Derek Roche built the coolest outdoor play area for his 3 cats. He was not keen on adopting cats at first. But his mind was completely changed after his girlfriend brought Jellli to their home.
Roche told The Koala, “I didn’t want a cat but my girlfriend, Rose really wanted one so I went along with it. We had 3 large dogs at the time. The shelter only adopted to people on condition she [Jellli] was a kept as an indoor cat.”
Adding, “The concept of an indoor cat was alien to me. The first night my girlfriend asked could sleep in our bed for just one night. By the following day I was head over heels in love with her.”
Derek decided to build a “catio” for Jellli after he realized how much she loved the outdoors. He said, “I just took her on her leash, into the front and back gardens, hunting for bugs and creepy crawlies. She climbed on my shoulders to see further and to watch the birds in the neighbouring trees. That’s really where I came up with the idea of building her a catio.”
He wanted her to have her own space to “enjoy the outdoors, hunting bugs and watching birds.”
Furthermore, after a while Jellli developed health issues and Roche believed an outdoor play space was crucial to help her.
The play area took “almost a year to build”. Derek added, “There was a lot of detail in the work and I was pretty much learning as I went. I had a plan in my head and I pretty much stuck to that. Jellli came on site every day and I watched her movements and her reactions to how things were going, where she liked to sit, how she climbed around the structure. And I used her to get a sense of scale for walkways, doors etc.”
Furthermore, the outdoor play area has a 13-foot high lookout tower for birdwatching. Now, Roche is planning to build a “skywalk that will connect it to the house.”
Jellli, the cat, was his “muse”, as well as his “site manager and co-designer.”
The couple also adopted 2 more cats later, Smudge and Penny. All 3 cats enjoy spending time in the play area. Building the “catio” has also helped Jellli’s health condition.
The cats are definitely happy with their new space!