This weekend the weather was fine and we had free time, so we were able to finish the cat enclosure. Essentially this meant covering the yard with cat netting and patching up any potential escape points, for example, making sure the cats are not able to get under the house, or squeeze through a gap in the fernery wall.
For the uninitiated, good cat netting is pre-stretched netting that is strengthened sufficiently that cats cannot tear it. If they climb on it, it will bear their weight, and is woven in a way where their claws will not get hooked into the netting.
We were very happy with the Catmax netting we used in our previous house, and as the new owners did not want it, we were able to take it with us and re-use it. However, the size of the yard meant we needed to buy more netting. As this was just going to go overhead, and it is unlikely the cats will be able to reach this, we chose a cheaper cat netting for this part. To be fair, it looks much like Catmax, to the extent it is hard to tell them apart with the exception that Catmax is woven a little finer and is less visible to the naked eye.
Step 1 required a means to hold up the cat netting. We did not want to put up posts in the middle of the back yard, so we devised a system of wires connected from the house to the fernery at roof height. These wires were tensioned as much as possible. We put up some of these wires before we pulled down the lattice fence (see Cat Enclosure Stage 1) so you will notice the Banksia Rose in one of the photos below.
Step 2 involved physically getting the netting over the wires. This was heavy work and took a while.
Step 3 was simply attaching the netting to the side fence and the bunglow roof so it could be tensioned. Once done, the netting was high enough to walk under and was evenly stretched across the entire yard.
Step 4 involved checking for potential escape routes and blocking them off. We did this with Catmax or with offcuts of the lattice fence which was in sufficiently good order to be re-used. We plan on covering up the shadecloth staples with a facia board at a later date to make the attachment points look more polished from the inside.
Once it was completed, the cat enclosure looked like this:
More photos of this enclosure will appear as I document Luna and Clio’s use of the space.
By the time we completed the enclosure, it was a bit late to bring the cats outside, but we were so excited to see their response, we gave it a go anyway. Luna was tempted to look around the door, but was too timid to venture out beyond the decking. Clio took off to the opposite end of the house, and went back to bed. I guess it was a bit much for her to comprehend. Oh well, their first day outside would have to wait another day.