Catio Build Day One: Peeling It Back

Sunny and Patchouli are littermates, born in a Minnesota barn, adopted by us at about 5 months.

For kitties who've tasted the freedom to roam, they seem content being indoor only.

They have to be, because cats are not the top predators they think they are.

There's plenty that could get them here: eagles, coyotes, maybe even a mountain lion--though a tough raccoon would be bad enough.

All the neighbors have warned us to keep them inside. They know first-hand the feline body count is high.

But we still want them to have some form of outdoor access, so we're converting the back upper deck into a catio by building up and screening it in.

 Note the gray (formerly white) fascia board where railing posts are attached. (Foreshadowing!)

The balustrade segments were attached with six or so nails each. 
Easiest way to remove was to cut them out with recip saw.
They'll be reinstalled later between taller posts.
I don't expect anyone to watch the whole thing, but too many videos skip over the tedium.
But you can count on me to share the boring stuff in all its time-consuming banality.
 
Next step was to unbolt the 4x4 posts. These will be replaced with 8-footers to frame in the space.
 
 While the humans toil, Sunny waits like a pharoah for the monument to his glory to be completed.
 
Generations of moss have called this roof home. This is the moss boss, Boss Moss. I'm likin' it!

Got briefly distracted again. How could I not? These two are inseparable.

Removing the fascia reveals rotted 2x8 underneath. Never design your deck to trap moisture!
Pressure-treated lumber is not some miracle wood. It is resilient to moisture so long as it can dry, but if water gets perpetually trapped, it will infiltrate and rot--in places that are difficult to detect.


When I went inside, I heard strange sounds from the bathroom and found Sunny had broken into a cabinet and shoved his head into a jar to steal a leftover unused foam toilet ring from a recent repair. This is why progress around here isn't always expeditious. Too many gremlins delightfully mucking up the program.

 
They resist all efforts at catproofing.
 
In the midst of this, we essayed a side quest, carried down one of Sarah's commissioned works in progress. We really had to thread the needle between bed and desk. The chainlink panel is 6'x10'.
 
 
One of the first things we did after moving in was install a cat branch in the living room corner.
Soon after, we added a vertical element to make it a tree which they still relish climbing.

Because the fascia was trapping water, it warped. To "correct" this, someone had driven a lot of extra long nails into it lately, each of which I clawed out to preserve the 18-foot 1x9--an impressive hunk o' lumber.

Fortunately, only the outer rim joist 2x8 needs to be replaced. Lucky we caught the problem now.



The cats remained unconcerned.
 
 This is as far as we got today. There was still yard work and other repairs to do.

Also laundry. After intermittent rain, the sun came out and stayed out so we strung a line out front.

Sunny likes to slide and crash into things. He's a lot like me when I was a kid.

He can't resist this tube when it's placed on this flag.

I'm sorry--was I supposed to be doing something?
 
At this rate, will the catio ever be completed? Stay tuned.

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