Our catio. We’re halfway there!
This week, I barely remembered to do my monthly deposit of $150 into my RRSP. I admit I have not paid any attention to the markets nor my investment accounts. This happens from time to time, and I’m mostly okay with that. I’ll get back into it this week or next week.
Instead, I found myself doing a lot of personal stuff that I’d put off all summer, such as returning and exchanging items, pursuing refunds, cancelling magazine subscriptions, closing useless accounts, etc. I’m also trying to stay on top of my study schedule. What has taken centre stage though, is the designing and building of our cat enclosure, also known as a catio. Yes, we’re nutty cat people.
JP and I relocated this spring/summer. It was a long, gradual process. Unlike our other moves, this one involved a lot of research trips and planning in the beginning. Once we officially decided to move, I ventured out first in the spring. I sublet an apartment in student housing, and boy was that a shift in lifestyle! After moving into a room smaller than my bathroom back home, I looked for work and found a job. After that, I found a house for us to move into. This house needed a lot of cleaning and fixing.
During the week after work, we cleaned and painted the new place and then on the weekends, went back to our place in the countryside. JP and I had to clean, repair and re-paint with the goal of getting our own house ready for renters as of September.
The biggest job was the decluttering process, which actually took a couple of months. We’d been holding a lot of stuff on behalf of our families. We adopted a ruthless policy in deciding what was coming with us and what would be sold on Kijiji or in our big garage sale. We made several exhausting trips to the dump and donation centres. Even after we moved everything, we still got rid of unwanteds as we unpacked. Overall, we got rid of over a third of what we had at our old place. There is nothing more freeing than having in your possession only the things you really want and need.
Our next priority was figuring out what to do about our cats. They’re both wild, country boys who moved in with us on their own — we discovered that this is how many cats and dogs become pets in the countryside, by the way! One moved in five years ago one very cold winter and the other started coming in on his own as of last summer. We had an open door policy with them that allowed them to come and go as they pleased. They were undoubtedly going to have a hard time adjusting from five acres of farmland to a city with so many neighbours around, in addition to being around a lot of traffic. There’s a good chance of them wandering far, becoming lost, or much worse.
We first tried to put collars on them with trackers. They HATED the collars so much, that no amount of positive conditioning was going to work. Introducing a leash led to many traumatic moments, and we nearly lost one of them. So, we opted to build an enclosure in our backyard. We got a lot of ideas from YouTube where people posted handy videos on how they designed and built ‘catios’ on their own. Some of the designs were a little weak, but others were so creative and simply amazing.
We knew some parts of the construction would be beyond our abilities so we spent a couple of weeks finding a contractor. Try explaining what a catio is to anybody…then try having people take you seriously after you tell them all this trouble is for your cats! Honestly, with many cities implementing new by-laws that don’t allow you to let your pets roam free, these pet enclosures are going to be the next hot thing. They solve a lot of problems from losing your pets to preserving bird populations. Also, your pets will be happier and healthier not being stuck indoors.
Through a connection at JP’s new job, we found some willing contractors who were more curious than anything. We had a great time working with them yesterday and hope to be completed next weekend. The head carpenter even wants to take JP under his wing for upcoming jobs and teach him the tricks of the trade. If he gets good, who knows? Maybe catio designing will be our next side business! Look at the catio empire this couple has started.
This project was not ‘cheap’ but it’s worth it as we’re investing in our pets’ health, safety, and happiness!
Buddy and Tiny, my cat babies