Expert Builder Series
This is the sixth 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.
John Kuepper has been “keeping cats safe and happy since 2005.” Since launching CATMANDO he has completed a whopping 425+ projects in and around Denver, Colorado. He has also been known to take his skills on the road to locations as varied as Cheyenne, Wyoming and Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Montrose, Colorado. It’s impossible not to have mad respect for a guy who was so far ahead of his time. For reference, Jackson Galaxy’s TV show, “My Cat From Hell,” which played a giant size role in educating the masses about catios, debuted 6 years after John’s business.
Questions & Answers
- What materials do you generally use? Anything unique?
Here at CATMANDO, we use all steel products, from prefabricated powder coated panel to galvanized wire mesh of various gauges. Using this approach my customers and I can rely on the longevity and structural integrity of their enclosure systems. All enclosure systems are designed to be predator proof, maintenance free, movable, and expandable. Interior walkways and perches are redwood or cedar and are placed depending on the needs of the customers and their cats. By modifying and re-configuring these materials, we have created cat spaces of various sizes, from a 2′ x 3′ window box to a 35′ x 60′ covered back yard.
- Can you please share at least three best practices and/or tips you’ve developed over time?
Working with customers to design a system that fits their cats, their lifestyle, and their budget. Using a modular approach ensures that these systems can be modified or expanded to suit the changing needs of the cats and customers.
Tunnels can help to make the seemingly impossible possible whether it’s for general access or for expansion into an additional enclosure. We use multiple styles of tunnels depending upon conditions, from light gauge wire to tunnels that will support a full size adult.
Safety, Safety, Safety, from my own safe practices during installation to ensuring every scrap of wire and any stray screws are collected and are disposed of properly. The safety of the cats within their space is also carefully considered.
- Do you have a favorite catio story?
I got a request several years ago for an enclosure requiring 20′ of unsupported tunnel from a 2nd floor balcony to a “cube” enclosure suspended 10′ from the ground with an additional 15′ of tunnel from the “cube” to a 10’x10′ enclosure on the ground. This property is in the mountains and has no fencing, so visitation from the local wildlife is fairly frequent, reinforcing the necessity of durability and predator-resistant materials. The idea/design was straightforward, the execution, construction, and installation… not so much.