By: Carla Horstmann
I knew that when I finally bought my own home I would want to give my feline friends the opportunity to safely enjoy the great outdoors. In the spring of 2005, I found my little house. During the remodeling I kept my four legged critters in mind, both felines and canines.
Everyone knows that dogs love those little “vienna sausages” that wonderful kitties so carefully leave in litter boxes, and even though the cats are very diligent in their efforts to hide them, our canine friends will find them every time! With that in mind, we created an extra tall cabinet (built out of Iowa barn wood) for the “cat feeding station.” It is high enough so that our dogs can’t reach the cat food. The cabinet conceals a litter pan with cat-only access and the cat-only door to the outside cat condo.
The outdoor condo was built to match the house, complete with a green tin roof. Careful thought went into the design. I knew from previous experience that I did not want it to have a dirt floor or pine nuggets or mulch covering the floor because those materials will lead cats to believe you have graciously provided them with the biggest litter pan ever! I used indoor/outdoor carpeting to cover the area, and they still think I am pretty perfect because now they have a great place to sharpen their little claws! I found an old industrial pallet and used that as a platform for 3 covered litter boxes (although most cats prefer uncovered litter boxes, mine like the privacy). I also built them a lounging day bed complete with cat house and a ladder to enter and exit the condo from the inside of the house. There is a door from the outside that allows me to enter and clean the boxes.
I will have to say, and I know that my cats, Dennis and Daniel, agree that the project was well worth the time and effort. They spend an enormous amount of time in the condo, lounging around, watching the birds or supervising us in garden. They have a sense of freedom and yet they are totally safe. It does my heart good to know that they have the best of both worlds.