By Nancy Varekamp – CNews Editor
Ocho’s catio in the nearby Alameda neighborhood is one of nine outdoor cat enclosures on the Saturday, Sept. 11, 9th Annual Catio Tour.
“We’d been on a couple of the catio tours and got some serious catio and yard envy, reported one of Ocho’s humans, Carrie Wheadon. “Everyone’s cats looked so content – even with the tour crowds around poking at them through the fencing – and people were out enjoying their nice backyards.”
At the house she, husband Michael Lauruhn and their son share, the deck was declining and not usable. “We knew it needed replacing soon, along with a lawn that was more of a mud puddle every winter.”
The latter was redeveloped last year into an area that earned Backyard Habitat Certification. It was preceded by the catio in 2019.
Ocho had been an apartment cat prior to moving to northeast Portland. Although Carrie had grown up with outdoor cats in a more rural setting, she worried about the safety of her cat in an urban neighborhood.
Ocho hadn’t seemed to begrudge being indoors. Spending time now in his catio, however, he has demonstrated the cat fighter he might’ve been if allowed outdoors.
“A neighbor frenemy comes by every day in the summer, and Ocho will swat at him through the catio fencing,” Carrie pointed out. “I can only imagine what our vet bills would look like if they could really go at each other.”
Meantime, the birds attracted to the backyard habitat aren’t disturbed by the frenemy, but are watched by Ocho.
“Now that the catio and yard are sorted – and COVID is somewhat under control – we are finally having people over,” Carrie said. There’s a table that seats four in the catio, and larger gatherings find people both inside and outside the catio.
This year is the first for Ocho’s sanctuary to be on the catio tour.
“We want to support the organizations that are helping keep cats and local wildlife safe,” Carrie explained. “And we’re crazy cat people who love to meet other crazy cat people. We hope our catio inspires people on the tour to build their own, and that they invite us over some day so we can fuss over their cats and catios too.”
This year’s event offers two options, a video tour like last year and the traditional in-person tour that wasn’t available in 2020. Tickets are limited and available for the in-person tour, and tickets for both can be purchased online catssafeathome.org/2021-catio-tour-registration.
Nancy Varekamp is semiretired from her career in journalism, public relations and – her favorite work engagement – writing and editing targeted newsletters.