence – For Outside of the Catio
In addition to having a catio, I wanted my cats to be able to actually go into the backyard, but stay safe. Some would even blast me for suggesting that any cat be let outside. However, in the UK a large proportion of cats go out.
What about the birds? We don’t have a lot of birds that come in our yard (minimal trees). Nonetheless my cats wear these cool “Beau’s Bells” that let birds (and each other other) know they are near. In Florida we do have little lizards and the cats get a big kick out of chasing them.
My cats are not allowed in the backyard after dark (though they would love it). Sometimes at dusk I do have to use their “trackers” to find them hiding in the bushes (aka “the jungle”).
The Purrfect Fence idea came after the fact. It wasn’t in the original plans. We decided to move our wood pile from the front of the house to around back, within our fenced backyard.
Within minutes, the cats were investigating. One of their favorite hiding places is under the woodpile. I don’t even want to think about what other creatures are hiding in that dark space, but they love it.
They also love getting on top of the wood pile, making a perfect jumping spot to go right over the fence! Couldn’t we just move the wood pile? No, we really couldn’t.
Apparently, you don’t want your wood pile up against your house because of mold and other badness that could affect your house structure. Other than sticking the woodpile in the dead center of the yard (um, no), up against the fence was the best solution.
Enter the Purrfect Fence solution! I knew about this company for years but never had the opportunity to try them out. I have a client who used them extensively to make a multi-acre property cat-safe! So I started looking at options.
The nice thing is, no matter what your fence situation, 1) they have a solution for you and 2) they are willing to help you determine what will work best.
Purrfect Fence is also a do-it-yourself project with SO many options to choose from. Are you cat-proofing an existing fence (like me?) or do you want a brand new free-standing fence?
We only needed to add the topper to one section of our fence. The topper uses a patented pivoting arm to prevent cats from climbing their way over the top.
The Purrfect Fence company was also founded in 2003, so they have many years of creating these escape-proof barriers.
Other Cat-Friendly Backyard Modifications
Finally, we installed white aluminum siding around the bottom of our entire fence and down into the dirt to prevent 1) our dog from easily digging under it and 2) to deter little creatures like voles, etc. from digging holes that the cats could then tunnel through.
Only later did I find out that Purrfect Fence also carries a durable welded wire bottom barrier which serves the same purpose.
Summary: My Catio and Cat-Friendly Backyard
I love providing my cats with options so that they get to choose where they want to be. With three cats, they can each be somewhere different, and they often are. They absolutely love their catio, especially when it’s raining and they can’t go in their cat-friendly backyard.
What do you think about giving your cat some fresh air? Let me know in the comments!