Stephen Gibson: A Super Condo for Some Lucky Kitties

Click on the photos to see a larger version

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 selves 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.


Postscript 5/05:

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-)