Every dog has its day, but let’s face it, most of our dogs and cats lead pretty boring lives—probably the reason they’re always scratching at the door to be let out or destroying your window treatments in the quest for a better view. Unfortunately, most of us don’t always have the time to take the pooch for a long, luxurious walk—and letting kitties scamper outside introduces them to a host of threats, from disease, to catfights, to speeding cars.
Erin Vaughan, a blogger, gardener, aspiring homeowner and full-time writer for Modernize.com, encourages pet parents to take on a pet perch project. “With the help of one of these wonderful perches, you can keep prying paws occupied and away from your furniture—and make your pet’s life more pleasant, too.”
Veterinarians agree that perches benefit your pet’s wellbeing. “Wild cats feel safe in high spots because they know they won't get ambushed,” says Petplan Staff Veterinarian, Dr. Kim Smyth. “The same thing goes with your indoor cat. Providing a safe spot for them to retreat from household threats (be they four- or two-legged) can contribute to a happy, peaceful household.”
Of course, making one of these dog benches or so-called “catios” means picking your favorite of many DIYs. To get you started, here’s a roundup of the ones that really got our tails wagging.
Cat owners know that true love isn’t given mindlessly—which is why they’ll do virtually anything to earn their felines’ affections, including building them the most elaborate window perch you’ve ever seen. If you think your kitty could use some extra buttering up, try out one of these conspicuous contraptions:
Via DIY Showoff
Low-maintenance Shelf: Who says luxury has to take a whole afternoon? This project is super-easy thanks to a simple tray bracketed to a wall. For those handy with a sewing machine, a custom-made pillow completes the look and adds a special touch of class to your kitty’s new roost.
Multi-tiered: A simple shelf just will not do for those cats who love to climb. Accordingly, this IKEA hack takes your garden-variety floating shelves and turns them into an upscale highrise for your kitty. You can arrange the “stairs” anyway you like—just make sure to add a square of outdoor carpeting to each level to keep your cat’s leaps slip-free.
Via Catio Spaces
Indoor/Outdoor Window Catio: Got an indoor cat who tries to make a run for it every time you open the door? A catio veranda may help them kick the habit. There are tons of different plans, ranging from simple walled-in shelves, to massive multi-level structures over at Catio Spaces, so have fun browsing!
One caveat about allowing your cat to spend more time looking into the great outdoors: if neighborhood cats roam freely and hang out in your yard where your indoor cat can see, it may cause some disturbing behavior from your cat. “If your indoor cat perceives the outdoor cat as infringing on his or her territory, urine marking in your house can be the result,” says Dr. Smyth. “Keep an eye out for vocalization from your cat at the window--it will signify that she's not so keen on what she's seeing out there.”
Dogs give us so much—unconditional love, a willing playmate, and a partner-in-crime, just to name a few—so isn’t it time we gave them a little something back? For urban pups who often find themselves stuck indoors between walks, a perfect solution is a DIY window seat that will let them soak up the sun—and guard your home from any fearsome squirrels outside. These are some of the best doggone projects we’ve seen:
Via Life at Clover Hill
Bench Plus Storage: This beautiful ensemble only looks complicated—almost anyone with a local hardware store and a drill can knock one out in a few hours. As a bonus, there’s a storage area beneath the seat for holding your pooch’s knicknacks.
Via DIY Crafts and Ideas
Upcycled Pallet Bench: What DIYer doesn’t love a good pallet project? This one gets extra points for built-in stairs that can make life easier for shorter and aging pups.
Via Our Nerd Home
Tasteful Mid-century Bed: Is your look all Norwegian wood and futuristic light fixtures? Then you’re going to love this mid-century dog bed that looks like it came straight from the Jetsons. Definitely dog-approved!
With this many projects to choose from, the only question now is how to keep your pets occupied while you build them!