Instructables

Cat Enclosure - Tunnel, save space ('CatWalk is my Road' - AKahn)

Contest Winner
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2014 note
I just finished cleaning a stretch of the garage cat walk.
What I should have done was lined the cages with something that rolled from the back (drywall) down around to across the bottom of the cat walk wire....every few feet, so that you can remove and replace easily. Carpet tiles would have worked also, but wider would be nice to protect the drywall..the plastic that I placed had come down despite the velcro, in many spots......Now I also placed some sheet linoleum at the bottom for now but I will cut carpeting to make a half way tunnel
if you will,to protect the drywall and also for them to walk on (over the shelving floor). Sometimes lightbulb moments take me awhile. smile. Picture a sono tube in the tunnel, cut in half, of carpeting...to cover the wall and floor areas.

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This cat enclosure keeps my felines safe by limiting their access to the house and outside with a towering, spacious, 150-feet cat run (walk) over doors, windows, cabinets, out of the reach of outside predators and also indoor dog inhabitants.

How to keep cats safer, contained, but happy.
These are cat walks with room for
  • napping
  • sitting in the sun
  • birdwatching from a window
  • eating, drinking
  • playing ping pong soccer
  • scratching/needling with claws
  • rubbing fur
  • utilizing upper wasted space in garage or rooms, for instance, above doorways or windows.

To accomplish this first we needed to "tunnel" the cats upstairs from their basement room.

Ingredients:
  • Wire shelving, approximately 12-inch, 16-inch and 20-inches wide, with accessories such as brackets, wall clips, rubber ends
  • Toggle bolts for ceiling attachment
  • Cable ties
  • Bolt cutter or some kind of saw to trim wire shelves
  • Rope lighting
  • Carpeting or indoor outdoor carpet (white backing nice to match white shelving vs. dark carpet backing)
  • Canvas, light colored with blue tarp backing worked well facing down in the utility room
  • Plastic lining material
  • Velcro or Wood trim to uphold plastic to protect walls and floor space
  • Brushes
  • Cat flap doors
  • Power drill
  • Circular piece to make round holes through walls, do not cut into weight bearing walls
  • Optional cat toys or ping pong balls that do not need constant supervision
  • Plastic Place mats for further waterproofing
  • Pillows or kitty beds
  • Scratching material or cardboard
  • Optional cat or dog cages for easy entry
  • Additional shelving, brackets
  • Wood as needed for planking (we needed narrow ramp up the basement stairs)
  • Screen or hardware cloth for optional extra tunnels
  • Litter boxes and food dishes
  • Industrial strength Velcro was used to hold plastic liner (wood trim might work better)
  • Carbon monoxide detector.
Future notes:
  • How about tunneling cats up and throughout the house attic space so they can drop into various rooms?
  • Grass or catnip plants for cats, garnish around the "cages" for cat fiddling and looks.
  • Trim would probably work better for plastic liner to protect walls, we were trying to find a way to make it removable to clean
  • Beware of sharp edges where cats can catch their claws (one cat got hooked on paint screen edges more than once)
  • Consider a surveillance camera that might connect to your Internet or intercom
  • View to birds
  • Outdoor access with roof, they will mostly likely use the litter out there due to less odors, www.youTube.com has some great cat enclosure ideas
  • I keep an eye out for old kind of Christmas tree branches that might be useful on the wire for the cats to brush up against, or to put around edges of access cat doors to groom and massage them as they pass through.
  • My friend's young children would probably do a great job for me cleaning the garage walks that are 19.89 inches wide, or at least they could help me get the carpet out to clean it.
  • You can sometimes lock an electric garage door opener so the cats do not get out in error. Mine still opens from the keypad. A work-around is to plug the garage door opener into one of those remote controlled extension cords sometimes used for outdoor Christmas lights or hard-to-reach electrical switches. You then can turn the electric off to the garage door opener thus preventing an accidental door opening. This summer I may park elsewhere and use the "Kitty Garage" for lounging, treadmill perhaps and petting our furry friends. In this case I will disconnect the garage doors or put an insect screen in the doorway and open it up for sunshine and air.

