One of the great things about our new catio is that it offers a large area of ray catching opportunities.
Our cats are finally starting to enjoy our catio after the interruption of our dog visitors. It took Floki until Wednesday but once out, he loved it.
Frankie goes out more often than Chris or Floki, not because he likes it more but because he is the one most likely to be hanging out near the back door when somebody goes outside.
The weather is starting to cool down here and I expect we will be outside more often which means the cats will be outside more often too. Its a win win.
As a side note, we had people over for dinner yesterday and later that evening we were sitting on the catio and a very cut grey kitten came up on the step and peeked in through the screen door. I believe I saw another cat walk by before I saw that kitten but it was dark. I put my hand against the screen and he smelled me and then walked over to the edge of the catio. I wanted to go get treats for him but considering our limited time here it is not wise to get them dependent on us. Fortunately, our cats were not on the catio at the time.
About five or six weeks ago my wife contacted a contractor here in West Virginia to see if it was possible to screen in our back porch. We wanted it to cut down on the bugs but we mostly just wanted a catio that our cats could enjoy in the nice weather.
Rose told the contractor that it needed to be done before we arrived, which was last Saturday. When we got there he still hadn’t finished. He was actually here until late Tuesday afternoon. I think he said he could do the job before realizing how difficult it was. The way the porch is built it is nearly impossible to keep the bugs out. He couldn’t put screaming all the way to the top because of the rafters so he decided to not screen all the way to the bottom so that the water would have a place to go when we washed down the porch.
The biggest problem was the doors. There is a large opening in the middle and a smaller opening on one side. The opening in the middle has two four by fours that are crooked both left to right and front to back. One of them is also twisted. It took a while to get the doors in so that they would slide back and forth easily without a gap too large for a cat to get through.
Wednesday morning I cleaned the mess left behind. I than fixed the doors a little better. I still needed to put up a panel to close the gap on one side (which I did this morning) but it was ready to test out that afternoon.
Frankie happened to be standing by the back door when Rose and I went out, so we decided to let him out onto the porch to see what he would do.
Of course, Frankie is our little investigator so he spent some time investigating.
I found Chris waiting by the back door to see what was going on so I let him out too.
I called floki but he was nowhere in sight. He was probably upstairs and not interested in what we were doing.
So far it has met with the approval of Chris and Frankie. I don’t trust that one or both of them won’t scratch a hole in the screen and escape so I think we will only let them out there when one of us is out there with them.
Today I pressure washed the catio in addition to closing the gap by the door. Later I may try to get Flokil out there to see if it meets with a unanimous approval.
I was working at my computer the other day, which happens to be in our Florida room, when I noticed that Frankie was excited and interested in something just outside the window. I got up to see what he was looking at and there was the face of a gold cat just inches from Frankie’s face. My first thought was, “Wow, we have another stray in the neighborhood” but it was only a second later that I noticed that the “stray” was Chris.
I opened the door to let him in, of course, but was left wondering how he got out. I checked the catio door and it was shut and no screens were ripped. I then noticed that the back door out of the catio was open a crack. That door is only used when I take the trash out and it has a sliding latch that is difficult to engage sometimes. I guess I just didn’t lock it good enough.
I don’t know how long he was outside but I glad he came back. I also think it is funny how he got Frankie’s attention to get back in the house.
Last week I took out the trash which can be a pain sometimes if a cat is outside on the catio. Our garbage cans are outside the back door of the catio and opening that door will cause Chris and Frankie to immediately run toward the door to try to get outside. Sometimes I quickly throw the trash on top of the can and close the door with the intention of putting it in the can later when it is safe. On this day I saw no cats so I thought I had time to open the door and put the trash inside the can. While I was doing that, Chris and Frankie bolted out the door at the same time. I either didn’t see them on the catio or I didn’t fully shut the door to the house.
I ran back inside to put my shoes on and when I returned both cats were still hanging out in the backyard.
Of course, as soon as I tried to pick up Frankie, he was gone. I pursued him and almost caught him when he was distracted by a lizard but he was too quick for me.
I brought Chris inside when I lost track of Frankie and stayed home thinking he would return. After waiting a fairly long time, I went out looking for him. I walked around the area for ten or fifteen minutes and became concerned after not seeing him so I returned home to see if he had showed up there yet.
When I got home Frankie was on the catio. I was puzzled. How did he get back inside? I was pretty sure he couldn’t open the door. That was Chris’s specialty.
I decided that was a mystery that couldn’t be solved until my wife got a text message from our neighbor saying she found Frankie and put him inside. Mystery solved. I just want to know why he let her pick him up and not me.
Last week we had an incident that I can’t really explain. We had the door open to the new catio just enough for a cat to get through. Chris was lying inside looking out the door and growling. It was that growl that you sometimes hear when a cat encounters an unknown cat. I looked out to see what the problem was and saw he was directing that growl at Frankie. When Frankie saw me he tried to come inside and Chris attacked him. I had to break it up and for a long time afterward, we had to keep them separated.
Rose thought an outside cat had sprayed Frankie through the screen but I never heard of a cat spraying another cat. Besides, there was no sign of a wet spot on the screens. I assumed he got into something that made him smell different but a quick inspection of the catio revealed nothing unusual.
What was unusual was that his ears were twitching and he was scratching himself. Rose checked him for fleas but nothing was obvious so I brought her the flea comb and she tried again. This time she combed out at least three live fleas.
