This weekend, the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon is creating a self-guided tour of the coolest catios in the city. And yet, we're pretty certain it missed the best one. Behind a midcentury house off Southeast Stark Street in Buckman, you'll see a remarkably stylish catio—an enclosure befitting Harambe himself, were he a cat.
An artist built this backyard fluff palace to accommodate up to 10 cats. It makes the standard enclosed outdoor cat area look like a wet playground during a Portland winter.
While others have dedicated sections of their yards to their feline friends, this man made his entire backyard a giant enclosure—the habitat is covered, with netting going up about 15 feet. When you walk through the maze of the catio, you hear felines flopping to the ground from one of the many cat walkways, pedestals and tiny houses.
We wanted to know every detail of the build-out.
1. GUEST HOME
With rustic wooden planks and emerald-painted window panes, the timber cabin Guest Home is distinguished by its privacy. It's north-facing for soft light and perfectly situated for cats to escape the rain or lick their parts.
2. TREE LADDER
Designed for mobility, the five-level Cat Tree structure is built with faded wood planks. The diagonal, stained slabs provide a small obstacle for cats to stretch their back legs and practice dexterity. Having five levels allows one level for every two cats, so they can be cozy but not cramped.
3. AERIAL RUNWAY
Appearing to be inspired by Le Corbusier's later Latin aesthetic, the runway provides a calming air perch. Cats are natural tree-climbers, so establishing vertical territory was key to keeping the kitties happy.
4. SKY GARDEN
Pre-domestication, many cats lived in lush rainforests and among tall palms. The palms here help the cats connect with their ancestors in the shadows of a tall, orange canna. It's natural, organic and good for their sense of well-being.
The fourth annual Catio Tour is Saturday, Sept. 10. 10 am-2 pm. $10 suggested donation. Register at feralcats.com.