Catio Construction How-To

The instructions below give the general overview of how I built catio:

  1. Board preparation
    1. Cut 4 2x12x8 boards down to 6′ to make top and bottom of the side walls.  (note: save the 2′ boards–you’ll need them later for the door frame)
    2. With a jig saw, cut notches in 2 2x12x12 boards to enable the roof to slope.  One board has a 3.5″ notch on either end; the other has a 2.5″ notch on either end.
    3. Stain all wood.  We applied two coats to all sides.  Let dry thoroughly.
  2. Constructing the outside of the enclosure
    1. Build first side wall frame using 2 2x12x6 boards (2 of the 2x12x8 boards that were cut down to 6′) for the horizontal top and bottom and 3 2x12x8 lengths for the vertical supports.  Attach boards using 3″ nails.
    2. For stability, we attached a 2x4x8 diagonally across the side wall by cutting notches into two of the 2x12x8 boards and one of the 2x12x6 boards to lock in the 2x4x8.  It is critical to make sure the wall frame is straight before cutting notches.  Once the 2x4x8 is locked in, the ends can be trimmed flush with the side walls.  (note:  the side on which the 2x4x8 is placed will be the outside)
    3. Cut two 8’3″ lengths of chain link.  (note:  the additional 3″ allows the chain link to be attached to the top and bottom boards).  Attach the chain link using 1.25″ staples to what will be the outside of the enclosure.
    4. Build the long wall frame using 2 2x12x12 boards for the horizontal top and bottom and 6 2x12x8 lengths for the vertical supports.  The vertical supports should be placed to create 5 sections:  a 4′ section in the middle, 3′ sections on either side, and then 1′ sections on the ends which will match up with the side walls.  Again, nail boards together using 3″ nails, attach 2x4x8 boards for stability, and attach chain link.
    5. Stand up the two completed sections and screw together using the 2.5″ screws.
    6. Create the final side wall very much like the first one.  Only difference is that the 2x4x8 only goes thru the one section and chain link only covers one section; the other section will be for the doors.
    7. For stability on the door section, use 3 of the 4 to build a double horizontal support 3′ in length.  Attach the support using 3″ nails so that their doorway is 7′ high.
    8. Attach this last section to the main wall using screws as before.
  3. Constructing the roof
    1. The notched 2x12x12 boards will be used to support the roof.  To support these boards, attach 2x4x8 boards to the wall frames on either end.  (note:  the 2x4x8 boards will need to be cut to fit.  We did this on site to get the most exact fit.)  The deepest notch board went along the building; the other notched board went down the middle.
    2. At this point, all wood is in place.  Since this catio was built on a deck, we then screwed it down to the deck for added stability.
    3. Attach roof panels using 1.25″ screws and washers.
  4. Constructing the interior & doors
    1. Attach chain link sections to the interior of the enclosure.  We used the 3/4″ staples except where the chain link overlapped; in those cases, we needed the larger 1.25″ staples.
    2. Build two doors using 4 2x4x8 boards for each:  2 are for the vertical edges, 1 is cut into thirds to create horizontal beams, and the last is a supporting diagonal.  Attach the door hinges and latch and then 5 tie plates per door for support as needed.
    3. Attach the doors to the doorway.
  5. Add cat things and cats!