You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 11:34 a.m.

Cats on Deck offers pet owners a safe choice to indulge their cats outdoors

By Lorrie Shaw


flickr photo courtesy of DW Rose

Most cats are eager to scoot outside if given the chance, especially with comfortable temperatures and enticing activity going on beyond the glass that separates them from all of that.

And, why not? Cats know what's good!

As I wrote several months ago, researchers have established that mental and physical activity is crucial in keep a cat's senses and body in good shape, extending their healthy years.

The outdoors is a superior environment for a cat, no doubt — there's so much to see and do.

But, for a lot of reasons, it's just not safe for the felines. And bird lovers are emphatic that cats are bad news where feathered wildlife are concerned.

And, sure, cat harnesses are great; they're inexpensive and easy to use, but on the downside, cats must be attended while outdoors while wearing one. Not always practical, right?

While a lot of cats have the luxury of having a screened-in porch or the like that they can spend time on to get some of the benefits of the outdoors while staying safe, some households just aren't lucky enough to have that.

For those families living in condominiums and apartments, it's especially challenging.

Pet owners in second-story-and-up units are warned of the dangers of their cat's curiosity and fearlessness of heights when unscreened windows or sliding doors are left open in these situations: High Rise Syndrome can cause serious injury or death. Named so by veterinary clinicians because of the injuries that cats sustain in a fall from high-rise windows, fire escapes and terraces, it's totally preventable.

One company has stepped up to the plate to create a system that can help get cats the stimulation that they need, while keeping them — and birds — safe, at a more affordable price while offering flexibility.

Cats on Deck has designed an enclosure that they tout as easy to assemble and to clean and easy to break down if need be. Available in several designs and sizes, there is a configuration for any household.

Made from furniture-grade PVC and galvanized wire that is coated in vinyl, the enclosures are meant to be set up on a deck or indoors, even connected to a home's indoor environment with a kitty door to integrate indoor and outdoor use.

Priced from around $500 to more than $2,000, the enclosures can be ordered online.

Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger for Catch her daily pet adventures on the web or email her directly.



Thu, Sep 22, 2011 : 8:19 a.m.

indoor/outdoor cat enclosures are awesome. The bigger the better. When some of my kittens were adopted one gentleman had built (with 2x4's and a fine chicken wire type of mesh) a large multi-level space so the cat could enjoy the weather, sun, and watch wildlife without being a threat or threatened.


Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

Honestly -- If you live in an area where you can't let your cat out and do their cat thing then you probably shouldn't have a cat. Having a cat in the house all the time is like making Einstein work on the assembly line.


Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

It's a shame they use PVC, which is toxic and a known carcinogen. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

Thank you. PVC does appear problematic, for humans and (perhaps) for nonhuman animals. Unfortunately, unless I am mistaken, it is commonly used these days for indoor residential water pipes, particularly for new construction.


Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

Apologies. They cover phthalates and lead in that information, which is used in the production of PVC. Here is more information on PVC in general: <a href=",%20the%20Poison%20Plastic.pdf" rel='nofollow'>,%20the%20Poison%20Plastic.pdf</a>


Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 6:02 p.m.

I looked at your link and can find no reference to PVC or polyvinyl chloride within the article. Please cite the actual page (of 7) on which PVC is discussed. Thanks.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

Not sure if it's true, but I heard that having a cat off leash in the city of Ann Arbor (like a dog) is against the law. My cats are afraid to go outside anyway. One time, li'l Phyllis was batting at flies and fell through the screen. Poor thing was traumatized. Now she just bats at a different screen (they never learn).

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.

One thing that isn't mentioned in this article but needs to be pointed out to cat owners is that allowing your cats to roam the neighborhood is trespassing (once they leave your yard, that is). And, since the cat is not a citizen itself but the property and responsibility of the owner, it is actually the owner who is trespassing. Somehow this breach of law is considered acceptable to most cat owners. Similar to those dog owners who let their dogs go off-leash in city parks and on school playgrounds.

John of Saline

Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 4 p.m.

I've heard the word &quot;catio&quot; used in reference to enclosed structures that allow a cat some outdoor time without letting them roam free.