Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense

Our cats are not spoiled… Part Two

In my ongoing effort to show that our cats are not spoiled, I here present exhibit… 21,467.

Chexie at the windowBut first, a little background might be in order. Chex Mix (known colloquially as “Chexie”) is our youngest cat and our newest addition. I think we’ve had her for close to two years. She’s sweet and got along with the other three cats for many months (cue dramatic music). But then, Peanut, who is sweet but evil, decided that Chexie was no longer deserving of acceptance and proceeded to attack her and do other, more odorous things. So, to keep the peace, Chexie became a permanent resident of our master bedroom… and has her own cat tree, her own toys, and her own servants to turn on the faucet for her so she can drink directly out of it rather than from a bowl because, you know, that’s just so gauche.

What she doesn’t have… or more accurately, didn’t have (until today) was her own outdoor, window-accessible enclosure. The other cats all share a rather elaborate one, so it hardly seemed fair (by cat standards) that she was denied such luxury.

Well that inequity ended today… and I have the scrapes and cuts to prove it (and the photos, but that’s secondary to my physical discomfort).

Vague and sketchy cat enclosure plansSince this enclosure had to be installed in a second-story window, I couldn’t make it as huge and unwieldy as the one for the other cats. It had to fit through the window from inside the house. Much like the process used to create the first enclosure, a vague and sketchy plan was devised at the kitchen table using various scraps of paper… and then promptly disregarded (mostly). The important parts were the measurements of the window… which I took at least 7 times in hopes of avoiding that “Oh crap!” moment caused by the box not fitting in the window.

So off I went to Lowes with papers in hand to buy supplies to build this thing. I didn’t have a shopping list, per se, because the plans were actually morphing in my head as I drove to the store. I had a rough idea that I needed plywood, some outdoor carpet, some angle brackets, bolts, cage wire, and… some other stuff (like actual plans).

The supplies (mostly)I did fairly well with my ever-changing mental list, even getting a great deal on a carpet remnant. I got all the stuff together and organized in the garage and, realizing I didn’t really have any decent plans, went to bed.

Sadly, the cat box fairies did not visit during the night to do all the building for me, so I worked out the details of my construction effort and made all the wood cuts (with Megan’s help) and the carpet cuts. Then came the [profanity removed] cage wire cuts with dull wire cutters and multiple, unintentional blood-lettings.

I hate this [profanity removed] wire.That done, the assembly process could begin, complete with hammering, drilling, stapling, screwing, and bolting. It was relatively uneventful other than a few minor errors in assembly order that were easily remedied by removal of carpet staples and an unexplained mislocation of several bolt holes.

This might actually work!Once the two main pieces were attached, it started to look like something that might actually come together. It was sturdy and, thanks to my excessively high number of window measurements, passed a test fit in the window with flying colors.

I had to make another trip to Lowes to pick up some additional fasteners to attach the wire to the base, but after everything was attached (and after a couple more unintentional, but minor, blood-lettings), it was ready to go in the window and be cat-tested.

Completed window box - inside view Completed window box - outside view

In the window it went. The fit was perfect (well… close enough to perfect for me to call it perfect), and it was very sturdy. I showed it to Chexie and held the door open for her and she walked right out onto it, sniffed around, and came back inside to use the litter box. I’m not sure if that was a sign, but I really hope not.

Here are some final shots of the installed enclosure.

Installed in the window This will be Chexie's view
View from outside View from outside - with more perspective

12 Comments

  1. Thundy says:

    If you don’t bleed, it won’t work!

  2. Barbara says:

    Great idea! How does it attach or stay in the window? I couldn’t figure that out from the pictures. Thanks!
    Barb

    1. Dan says:

      Barbara, it fits in the window like a window air conditioner. The wooden part that has the door in it is side enough that it won’t go through the window, while the cage part is just narrow enough to fit through (like the air conditioner part). Then I just close the window down on the top of it and voila! 🙂

      I hope that makes sense!

  3. Ginger says:

    Do you have to remove it every night so you can close the window to lock up and secure for the night?

    1. Dan says:

      This particular one was in a 2nd-story window, so there was no need. Our larger one that was on a 1st-floor window was on the back/side of the house and our area is very “low crime,” so we never removed it.

      This one is fairly easy to remove, though, so if we did want to take it out every night, it wouldn’t be an issue. The bigger one had a window insert that would have been even easier to remove, except for the fact that I had the entire outside structure wired to it. With a little more design effort on my part, I could have remedied that situation, too. 🙂

  4. Lorrie MacArgle says:

    LOVE your kitty kat window addition. I have a sanctuary for rescued cats, and I think your window cage will work perfectly over one of our windows that is about 36 inches long by 36 high. The only concern I have is the outside wall is concrete. Any ideas here?? BTW I will probably have the frame built of wood as we have lots of it in the basement of our two story sanctuary. In spite of having the run of the sanctuary with wall walks, port holes and tall posts to climb the cats are really wanting to get outside and this window addition will help.

    Lorrie The Cat Lady in Terra Alta, WV

    1. Dan says:

      Lorrie,

      With this particular design, the material of the outside wall doesn’t really matter. It fits into the window frame like a window air conditioning unit, so the only support comes from the window frame. It doesn’t actually touch any of the outside wall.

      As long as you measure right and build to the size of the window frame, you should be fine.

      Let me know how it goes!

  5. Lorrie MacArgle says:

    Sorry no html. We use LINUX

  6. Marti's DIY says:

    Both of your cat enclosures are great, but I’m especially intrigued by this one. Is the wire you used the same as hardware cloth? I bought a roll of that to make mine but if yours is easier to work with, I might want to change mine out. If it’s not hardware cloth, where did you get it?

    1. Dan says:

      Thanks for the comment! I used a heavier, 16-gauge wire for this enclosure because it needed to support itself and the hardware cloth is usually too flimsy for that. I got 1×1 welded wire for this project. Here’s a link for the item at Lowe’s so you can see the details. You should be able to get something similar from most home improvement stores. Good luck!

      Blue Hawk 24-in x 15-ft Silver Galvanized Steel Welded Wire

  7. Diane says:

    Love this! Great work, Dan!

  8. […] cat door into an exterior wall so that I could eventually add a big catio instead of the small, window units that I had made at the old […]

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