Mythicbells Cattery
How a Breeder Incorporates A Cattery Into Her Tiny Home

by Molly Barr
Mythicbells Persians

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I’ve often thought that I would like to breed cats “some day.” In 2004, I took stock of my situation – I’d been retired from a demanding career for nearly 10 years, what was I waiting for? So early in the year I began researching both breeding and catteries.

This is not to say that I had no experience with cats. At the time, I was owned by three wonderful, aging Persians.

I live in a small house, with a medium sized yard. It was important to me that the cattery be an integral part of my house. I wanted the cats to have a lot of freedom, including and outside place to play. The question was how to go about having a "cattery" while preserving a certain amount of freedom for the kitties, yet keep the cats safe... and not clutter up my home too much. :-)

While I researched and looked for my first breeding kittens, I began a remodel of my house. The remodel included more tile flooring as well as building and installing some “perks” for my present (and future) kitties.

As I looked around my living room with its large vaulted ceiling, I could see that the logical direction would be to build UP. I was initially inspired by designs I saw on The Cat House. I could envision something similar in my little house, and chose the entryway as the logical place to begin my construction project for the cats.

The room has ceilings two stories high, with two lovely, nine-foot tall windows near the top. The windows seemed to me to be an ideal place for kitties to sit and sun themselves, sleep, or look out – if only they could get up there.

I’ve done quite a few woodworking projects over the years and have most of the necessary tools, including a table saw, however my skills are modest, so I my design would need to take into account my skill level as well as the structure of the house, the safety of cats, and the general decor.

I purchased a 4x4 post from Home Depot, had them cut it to length, and used that as the upright for the new Kitty Hi-Rise that would take them up to the high windows. Several major challenges presented themselves. The first dilemma was how to securely set a heavy 4x4 on end. Once I figured that out, I knew that a cat could run up the post with ease... but they need steps to come back down, and also cute places to sleep and display themselves.

I decided to use the wall to support the post and also provide a ladder type arrangement for baskets.

A piece of 1x6 screwed to the wall allowed me to attach braces that not only supported the baskets, but also the 4x4 post. The post sits on top of a half wall already built into the living room and convenient to a cat tree I’ve had for years. This worked beautifully. The cats run up the cat tree, along the half wall, then up the new Kitty Hi-rise to the high windows. (figs 1, 2, 3, 4).Before attaching the assembly to the wall, I painted it to match the colors of my living room and dyed several hundred feed of sisal rope and wound it around the sections between the baskets.

The dyed rope idea came from “The Cat House” and turned into an adventure. It was dyed in my washing machine, which was fairly easy – just follow the directions on the package – however, the rope tangles and frays like crazy.

Still, I like effect of the colored rope. The rope is glued and stapled in place.

The last step was to install the high shelves under the windows.

These are installed with regular decorative shelf supports, but I screwed about a three-inch lip on the front of each shelf so that kitties will not tumble off in their sleep.

The shelves had to be set out from the wall about two inches so that I can operate the strings that open and close the high window shades.

It’s adorable to look up there and see a paw or tail drooping through the gap, or little ears peeking over the top of the safety lip.

Construction of the kitty hi-rise was actually completed after I purchased two pedigree kittens—a little chinchilla silver and a shaded golden Persian.

I was delighted to see that the installation worked as I’d planned.

The kittens love to race to the top, then hop down from basket to basket. It's a favorite game that they play together.

My older kitties have not shown any interest in it. Of course, they have a collection of more typical cat tress to play on at ground level.

The second project was to convert a very high shelf in my living room to a “kitty balcony.”  This is actually the top of a small linen cabinet at the top of the stairs and it looks down on the living room and is above the new kitty shelves under the high entryway windows.

It looks down on the living room and is above the new kitty shelves under the high entryway windows. I though it would make a purrfect “kitty balcony.”

I painted the stair railing and balcony trim purple (one of my favorite colors) and also built a safety rail around the top of the balcony.

I wanted to prevent cats from rolling off the top in a kitty tussle or in their sleep… although I’ve had cats and kittens in this house for 20 years and not once has one taken a dive from the top.

The spaces between the up-rights in the railing of the balcony as well as along the stair banister are filled with black, plastic netting purchased at Home Depot, and wired or stapled on.

It is just one more little safety precaution I took to keep my kitties from harm.

The photo on the right features my 10-year-old Persian, Monkey, trying out the new kitty balcony.

As you can see, she is very relaxed and loves her lofty lounge - even before I added the padded cushion with coordinating fabric!

With new kittens coming into my house and more in the future, I needed at least one more litter box, so I made a watering and litter station out of my linen cabinet under the kitty balcony by taking the doors off.

I was worried that they would not like the low shelf over the litter box, but they don’t seem to mind. One of those boxes designed for corners, fits perfectly.

I also padded and covered the balcony with fabric.

To the left is a 1x6 board painted and wrapped with sisal screwed to the wall for sharpening claws and climbing up to the balcony.

I have several of these sisal wrapped boards throughout the house.

The next project on my list was to make the back yard “kitty safe.”

For years, I have allowed my older cats access to the yard when I’m in attendance. I’m dealing with Persians, after all, and they are not terribly inclined to make a break for it over a high fence. This would not do for my future plans and, in fact, I should have come up with a containment system long ago.

I debated on this project for quite some time. I wanted maximum protection – no kitties in; no kitties out.

I toyed with the idea of an enclosure of some kind and kept running up against two obstacles:


1) The limited size of my yard and

2) The image of me outside the enclosure, watering, gardening, or whatever, and my cats all lined up at the window, looking out at me. I wanted them to be with me throughout the yard. I compromised slightly on the safety issue and decided to install a “fence-in” kit around the entire yard.

This involved about 100 ft of fence. Normally it’s almost invisible, but on this rainy day, you can see it clearly with the rain droplets on the netting.

…. And, my kittens greatly enjoy their garden experience.

For the most part I am happy with the fence-in kit. It didn’t install quite as easily, nor as neatly as advertised, but it does seem to work (so far). It gives me peace of mind, and my cats a lot of freedom. They absolutely love their time in the garden – in the late morning, after they’ve eaten, they begin pestering me to let them out.

I have installed a cat door through which they can freely access the yard when I open it for them, which is most days.

My little cattery is still a work in progress. Now I am excitedly looking forward to my first litter of kittens. The adventure continues...

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