Credits:
I was inspired by a website that showed a barn with inside cat quarters completely constructed of wire shelving made for closets. http://www.theenchantedcat.com/

In addition, I looked at the California books of the http://catshouse.com/ where they had tunnels throughout the house for their cats (recently I enjoyed viewing their YouTube video even more than the books).

I wanted something contained as I have a feline leukemia cat that must be separate from the other cats. When he was subjected to a wandering cat one day, and I had TWO cats to quarantine and an extra dog that created havoc when a cat entered a room, it was time for emergency wired cat walks.

THANKS THANKS THANKS THANKS X 100 TO TOM, my wish came true. He was volunteering at the Restore for Habitat for Humanity while he attended HVAC classes at the local college and also loves cats. He volunteered to manage the project. It took him at least four long days, and three to four trips to Home Depot, where the wire shelving seemed the most reasonable (when Restore store was out of wire shelves).
Some days he was assisted by Homero.

I owe these two for this fantastic inside haven. Coyotes ARE an issue in this area. They have captured local cats and also punctured my little dog's lung.

Another inspiration is the guy from Minnesota that was featured this year on Cats 101, Animal Planet, HE IS AWESOME, he spent 10k on beautiful wood catwalks throughout his nice country home for his cats. http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/must-love-cats/videos/1-the-fur-kids.htm

Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Rocco and helpers (Nick, Tyler, Shawn, Frank, etc.) for the awesome digs he also created for my cats with "Restore Habitat for Humanity" doors, windows, fencing...until the cats could come into the house.

Thanks lastly but not leastly to Nancy F. who bought me my first cat tunnel book and inspired me to start searching the Internet for "cat enclosures" . Thanks to Sue J. for cat lover support.

 Thanks to everyone I have not mentioned (chemo brain and age).

Thank you, www.instructables.com for having a contest DEADLINE and also for the opportunity to win a Nikon Digital SLR camera.

22 second video:





crank_girl3 months ago

Do your cats stay in this all the time?

IvliaVespasia4 months ago

Love the idea, and as we rent our house I would try to make it easily moveable. It also make ideal use of the wasted space between the top of doors and windows and the ceiling as well as making a secure but spacious area to contain Kitten if we're out all day. Kitten would certainly love being able to spy on you from above, and would love trapdoors so she could drop down on unsuspecting passersby.

katerlyn (author)  IvliaVespasia4 months ago
Thank you. The latest Idea I have gathered is using my surplus chairs...in the olden days I see that people hung their dining room chairs on the wall! I also see, on Pinterest, etc. chairs hung along the wall...to me instead of plants, I would like to see cats. I would need to make some washable pillows for each one...that is my next venture, I have not figured out how to fasten the chairs to the wall in the best fashion both in the house and in the out building.
We hung spare dining room chairs on the wall in our garage using 6" nails. We wrapped them in plastic first but if I was going to use them for cats to walk over I would make fabric chair covers first, with eyelet holes in the back of the covers for the nails to go through. Depending on the chairs I would also put a wrap around the back where the nails hit to protect the wood/fabric. Anything smaller than 6" and you run the risk of the chairs falling off them.
water rat1 year ago
OMG!!! I HAVE GOT TO MAKE THIS FOR MY RATTIES!!! Such a good idea & instructable! If I ever do make one for my ratties I'll take some pix and let you know! I love this! TYSM!
katerlyn (author)  water rat1 year ago
Good luck to you. I read recently in Handyman Magazine that there is a BETTER toggle bolt that I think is removable. As it is, we used toggle bolts that will not undo, so it's tough to replace the carpet and clean. We did make more entry points. Take care.
Cyra2 years ago
LOVE IT :)
katerlyn (author)  Cyra1 year ago
Thanks everyone. I want to pass on that I now get www.animalshelter.org magazine and I was reminded that wood pellets are good for litter for cats. In a nutshell:
20 cent aluminum pans (small size one for each cat), at Costco or Sams...
wood pellets $4 for 40 lbs

Make them up ahead of time, one or two cups each....the pellets just slide out of the pans and they can be reused for a time, sometimes washed...I am so happy to have found this alternative to clay litter.

