Some say I am a crazy cat lady. They might be right. Prior to my involvement in purebred cats, I had and still have a number of rescue cats. Years ago, I would let my cats be indoor/outdoor cats. I live in a rural area and I had a number of cats disappear, so started keeping all but the barn cat in the house full time. They adjusted, but I always felt something was missing for them. Cat towers, windows and toys were great, but especially since there were more than a couple of cats, I felt there was stress in the clowder. So, I got the idea of building a cat yard.
If you google cat yard, you will find a lot of options. I decided I wanted a yard that incorporated trees, shrubs and room for them to play. I picked the area outside of my sun room to fence in. It is a large area with a small lawn, a large garden filled with various plants including cat nip, several trees from large to moderate like a dog wood and a Korean lilac.
It was a challenge to find someone to do the job. Fence builders did not call me back. If they did, they failed to show up at the appointed time. A friend of mine volunteered her handy husband who had installed a number of fences. He agreed and we followed up with a plan. PVC and deer fencing were the main staples. The key is at the top where there is an 18 inch fence piece that comes off the vertical into a horizontal on the inside of the fence to prevent the cats from climbing over.
To put it mildly, the cats love it. It has had its challenges. I guarantee if there is a weak spot, a cat will find it before I do. I gave up keeping one of the rescues contained. Jigsaw is a tremendous athlete. Despite wrapping the large ash trees with metal, she can still scale up the one tree, head out the branch I had cut back and launch herself through the air to a twelve foot drop onto the roof of the house and jump off the roof to freedom. If there are any doubters, I got her on video once. Unfortunately for her, the ash trees will be cut down next year due to disease.
The rest of the cats spend time napping in the hosta, chewing on the nip, and climbing the dogwood. Yes, there is the occasional vermin hunt, and, yes, they have carried their trophy into the house via the cat door. The fall is a favorite time as leaf chasing is a popular pastime. Snow is often tolerated in the winter, much more than I would have expected. There are times that snow is a paws down. Of course, summer is special due to sunbathing. I have a wicker chair and a concrete garden bench in the garden for perches. I also have plastic children’s toys on the lawn they can climb on.
When in my sun room, a friend once exclaimed that I have an aquarium, but with cats that I can watch!