Today I want to share an Ikea catio with you. This fantastic idea for making your own outdoor cat cage is similar to my DIY cat enclosure. This cat cage is made out of Ikea wood utility shelving and chicken wire that is attached right to the house with a roof over it. The difference between mine and other large cat enclosures that I posted about is that it doesn’t have any tunnels.
I met Jenn on Instagram after my recent TNR blog post. We started talking about feral cats, our love for animals, and her catio. I asked her if she’d let me share her photos with you guys and I’m so glad that she agreed. I truly think it is a fantastic idea! Constructing a cat cage her way eliminates having to build one the way I did where I had to come up with my own plan.
So I’m letting Jenn explain the way her semi-feral cats live in her yard, garage, and catio.
DIY Ikea catio attached to house
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- wooden shelving unit like you can find at Ikea (this outdoor cat cage is made from Ikea HENJE shelves but other wooden utility shelving or Ikea bookcases might work too)
- wire cage fence, chicken wire, or wire mesh
- galvanized staples and a staple gun (or hammer fence staples by hand which I have already done too and works well)
- lumber for the door if you decide to build one
- galvanized door hinges for the door
- wire cutters
- door latch
- cat door
- galvanized wood screws
- lumber and galvanized screws for the base if you decide to build one
- protective coating for wood
- cat beds, carpet, scratching posts, and perches
Ikea catio instructions
- Assemble the shelving unit according to the instructions
- Build a base for the unit if you think it needs one as shown in the photos. It works without it as well though.
- Building a door is as easy as cutting and screwing a frame together that fits within the unit as pictured.
- Lastly cut the wire cage fencing into panels and attach it to the outside of the outdoor cat cage with the staple gun
Jenn’s story behind the Ikea catio
“My 6 ferals ( a mom and her three sons and two daughters) do not go in the house except occasionally when I bring the two friendliest in for a bit. The others are too scared and will run the other way if I try to get them to come through the door. I can pick all of them up and pet them but a couple are very skittish. I also have another feral I TNR’d in December. His name is Felix. But he never returned back to the other side of the neighborhood so I set up shelters for him on the other side of the yard. My six have not accepted him and do not want him near them which makes me feel bad. But I’m hoping they will start to tolerate him eventually as he is very sweet.
I feed them in the garage and I call them in for dinner with a special whistle. They all know their names too. They are in and out throughout the day enjoying fresh air outdoor cat enclosure which has a window into the garage. The garage is set up with many sleeping areas and even has a loft area up top. If my husband is not parking in his side of the garage, I will corral them all in for dinner. Then I lock the catio so they stay in for the rest of the night. I am a nervous wreck with all the coyotes around so I sometimes stay up late if needed to make sure they all come in.
Summertime becomes an issue because the garage gets too hot so I hoped with an even bigger catio, they will choose to sleep in there instead of outside. They now have a full Birdseye view of the front yard and the back yard with the new bigger catio.
Meet the Felines in their outdoor cat patio
Here are some pictures of the crew – From left to right, Tiger (my absolute fave and leader), Champ, Charli, Mittens, and Brownie kitty.
Charli in front (the mom – a free spirit that often does her own thing and has no maternal love for her kids – pals around with Brownie mostly), Tiger and Mittens:
Snuggling in the garage:
The cats come and go outside as they please and wander around the neighborhood. They mostly hang out in the woods by my house. Or they sleep under the neighbor’s decks or under sheds if it’s a nice day. The great outdoors is where they want to be.
In the winter they will stay close and limit their own time outdoors. Most likely they will be found sleeping in the garage. The good news is that they definitely view my house and yard as their home so they are in and out all day and always checking in with me. It is very rare that I don’t see them throughout the day.
My final goal is to make half of our porch/patio a four-season sunroom. The smaller ones will be inside the sunroom and the others can be connected via a window. They will have heat and air conditioning but also outside access and they will be closer to living a comfortable life mostly indoors! I figure the older they get, the less outside adventurous they will be.”
You can follow Jenn, her pets, and foster animals at @jennlynnm37 on Instagram.
The purpose of Jenn’s Ikea catio is to keep her now semi-feral cats safe at night from other predators like coyotes. I love that these former scared ferals now trust her enough to be called in for dinner and comfortably be locked in at night. Who knows, they might become house cats one day. They have a warm wonderful place to sleep between the garage and catio that they can enter through a cat door when they are locked in during the night.
Something else to consider for building your own catio
Since Jenn’s Ikea catio’s purpose is to only keep them safe at night if they want to sleep outside, I think the narrow size of the shelving unit is perfect. If you have indoor cats that want to roam outside you might want to make it a little bigger with some tunnels as I did.
Also, keep in mind that the Ikea wood shelving units aren’t made from pressure-treated wood. That means they don’t withstand weather as well as pressure-treated wood does. That is the reason I used a combination of pressure-treated and cedarwood. Jenn’s goal is to make this a four-season sunroom that will keep the wood protected from the weather.
Where to buy similar structures to the Ikea catio
Not everyone likes to DIY things! So if you don’t want to build your own then check out these following great affordable options.
Another cat cage catio idea/option
Consider searching for a used wooden childrens play structure on Craigslist. Then remove all the plastic accessories, and transform it with some cage wiring into a catio. I’ve thought about that for a while now and it would make a great enclosure for your furry loves as well.
As I mentioned earlier, the sole purpose of the cat cage is to give them a safe way to sleep outside should they choose to. Jenn went above and beyond to give these shy cats a great life. Don’t you think this is beyond wonderful?
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