Hi. This is my first post and my first major DIY. I adopted a cat and as I work from home in a converted garage he spends his day with me. Unfortunately my home office does not have internal access to the house, but I wanted my cat to have autonomy to choose where he goes, so I built this catwalk/catio which extends from my bedroom window to the back window of the office.
I recently purchased this old house so I still have a LOT of DIY ahead of me.
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community! It is awesome you have joined and shared your fantastic catio with us. Your furry friend looks like they are loving their new indoor-outdoor catwalk. I am sure other cat owners and catwalk creators like @Shannon and @Chrissie35 would love to know how you created your project, do you have any details you can share with us?
Congratulations on your new old home! It is very exciting that you have more DIY home improvements ahead. Feel free to ask the Workshop community your questions along the way. We are happy to help.
I am very new to any sort of building that isn't flat pack furniture, but when I purchased my first home, a double brick single story place older than my parents, it seemed like the time to learn. One of the first big things I wanted was a Catwalk, so when I was quoted close to $2000 to have one built I decided it was a good place to start and was going to be my first project.
Being a newbie who didn't own a single power tool, or many hand tools for that matter, I decided working smart was the way to go. This meant buying as many items as I could that were already the size I needed, or required minimal modifications.
The most optimal entry point for one end of the catwalk is my bedroom window (pictured above). I needed a cat door installed that was aesthetically pleasing, functional and would allow me the use of my window (the guy that quoted me to build the catwalk said I wouldn't be able to open my window after he modified it!).
The patio insert pet doors sold at Bunnings are two pieces, and just using the bottom half I had the purr-fect 😸 way to install a cat door whilst maintaining full functionality of my window. All I had to do was make a new flyscreen to go alongside it (which I learned how to do a couple months beforehand by watching a Bunnings YouTube tutorial).
Next was the path from one window to the next. For context - before moving in I had the old garage converted into a home office, and there is no internal door to the house. I want my cat to have a safe outdoor zone, and also I love having him with me while I work, so the catwalk/catio seemed like the way to go.
This was the original vision, but working smarter adjusted a couple tiny elements.
These 396x1200 12mm plywood boards were absolutely perfect. Big enough that a cat can easily turn around or 2 cats can pass one another, small enough that the eave of my roof covers it, and they fit really well on some 30cm brackets.
Next thing to consider: enclosure. As you can see in the picture I found some mesh panels which came in several sizes. I sat down and did some scribbling to figure out how many of which size would I need.
I ended up using a few 1200x900, 1200x600, and 900x600. I had an old wooden shelf and a mallet which I used to bend panels into right angles.
Tall enough that the average cat can walk through without bumping their fuzzy little ears. Attached to the plywood and wall with clips, and attached to each other with aviary clips.
I was having so much fun building this that I made a set of stairs about 27cms high for a creature that can jump fences . . . I don't even care. I love watching him wander up and down them.
Next came time for the platforms. I could have cut these by hand, but I really am enjoying making things so much I decided to invest in a jigsaw. It also made cutting a hole for the other cat door a lot easier. I decided a cat door in plywood was sufficient for the other window as it is in a back corner and rarely seen. If I want to upgrade in the future I certainly can and the plywood I used only set me back twenty bucks.
There was a bit of overhang from a couple of the mesh panels which I used bolt cutters to remove and some files to round off.
All in all the raw materials cost under $800, a steal when you consider how much I learned and gained from this experience. I spent about $5-600 on tools, but that was a personal choice and investment. I could have borrowed things, etc. but, for example, I felt it was wise to buy a hammer drill considering I am the owner of a double brick home.
Since building this catwalk/catio for my boy he has used it multiple times a day, every day. At night while I read a book he sneaks out to enjoy the night air. During the day he finds a nice spot and lays in the sun having a nap.
I got a lot of assistance and encouragement from the folks at my local Bunnings (Belconnen, ACT) and never felt silly asking them a million questions.
So, in the end I came in way under the quote. I know my version isn't to a professional standard, but it's functional, safe, and I'm dang proud. I know there's plenty of room for improvement, but I think this was a good first effort, and I look forward to my next challenge.
For anyone wondering - I can still raise and lower my awning, and both windows have flyscreens (that I built) and can be fully opened, opened only to have the cat door available, or fully closed.
You have done an incredible job! It is hard to believe this is your first DIY project. You've taken in so many considerations that many overlook, but you are absolutely right that planning makes perfect. As a beginner on the tools, how did you find using a jigsaw and hammer drill? Do you have your eye on anymore tools at the moment?
My Mum is very supportive and knows how much I enjoy crafting, and now DIY, so she wants to buy me a Dremel with all the attachments as a gift.
I think I'll be looking at getting a power sander, as so many of the doors and cupboards in my home are beautiful wood, but have been painted a dull "scrambled egg" colour. I've already started stripping back the paint on my wardrobe, but I scraped a bit hard in spots and need to sand it back.
I LOVE having a hammer drill. So far I have used it to put up curtain rails, a fancy new shower, properly hung surround sound speakers, and put up a coatrack!
My next big project is extending the cabinets in my kitchen for some extra bench space and storage.
I've started drafting my plans and shopping list already, and I'll be checking out the community for hints and tips before I begin.
Your catwalk looks fantastic, and I am impressed that you went to the effort of making stairs. Believe me, they will use it as they get older. It's great to hear that you've started familiarizing yourself with power tools.
You've mentioned that you are extending your kitchen cabinetry, would it be possible for you to post a photo of that area? I'm sure our members would be more than happy to make some suggestions on cabinet layout.
We look forward to seeing your next project.
What a nice present from you mum! A Dremel is such a good tool that does so many things, I love it for detailing.
I don't blame you for wanting to get rid of a scrambled egg colour in your home. I would definitely do the same. Check out this article Essential power tools for DIY beginners and beyond as there is a section on sanders you may be interested in.
I cannot wait to see your wardrobe transform. Keep us updated along the way with your progress.
Checking out painting window frames & saw your post - wanted to say your attitude is inspiring & to wish you well.
Thank you so much @SBROWN!
This community has been really helpful for me, and I'm sure you found some helpful posts.
I painted my bedroom before I moved in and used Frog Tape to get sharp clean lines, and I'll pass on my warning: that stuff is maybe too good! It tore the paint off my ceiling, and the lacquer off my floorboards 😨
Admittedly this house is about 50-60 years old and those were probably original to the house, so probably fragile anyway.
I found that cutting in with an angled brush have me really clean lines, but the Frog Tape worked well around the window to keep the paint off the glass.
Good luck with your project!