Family purrrfects 'catio'

Staff writer

Although they may not have broad enough vocabularies to articulate the depth of their emotions, it is likely that Marion felines Buttons and Koda feel like pretty cool cats right about now.

They have a hip new “catio,” a purrrfect enclosure for lounging in, and they didn’t even have to lift a claw to get one.

Their owner, Kimberly Young, petitioned its construction.

“I was a little skeptical at first,” Young’s fiancé, Josh Hauck, said. “I thought it would be an eyesore in front of the house, but she’s my fiancée. I got to keep her happy.”

Young also enlisted the help of her reluctant 16-year-old son, Nathan, a dog devotee and avid skate boarder.

“Mom thinks our cats are goddesses,” Nathan said. “She saw some catios online and told us we were going to build one.”

Young laughed.

She doesn’t think of her feline affection that way, but having acquired Buttons and Koda from an out-of-county woman about four months ago, Young wanted to do something special for them.

“I love cats. I love dogs. I just love animals,” Young said. “Koda and Buttons are so cute and cuddly. I wanted them to have more freedom.”

She also wanted to ensure her cat’s safety.

“They are indoor cats, and Buttons is declawed,” she said. “I didn’t want other animals to get them, a car to run them over, or take a chance of them running away.”

The catio soon became another home improvement project Young and Hauck regularly do on weekends as a way to spend time together after a busy workweek.

“We built it with pallet wood and chicken wire,” Hauck said. “We do a lot of projects around the house with pallets. Our entertainment center is made out of pallets. I made a lounge chair from pallets, and we extended the deck in our backyard out to our pond with pallets so we can see the goldfish from it.”

At first, the catio was a box protruding from a window that gave the cats enough room to turn in small circles and lay down, but soon Young wanted more for her cats.

“It was too small,” Young said. “I wanted to enlarge it so they could have more room to stretch out.”

And grow it did, to the width and girth of a refrigerator but not quite as tall.

Hauck also added a little flair by charring the wood with a torch to give it a more pastoral look. Then Hauck, Young, and Nathan worked together to attach it to the house.

“I’m not a cat person and Kimberly knows it,” Hauck said. “But they kind of grew on me, and she wanted to make it bigger so we made it bigger.”

Nathan said the cats seem happier since the catio was expanded.

“They spend a lot of time out there,” he said.

Perched atop a plank of pallet wood, the rustic rectangle gives Buttons and Koda ample room to climb and play. There are also a couple shelves for them to relax on in the shade of the overhanging trees.

“They absolutely love it,” Young said. “They only come inside to eat and drink and poop and pee.”

Last modified Aug. 18, 2016