Expert Builder Series
This is the fifth Q&A in a series of interviews with catio experts from around the world. My hope is to learn from the best catio builders on the planet and pass on that knowledge far and wide.
Hellas Pet Enclosures
We are staying north of the border to visit with Don & Yvette of Hellas Pet Enclosures which services Edmonton and Alberta, Canada. I have long admired the duo’s ability to couple a streamlined / functional exterior with super playful interiors. As an added bonus, many of their catios can be reconfigured to fit a new home should one move. Finally, they are just good people who care deeply about cats. Before tackling my questions below, they wrote:
“We feel privileged to be a part of your survey. We love our business and love seeing kitties explore new safe outdoor spaces. We love getting messages from clients who tell us how much their fur babies love our catios. We love the ability to be creative and try new fun things for cats 🐈.”
Questions & Answers
- What materials do you generally use? Anything unique?
We use the heaviest gauge 2” x 2” Galvanized Mesh we can get, which allows us to not use any wood framing for the structures (which translates to less maintenance). We use only cedar wood products for kitties fun shelves and lounging areas (as it has the natural ability to resist the weather without the need to paint or treat it). Safest for kitties.
- Can you please share at least three best practices and/or tips you’ve developed over time?
1) Listen to the client.
2) Spend a little time getting to know the fur babies and their abilities. Are they a tree dweller or bush dweller, do they have physical disabilities?
3) Don’t put a roof on it. Kitties might as well be inside the house in front of the window screen. They deserve the best outdoor time possible, to watch birds flyover, and chase down bugs.
4) Give them independent access to the house, and they will come in to get out of inclement weather and to eat.
5) Make them a little house to give them a little shade.
- Do you have a favorite catio story?
Our favourite Catio story is the largest build we did to date. The client gave us a free hand to be creative. It was a 12ft x 16ft x 9ft-6” high, with 42 ft of tunnel that connected to a jump up tower that came down from a large window Catio with their access point. It took us 3 days to install and we were burnt out. We Got home and posted it to face book, and the post went viral. It got over 56k shares, over 24k reactions and over 26k comments from around the world, and was viewed by over 7.5 million people. It really let us know we are doing good for kitties, and since we can’t build everyone a Catio, we can inspire others to do something for their kitties, besides letting them roam unsupervised. “Responsible Pet Ownership” is our message.
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