ALSO from instructables, I got huge plastic tubs, i put litter pans IN the tub (cut a door out one one end)...it keeps the litter mess inside the box, and eventually I'll put the cover on perhaps....
katerlyn (author)  katerlyn1 year ago
the wood pellets were great. I recently bought pine shavings for horse stalls on sale, it's messier but works if the wood pellets are out of season. I will never go back to clay litter that is so hard to clean off the litter box areas and also has to be disposed of differently.
katerlyn (author)  Cyra2 years ago
Beware of fleas this year!
thanks all!
RustyRoller2 years ago
Fe(line)nominal! I just came up with that word, your work must have inspired it! If I'd stayed in the condo I'd purchased, I'd planned to create the tunnels and walkways a la The Cat House. Now in a rental ... I can adapt your idea so that I don't put so many holes in the walls/ceilings, yet still give my girls a great escape from the dog (although they spend most of their time on a screened patio, so it may be hard to compete with that except when it rains or is chilly).

Thanks so very much for sharing this. What a terrific project!
katerlyn (author)  RustyRoller2 years ago
I am so happy you wrote. I am not sure how to fasten to ceilings, they used dolly bolts which are not very "fix" able. I hope to have only cat lovers live here after I'm gone... smile.
I would love to hear anything about your project that you care to share, thank you! I also was first inspired by the California cat book. As you can see. smile.
My dog is like that, too .... hates to get wet, rain or for a bath. And OMG, when I tried to convince him that a swimming pool was FUN in the hot summer ... I barely lived to tell about it!

Funny about the slider pet doors. My dog (a chihuahua-terrier mix) is so bright that he can learn a trick (if he wants to, of course) in about 3 tries. But he has never figured out the cat door on the slider pet door! Which is good, because (1) the cats know they can escape him by zipping out onto the screened patio and (2) he finds litter box leavings irresistable (along with cat barf), and I keep at least one litter box on patio and never know when they may have upchucked from hairballs.

Other thing about the Moore door. I went from a standard height door to one that is 8-feet high. Due to price, and likelihood of eventually being somewhere with standard sliders again, wouldn't/couldn't spend the $$$ to get the new, higher Moore insert. So I used a piece of laminated particle board to fill in on top, and used AC foam and weather-stripping to help seal as needed.

I use a thick dowel to lock the slider in place, and screwed the insert and Moore door into door jamb (the Moore door doesn't fit into this slider's lock as it did in my other slider -- of course it doesn't!). For a little more security, I put one of those window alarms between the particle board piece and Moore insert (the kind that screams when the two pieces separate).

Back to the cat walks: Yeah, the (m)olly bolts do leave big holes, but I've had some luck patching elsewhere. It occurred to me after I wrote that I might use the shelving on the patio instead of inside anyway: I have heavy-duty resin shelves out there for girls to lay on and play ... but one in particular loves to climb the screen, especially if a bug or lizard is on it. The shelving boxes would keep her off the screen but they both could romp around freely between the resin shelves.

I will let you know what I end up doing. Whatever goes outside, I've got to be able to dismantle easily in case of hurricanes (I'm on Fla. east coast) or even just high-wind thunderstorms with heavy, blowing rain.

