Tag Archives: Patio

Our New Catio Has It’s Drawbacks

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.

20180313_cats on patio_Frankie and Chris14520180313_cats on patio_Frankie135

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.

20180313_cats on patio_1137

When they do make a decision, they change their minds as soon as the door is closed.


Our New Catio

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.

You can see in this photo Floki is still nervous but Chris has forgotten all about the new catio and is more interested in smelling Puck’s butt.

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.

cat Chris in boxcats in box

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?

Patio Life

Here on the west coast of Florida, it gets pretty hot in the summer. It seems almost every afternoon the temperature is at or near 95 degrees Fahrenheit. There is also a high humidity in the summer that makes being outside during midday quite unpleasant. We try to limit our outdoor activities to the mornings or late afternoons.

Chris and Puck feel that way too. Often they use that time to nap on the sofa or, in Chris’s case, find a human to bother. Frankie is different. I often look out the window to see him napping on the patio during the hottest part of the afternoon. He must be part camel or something because he spends much of his day outside in the heat and does not seem to be bothered by it in the least. Perhaps he still retains some of the traits of his distant ancestor, the African Wildcat.

Our cat Frankie on our patioOur cat Frankie on our patioOur cat Frankie on our patioOur cat Frankie on our patioOur cat Frankie in bowl on our patioOur cat Frankie on my bike on our patioOur cat Frankie on my trike on our patio

Frankie’s Favorite Place

Last week Frankie discovered how to get from the house to the patio using the cat door. He has loved the patio since we first introduced him to it and suddenly he could go out there whenever he wanted to. The problem was, he apparently didn’t realize that the cat door worked in both directions.

We came home after work one evening to find Frankie at the door wanting to come in. I don’t know how long he was out there but I did know he needed to learn how to get into the house before we left for work the next day. I tried a couple of times to put him in front of the cat door and open it so he could see it worked both ways but he would not pay attention. He just walked away like he was bored. Finally I picked him up and gently shoved him through the door. I felt bad doing it but I did not want him to go on the patio and then not be able to get back inside where his food and litter is.

Since then he goes out and comes back in at will. He likes lying on the chair and watching the goings on of the outside world but he does not like Chris out there bothering him.

Our cats Chris and Frankie

Fortunately, he discovered a place where he can be relatively free of other annoying cats (or should I say cat?) and still have a great view of outside.

Our cat Frankie

Now, if we haven’t seen Frankie for a while, we have a good idea where to look first.

The Bitter Taste of Freedom

I had the day off from work today because it has been very slow. Since I was planning on riding my bike to work I decided instead to take the bike out for a fun ride this morning.

I keep my bikes on the patio and we normally keep the patio door locked so nobody can let the cats out but I left it unlocked this time. There is no way to lock it or unlock it from the outside and I wanted to be able to put my bike back without having to walk around to the front door.

I was gone for about an hour and a half. When I returned, it was almost 11:00 and it was already pretty hot. As I walked the bike around to the back, I heard Chris crying on the patio. At least I thought he was on the patio but when I looked closer, I noticed I was looking at him through two screens.

The far side of our patio was built with a small space for the air conditioner. Chris was outside in that space, probably trying to figure out how to get back in. He was crying and panting and for one second, I thought about taking his picture, but it seemed cruel to make him wait. I walked around to where he was and when I got there he cried some more and indicated he wanted me to pick him up. So up he went onto my shoulders and we walked into the house together.

Our Patio

This picture my help visualize where Chris was when I found him.

I was concerned Puck got out too. I didn’t see him on the patio or anywhere nearby. I also didn’t see him when I walked into the house. After a quick search, I found him in the back bedroom looking out the window.

I don’t know how Chris got out. He is a master at opening doors, perhaps he figured the screen door out. It is also possible that it did not latch when I closed it or someone opened it after I left. I don’t know. I just hope this experience makes him less likely to want to go off on his own again. I know I will be locking that door before my next ride.

Happiness is Unrestricted Patio Access

When we first looked at our new place we were not able to see inside because someone was still living here but we did look at it from the outside and liked the fact that it had an enclosed patio. It was fully enclosed, which is not as good for the cats as just screened but we thought we could open the windows for them and they would be happy.

When we finally were able to meet with the Realtor we discovered that he listed the wrong address and the unit for rent was actually the one next door, which had no enclosure on the patio at all. In addition, the 1100 square feet turned out to be more like 850. That was very disappointing because the location was fantastic and it was very difficult to find a rental in an area that we liked.

This is what our patio looked like when we first saw it. To the left was the unit that was listed by mistake.

This is what our patio looked like when we first saw it. To the left was the unit that was listed by mistake.

When we were finally able to look inside, we liked what we saw but we told the Realtor that for the high rent we would be paying, we would need to have the patio screened. The cats would not have been happy cooped up inside. We later learned that the owners agreed and two days after we moved in we had a new, screened-in patio.

Our new screened-in patio

Our new screened-in patio – Notice Chris to the far right.

Once the patio was enclosed we put our cat door on the slider and the cats were able to go in and out at will, even when we were at work, which was not possible before because we could only lock it from the inside and since we had to leave through that door we had to keep it unlocked. We didn’t want someone coming by and letting the cats out so they were forced to stay inside all day.

Chris on Patio

20130606_Chris enjoying new patio

Coincidentally, we lived in the building in front of Chris two years ago.

Now they can come and go 24 hours a day, which is a real treat. They also have a much bigger patio to enjoy. In addition, we now live next door to a marina and there is a lot of activity for the cats to watch, There is also plenty of birds that make an appearance, especially an egret that must have been fed by the former tenant.

Egret on our patio
On another note, the bird that laid her eggs just outside our front window on the day we moved in sat on them for almost two weeks until Rose noticed on Friday morning that the nest was empty except for two eggs that were broken open. We think that a predator attacked the nest. Too bad; we were looking forward to seeing little chicks outside our window.

Let Them Eat Snake!

Yesterday evening Chris comes shooting through the cat door from our screened-in patio. Puck came in close behind and they were both playing with something under our dining room table. Rose notice what it was and started yelling, “He’s got a snake! He’s got a snake! Get it! Get it out of the house!”

It was a small snake, perhaps nine or ten inches long, and it was on the ground trying to escape but Chris and Puck had it corralled. I tried to grab it, but I wanted to pick it up near the head so it wouldn’t bite me. That slight hesitation gave Chris enough time to pick it up and run with it. It then became a game of keep-away.

I quickly got tired of the game and picked up Chris, with the snake in his mouth, and carried him onto the patio. I then held him down near the outside door until he dropped the snake. When he did, I pushed the snake under the door to the outside. Done… at least that is what I thought.

As soon as I let Chris go he ran to the door, reached as far under it as he could, and pulled the snake back inside. Bad cat! I had to go through it again. This time I held Chris down until he dropped it and then left the snake alone and put Chris in the house. I then picked up the snake, which was no longer moving, and threw it outside. If Rose wasn’t there I might have just let him eat it so the lost life would not be wasted.

Later I wondered why he always has to bring his catch into the house. Rose said he is giving us a gift. I am well aware of cats bringing dead animals to their owners as gifts, but when they bring it in and then play keep-away, it is not a gift.