[Early November 2012 - Mr. Max peeks into the house from the habitat]
It was in the spring of 2007 when our beloved Mr. Spanky (A.K.A. Houdini) escaped once again; this time by jumping from an open upstairs window. Fortunately a week later a kind neighbor responded to our flyer and we were reunited. Because he is an indoor cat, we worried about his safety since we live in an area that has many predators and occasional traffic that keep the neighborhood pretty clear of stray cats. Knowing his love of the outdoors, the escape finally brought me to the conclusion that I needed to provide a safe outdoor habitat for him and our other Maine Coons.
I searched for various outdoor cages and habitat systems but I could find nothing suitable at a price I was willing to pay, so I decided this was a DIY project. Over these last 5 plus years it has been a huge success for both us and our feline friends.
Step 1: Gathering Requirements
[Late May 2010 - Mr. Spanky sleeps outside on a high perch in the warmth of a spring day]
The outdoor habitat needs to be:
1. a four season structure.
2. off the ground to avoid fleas and the urge to use this space as a litter box.
3. predator (fox, coyote and large bird) proof.
4. free standing, not physically attached to the house.
5. 24-7 accessible via a current window (not a hole through the house).
6. a fun space.
8. big enough for 2 to 4 large cats at the same time.
9. accessible from the outside through a lockable door.
10. a safe haven should there be a house fire.
11. not exceed $500 (this project was just at $500 five years ago).
12. relatively maintenance free.
13. escape proof (even for a Houdini).
... and so this project describes an approximately 8'x8'x4' outdoor cat habitat (or as we refer to it, the Catitat) that fulfills these requirements.