Thanks so much. I just found the site this afternoon and I LOVE IT! Spent my whole afternoon on it, and part of the evening! Kacie
katerlyn (author)  RustyRoller2 years ago
Very interesting! I LOVE this site, too.
katerlyn (author)  RustyRoller2 years ago
P.S. We just put plywood up on the outdoor cat porch for my woosie dogs that do not like to go out in the rain. We also re installed my www.solopetdoors.com installation instructions are at moorespetdoors I think it is.... the dogs are learning to get out there themselves after a year of me being their butler. Smile.
zcarol33 years ago
I like that the project uses basic tools, the materials are not outrageously expensive and are readily available at the local home improvement store. What are the favorite spots for your cats?
katerlyn (author)  zcarol32 years ago
Favorite spots at this time are above the propane heater in the garage! In the summer they enjoyed their new porch that is outside the garage. anyone want to make for business? see this that i found searching you tube for "cat enclosure" http://youtu.be/7IFSA1xrwG0
katerlyn (author)  zcarol33 years ago
HI! The hardest thing to find was something to cut the wire shelves easier...in the beginning you can have Home Depot cut the lengths you know ahead of time. We found a bolt cutter was great, but some from Restore were thicker, I later read that you can use a saw of some sort.

The favorite spots are above the heater! On the pillows!

You do need to go slowly and watch them, that's how I figured out to put extra shelves in so they could walk by each other different ways instead of jumping over a sleeping cat.
I just love the added shelving, I have another video I could not find in time for the contest that I'm uploading. Thanks for stopping in. See photo that shows a very hairy "white" pillow. I read somewhere to use tshirts for pillowcases (good use for my collection).
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dkingsbury2 years ago
this is neat
i have recently adopted a cat from a animal shelter
and she does not get along with my other cat so this is
a good way for them to learn to accept each other with out fights
ecricirce2 years ago
i'm curious about this catnip brush. is it specifically for nip or did you utilize something else?
katerlyn (author)  ecricirce2 years ago
I put catnip in it specifically to catch their attention, they don't use it a lot but I do see them using it. They have extra outside porch now so they have had other interests (cockle burr bush for one!). Thanks for looking! I love my cats so much! And hope all the cats out there are happy!
mlemaster3 years ago
the black cat at 2:26 looks like my 5 months old cat roo lol and im in love with your cat walk
katerlyn (author)  mlemaster3 years ago
Thank you! We finished a porch. I am in love with the catwalk, too, one of the most wonderful things I have ever had in my LIFE. Cats have been my love since grade school on the farm. Good luck with your sweet Roo!
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jholton13 years ago
Omg i want to be your cat. Im serious. That looks so fun.
lyonpridej3 years ago
Kitty Heaven! Makes me wish my kitty wasn't too old to climg, I always wanted to do something like this!
katerlyn (author)  lyonpridej3 years ago
Well, like for humans, there could be ramps! Thanks from your kitty for giving her a nice life. smile.
SarahKat5523 years ago
ahhh words i am terably allergic to them


well i dont thinks you can be i just hate reading but it was a cool idea
Neato bandito!!!
katerlyn (author) 3 years ago
Here is a much used litter box area. http://youtu.be/yuXzKfJRviI

katerlyn (author) 3 years ago


here is another video. shelves..
8feet3 years ago
This is a fabulous idea. You must get a lot of comments when people visit your house.
Do the cats pace or do they seem quite content?
katerlyn (author)  8feet3 years ago
This was done in February so it has limited viewing. I would like, however, to help others be able to foster more cats and to basically use this way to get more cats out of the shelters and into loving homes. And for catssto be safe from outside diseases, etc. It even helps for instance, people with dogs who do not get along with the cats.
The cats do not pace at all. Occasionally the get a tennis or ping pong ball out, it's SO cute (to their Mama). I know they love it because when they get out, the are ready to go right back in (not only when the German Shepherd is chasing them)! We measured it to be more than 150 feet and I hope to expand it.
Thank you very much, you are the first STRANGER that has complimented the project. THANK YOU because that means you are unbiased!
wojtek19813 years ago
:) That's something.
katerlyn (author)  wojtek19813 years ago
Thank you, Wojtek from Poland! Please show your son, Jash!
katerlyn (author) 3 years ago
I was using the latest firefox to make this instructable and there are problems that I will try to fix tonight by using Safari or some other browser. Sorry for the complications. Enjoy! There are more movies coming to YouTube soon.
soooo katerlyn3 years ago
wow! what a fantastic idea!! you are very clever. now my kitties could have some fun!!! thanks for sharing!!!