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The Best Cat Gift Ever

Updated on January 27, 2017
Snakesmum profile image

Jean, aka Snakesmum, has been an animal lover for her whole life. Cats are a favourite, and there is one living with her.

Tia under the raspberry canes.
Tia under the raspberry canes. | Source

Pens Give Cats Time Outside!

Good health again would be the best gift we could give our cat Tia. Since we couldn't give this back to her, our vet advised us that she should become an inside only cat, due to the risk of infections, etc., if she was still allowed to run free outside. An outside pen was the answer, as Tia loved being outside.

Outside runs are great for cats, but they can be very expensive. Luckily, we had an old chicken run which was no longer used at the back of the garden, so it became Tia's outside area.

I took this photo of Tia, but she refused to face the camera! She loved lying under the raspberry canes on hot days, and decided to stay put. It was one of her favourite spots.

All images are mine, and are copyright, thanks.

Tia in her free days, under the tea-tree.
Tia in her free days, under the tea-tree. | Source

An Old Chicken Pen Is Ideal For A Cat Run

Since there was an old run and a chicken coop left over from the time we had chickens, the coop was cleaned out and carpeted, which made it a roomy shelter for the cat in wet or very hot weather. The run was cleaned up and made suitable for Tia. A small under cover area at the rear, which was a daytime shelter for the chickens was dug over and some kitty litter added, and this has become the toilet area.

Although the run looks bare in the photo, it is really different now, as there are raspberry canes, cat grass, catnip and cat mind growing in it, which make a much more cat-friendly place. There are also some geraniums and violets, which add to the shade in Summer.

In the picture below, you can just see the covered kitty litter area behind Tia. We have planted geraniums behind the fence to give it a shaded and private feeling.

The Old Chicken Coop

The Old Chicken Coop
The Old Chicken Coop | Source

Cats Love To Be Outside

Tia at her ease
Tia at her ease | Source

Unfortunately, it isn't always possible for a cat to be allowed outside. My cat, for example, is FIV+ so can't be allowed to roam free, as she may spread the disease, or get an infection from fighting. She used to be an outside cat until she was found to be FIV+, and for the first few months inside, was extremely unhappy. She used to stand on her hind-legs at the backdoor, batting at it to make it open, or pushing her head at the locked cat door.

The very best gift I could give her, would be her health back, but since that isn't possible, the next best thing is allowing her to have at least some time outside. A cat pen is the only answer, since leashes and harnesses don't work. We tried a leash, but she became hysterical.

At first, the cat didn't appreciate being carried to and from this pen, but she came to realise it was the only way to get outside, and seemed to enjoy her time out there.

Tia Enjoying The Sun

Cat enjoying the sun.
Cat enjoying the sun. | Source

With her white nose, Tia needed shade, and we also put a pet sun-screen on her for protection against skin cancer. You can just make out the strawberry flowers to her right, and there are violets behind her. There were a couple of grass plants in front of the coop so that she could eat it as she wished.

A pen isn't true freedom for her, but it was the very best we ccould do in the cirumstances. She looks happy enough in the photo, and I could see part of the pen from my study window as I worked, to keep an eye on her.

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A New Use For The Pen!

Magic in the pen
Magic in the pen | Source

Well, it's not really a new use, but a new cat now has the pen as her very own.

Tia is no longer with us, but Magic has happily taken her place in our home, and enjoys being outside. She would also like to be able to run free, but it's too risky, with far too many un-neutered and FIV positive cats in the area. We want her to be healthy and have a long life.

You can read more about FIV here.

Magic Enjoys The Pen

Magic checking the pen for escape routes.
Magic checking the pen for escape routes. | Source

Here's another photo of Magic enjoying her outside time in the pen. Shortly after we took this photo, she discovered a way of escaping her captivity. She only managed it twice though, and the escape route has been permanently blocked, and she has settled well into her outside home.

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    • profile image

      eugenecepf2 4 years ago

      My cat's best time is when I let him go out on the roof. He feels free as a bird.. haha.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Very nicely done. Sorry Tia is gone, but Magic looks like she's enjoying the outside pen just as much.

      PS: That was a really beautiful photo of Tia enjoying the sun.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Lynne, that's so frustrating for you. You seem to have everything in there that I can think of. Have you tried spending time in there playing with them, to help them get used to it and to see it as an enjoyable place? Cats often prefer the box things came in, rather than the expensive toy inside it! :-(

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi, I have 5 cats (4 from Ingrid's Haven). I have spent a fortune on an enclosure but the kitties hate it and avoid it at all costs. Any suggestions to get them to enjoy it more - it has beds, kitty litter boxes, shade, sun, toys, etc

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      Nice photos!

    • Marja79 profile image

      Marja79 4 years ago

      My cats can partially be free, at the moment I live in area where it is possible, oh boy they are happy.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I just love the pictures of your cats. I don't have a cat as I live in a flat but we are moving soon and I would love to get one.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @MaryMitchell: Good idea, and it probably stops other cats coming in too! Busy roads are no good for cats, that's for sure. Thanks for visiting

    • profile image

      MaryMitchell 5 years ago

      We have two Siamese cats and live near a busy main road, so we cat proofed the small back garden with an inward overhang on top of 6 foot paneling. It works very well and they love it out there!

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @Diana Wenzel: Thanks for visiting! We don't have coyotes here in Australia, but we do have foxes, even in the suburbs. Tia loves to be outside.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      I never really thought about building an outdoor cat run before. What a wonderful thing you have done for your Tia. My three girls are strictly indoor cats. Too many coyotes around here to ensure their safety outdoors.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @miaponzo: Afraid they just have to follow them along the fence, or hiss through it! It does rather spoil the fun of being free for some cats, but it's better for them. Thanks for visiting and blessing my lens.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi your cat is cute, I have two dog, and a bird. No cat at this time.Blessing by Squid Angel flinnie.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      I never thought about a cat pen... I think Bibi would like this.. what do they do when they want to chase another cat or something?

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @flinnie lm: Thankyou Flinnie, for your blessing and your visit! I'd love to have more cats, but Tia won't have it. :-)

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @writerkath: Thankyou for your visit, your blessing and for liking Tia! I love cats too.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      I love kitties, and your little Tia is a sweetie! :)

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @rawwwwwws lm: Tia can be cute, but she can also be a terror! Like all cats, I guess. Thanks for visiting, and your blessing.

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 5 years ago

      Your cat TIA looks so cute!! I have an orange tabby!

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @tfsherman lm: No flea problems, as I use "Advocate" which also covers worms except tapeworms. It only needs to be applied oncve a month. Thanks for visiting!

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 5 years ago

      Wow, what a cool idea! Our poor indoor-only cat is always begging to go outside. Any problems with fleas?

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @SteveKaye: Tia returns the Meow, and I'll definitely look for your site. Thanks for the visit and Blessing!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Our cat, Olivia Felini, is an indoor cat who lives a rich and active life. She has her own web page on my web site. And she's been featured in two of my lenses. She sends your cat a friendly Meow.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @Mary Stephenson: Cats really don't like being tied to anything. Tia had hysterics the only time I tried her with a leash and harness. Blood (mine) was shed! :-)

      Thanks for visiting.

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 5 years ago from California

      I had years ago tethered my cats outside for a few hours under strict supervision. They did not like it after about 15 minutes. Rascal would stand out there and cry to comeback in. Once I let her in she ran to the litter box. Indoor only cats don't know any other place to go except the litter box. Any escapes would surely comeback home to use the box. Rascal did when she escaped out the front door in the wee hours of the morning when we were returning home. She was banging on the front door, before I even realized she was missing. In she shot, right to the litter box!