Theatre-Inspired Cat Enclosures Get Rave Reviews

When Kristine Kischer adopted her cats from a local animal shelter, she knew her life would change – what she didn't know was by how much? Ching and Cuddles adjusted quickly to the comforts of their surroundings. But despite their newfound security, both kept trying to leave the safety of their home to explore the great outdoors. Their determination to get out prompted Kris to think about cat behavior and how her companions could safely spend time outside. “I thought about buying an enclosure but the ones that were available were unattractive and not very sturdy,” she explains. “I wanted something that would look nice in the garden.”

Until recently, Kris was Head of Props for the National Ballet of Canada. In fact, it is her extensive background in theatre that eventually led her to found her Toronto-based company, The Cat’s Den*. “When I couldn't find the enclosure I was looking for, I decided to make one. Because of my prop experience, I was always using materials for something other than what they were originally intended for. I also have part ownership in a metal fabrication business, so I started talking to the guys on the shop floor about my idea. They suggested I build my enclosure out of galvanized steel instead of wood as it would remain structurally sound in our climate and would be maintenance free.”

Kris continued with her research for another year before finally coming up with the right combination of materials and an appropriate design. “The main reason for creating the enclosure in the first place was for safety,” she explains. “Thousand of cats are killed by cars each year, and maimed by other animals. But the more I got involved with this business, the more I realized that such an enclosure could help with other serious issues as well. Feline obesity is a growing concern, as most house cats don't get enough exercise. Anxiety is another big issue, and indoor cats often exhibit urinary problems as a result of stress."

Kris subsequently created a line of enclosures that are not only safe but attractive and versatile. “Cats can run and jump inside the enclosure, but they can't get into any trouble. They can see and chase the birds but can't get through the steel mesh to cause them any harm. When feeling threatened, the cat can run back into the house through a special flap door. I offer a number of designs and all my enclosures are portable.” The units can be installed by the homeowner, although the company also offers an installation service throughout the GTA as well as in the Niagara and Hamilton areas.

Since adopting her own cats, Kris has become more involved in animal adoption programs. “A number of vets are now displaying my brochures and many more are including my materials as a part of their adoption kits.” Kris is also responsible for the successful adoption of several shelter cats in 2005, after showing them in one of her enclosures at weekend cat shows and tradeshows.

“It’s been an amazing year,” says Kris. “I have had a very positive response to my website and we now have feedback from across North America. We are definitely filling a need within the pet community.”

Animal Wellness Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 2. Download this page in PDF format.
Reprinted with permission of Animal Wellness Magazine, copyright 2006,

* Note: The Cat's Den is now Home of Habitat Haven.

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