Since they were due for their flea medication we put it on Frankie and on Floki, which wasn’t easy, at least for Floki. Chris had a three-month flea med put on him a couple of months ago so he wasn’t due yet. Rose also said she didn’t want them going outside anymore, but that didn’t last.
The next morning Chris and Frankie were getting along and nobody was scratching themselves. I put some diatomaceous earth down in the house to help control any stray fleas and I plan on getting a flea spray to put around the perimeter of the house. I am told there are environmentally friendly sprays out there so I will be looking for that today.
As far as what happened to Frankie that got Chris so upset, I still don’t have a clue.
One other issue I noticed, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, is that everyone seems to have a hard time deciding on what side of the door they want to be on.
When they do make a decision, they change their minds as soon as the door is closed.
We recently had a new screened patio/catio built under our carport. I wanted to write about this last week but, after losing Puck, it was not a priority. The main reason we wanted it built was that trying to get in and out of our house was a nightmare with Chris and Frankie always ready to bust out the door. The screened room would allow a buffer zone. If they escaped as we were leaving we could catch them and put them back inside. If they escaped while we were coming in we could just leave them out there. It is really nice when I have bags of groceries. I can now bring them into the catio and then open the door to the house.
The men came on the first Sunday of February to do the job. We were assured that it was a one day job and they would be finished that day but they got a late start and we had a very heavy rain that started early in the afternoon and lasted all day. They did what they could under the shelter but they couldn’t finish while it was raining.
They came back the following Saturday and finished the work.
Introducing the cats went about as expected. Chris and Frankie took the lead with Puck and Floki following more hesitantly. Puck got over his fear relatively quickly but Floki took a little longer. The following video is the last video ever taken of Puck.
Floki hangs out close to the door so he can run inside at the slightest commotion.
Puck was interested in what was under the house. Perhaps a rabbit.
Rose, of course, wanted it to be a human patio as much as a catio and that required furniture and rugs and a ceiling fan that the guys already installed for us. So the next day we bought some rugs and two wicker chairs, a wicker ottoman and a matching table. We cringed when the salesman said it was packed in small boxes and needed assembly but he said it was easy, just a few screws.
Apparently, on his planet, easy means difficult as hell and a few screws mean slightly less than a hundred. I spent well over an hour Sunday evening putting together the first chair. Fortunately, I had helpers or it might have been done quicker.
We put the rugs down first and Chris and Frankie loved them.
I then started on the first chair
The boxes were a bit of a distraction for Chris and Frankie.
Finally, by Monday, I had everything put together.
Now that they have a nice catio so they can finally spend time safely outside, guess what Chris does when someone is around to see him?
Chris has always been incredibly good at escaping. At first, it was a real problem, but it eventually became clear that he wasn’t interested in going very far so I stopped worrying when he got out. Frankie escaping, on the other hand, was more of a concern because he is a traveler and I worried that he would get lost or hit by a car or something not so good. Luckily, his escape skills were not as good as Chris’s although he still got out from time to time.
Things have changed recently and Frankie is now better than Chris at busting through the door when I try to come in with groceries or other bags. There are a few reasons for that. One is that Chris has slowed down with age, he is almost 9. Also, his weight has climbed to almost 18 pounds. Frankie has aged too but he is a couple of years younger than Chris and he is still skinny. What has changed the most though is that Frankie has become smarter. He now doesn’t hesitate and sprints out the door as I swing it open and before I can put a bag down to block him.
Sometimes Chris and Frankie work together so while I block one, the other gets out. If that’s not bad enough, the distraction caused by one getting out is enough to let the other one escape. Then I have two cats to retrieve.
Chris stays close and eats grass or rolls around on the driveway so I don’t worry about him. Frankie will also stay close for a short time until he senses me coming and then he is off.
He will find a place to hide like under a car or a bush where he knows I can’t catch him.
Sometimes he goes under our house or a neighbor’s house.
I hate when he does that because it is impossible to coax him out and I believe it is where he sometimes picks up fleas. Also, our neighborhood has many rabbits that hide out under homes and Frankie has already shown himself to be a rabbit hunter.
The good news is that Frankie knows he has a good home and he will come back if left alone. Yesterday I was at Lowes buying something for the catio we will soon have built. I called my wife to ask if she would take a picture of the outside of the home and send it to me. When she did she also texted that Frankie got out.
It took me about a half hour to get home and when I did Frankie was on top of my wife’s car. When he saw my car he got very excited and was talking up a storm. I opened the door and he went right in with Chris at the door waiting for him.
Rose said she forgot about him being outside. That is the dangerous thing about waiting for him to come back. We could forget he is out there. Indeed, he got out earlier that morning and I forgot he was out there. It was relatively cold so when Rose reminded me I opened the door and he was right there waiting.
He escaped Tuesday morning as I was leaving for work and I didn’t even know he got out until I saw him running away after I closed the door. I could have just as easily looked the other direction and left for work with him outside. The funny thing was, he let me catch him relatively quickly but I forgot I had locked the door and my key was in the wrong pocket. As I struggled to get the key out of my pocket, Frankie jumped down and I was stuck waiting for him for fifteen minutes.
At least when the screened catio is built this won’t be as much of an issue. Does ay one else struggle with pets who like to escape?