Let’s face it, navigating the well-being and safety of our pets, fur kids, fur babies, or whichever name you prefer is daunting. Now you are thinking about giving them outdoor space. But, how do you do it effectively? How do you make it last? How do you do it within your given budget? Who will be involved? We know these questions all too well. Habitat Haven started after failing to answer these same questions when building enclosures for our own personal fur kids many years ago. Habitat Haven was born because no one else was able to answer these questions 20 years ago. The same holds true today.Habitat Haven has built more outdoor cat enclosures for more people than any other company in the world. After 20+ years of doing nearly everything imaginable with outdoor cat-safe areas, here is what matters most in our professional opinion and in no particular order:
ExpertiseThe expertise of our staff at Habitat Haven is unparalleled. Designing, engineering, and fabricating catios is our specialty and has been since 2003! Although we may be a small business with only a handful of employees, our collective experience of 20+ years makes us leading experts in the field. We work with cat parents on a daily basis planning and designing catios of all different sizes, styles, and configurations - from simple designs to elaborate custom enclosures, we can do it all.
It is this experience that sets us apart from a local builder creating a DIY cat enclosure. Unless a contractor specializes in catios, and has done so for many years, they are not likely to match Habitat Haven’s expertise. Although a well-regarded, competent contractor will most certainly bring building and construction knowledge to the project, they generally lack the time-tested skill to foresee the same potential challenges with containing cats safely and to provide them with an enriching outdoor environment.
SupportIn addition to designing and engineering assistance, Habitat Haven customer support is available via email or phone before, during, and after your catio has been installed. We fully stand behind our products and make ourselves available to you for the lifetime of your catio.
So whether you are unsure how to plan around an obstacle, or encounter an unforeseen issue during your installation, or even decide to add on to or modify your enclosure in the future, you can always count on us to be there to troubleshoot and answer your questions. We work with you from beginning to end, from planning and designing your catio with you to installation support and beyond, which is more than can be said about a local contractor built enclosure.
QualityNot only are our expertise and customer support unmatched by the majority of local builders and contractors, but our materials are of the highest quality. Every component of a Habitat Haven enclosure is designed with cats in mind. Our raw materials are custom built for us for use specifically with our catios and are time tested to last outdoors. All metal components are made of galvanized steel that has been powder coated for added longevity for outdoor use. Many of our early customers from 20+ years ago still have original Habitat Haven catios in use outdoors! Our materials have been so thoughtfully designed that it is common for us to receive requests for our raw materials from independent contractors that are trying to build DIY catios.
There are no commercially or publicly available materials comparable to Habitat Haven’s building materials. The types of materials that are available to local contractors may vary, but the most common materials used by local builders for catios are lumber and some type of readily-available mesh covering such as chicken wire or wire garden fencing. In some cases, you may even find that local contractors will use lower priced, lower quality materials in order to keep overall costs low on the final enclosure. This can lead to issues later, as it may mean that the catio will deteriorate more quickly than expected, or other problems like gaps in the mesh can occur. Additionally, these types of materials are not as flexible in their application. This can lead to design compromises as the catio is being constructed.
Desired OutcomeCompromises to design are certainly not always ideal and may result in a finished product that doesn’t necessarily capture your original vision. When hiring a local builder to construct a catio, it is important to keep the limitations of the materials in mind. For example, building specialty components such as tunnels, stairs, or bridges is particularly challenging with conventional building materials. This often leads to DIY catios that are relatively simple in their design. Or, alternatively, added expenses for the additional time and labor required to create these types of components. And while it may be possible to add Habitat Haven components like tunnels to a DIY enclosure, this typically results in a catio with an inconsistent look and may lead to additional problems or challenges at connection points.
If the catio you envision includes catwalks or multiple individual spaces for your cat to explore, Habitat Haven can work with you and your space to create something one-of-a-kind that takes advantage of all the potential your space has to offer. Our materials are versatile and able to adapt to a variety of situations and accommodate potential obstacles. Habitat Haven enclosures are easy to modify, customize, and add to later as your cat’s needs change. They are strong and durable without any bulky framing obstructing the view.
Shelves or perches can be added anywhere throughout the catio with our unique shelf brackets that secure right to the mesh walls. This even allows them to be added, removed, or rearranged at any time! Components such as tunnels, stairs, and bridges can be added to an existing enclosure to provide new and exciting spaces for your cat to explore - or use them to link to a secondary enclosure if you need more space for your cats. The enclosure can even be relocated relatively easily if you decide to move it to a new location or a new home. DIY cat enclosures are generally more permanent structures with fixed shelving and are not easily moved to a new location. Many times, they are built specifically to fit in a particular space.
CostPurchasing and building a catio is a sizeable investment, and we feel that it is important not only that the catio will last for many years to come, but that it encapsulates your vision and provides a safe, enriching outdoor environment for your cat to enjoy as well. Because a catio can be such a large investment, the cost of a catio often plays a major role in deciding which catio option will work best for you. When current labor rates for contractors and builders are taken into consideration, Habitat Haven enclosures are competitively priced in a worst case scenario. However, more often than not, our products are a serious value compared to alternatives. Especially when you factor in the amount of complimentary remote planning, designing, and engineering assistance that is offered prior to purchase in addition to the support that is available after your purchase.
While we are happy to offer our expertise and assistance to all of our customers, our enclosures were designed with the average handy homeowner in mind. This means that our enclosures are relatively easy to construct by anyone with a basic knowledge of building and assembly or anyone who considers themselves to be handy with DIY home projects. For ease of installation, catios from Habitat Haven will arrive partially assembled in order to simplify the installation process as much as possible. Because of this, the majority of our customers choose to complete the installation process on their own. This is by far the best option in terms of keeping the overall cost of the project low with a Habitat Haven cat enclosure.
However, if the installation process is the only aspect that you have reservations about, it is possible to take advantage of our remote planning assistance and simply hire a local handyman to complete the installation of the catio. This greatly reduces the number of billed labor hours required by a handyman to construct the catio, as many Habitat Haven catios can be built and installed in a day or two. Our customer support and troubleshooting services even extend to your chosen handyman should they encounter any issues during the installation process. We find that many of our customers who are not confident in their “handy” abilities choose to go this route to reduce the costs associated with hiring a handyman or contractor.
Handyman Handles the Installation
It is also possible to hire a contractor to work through the entire process. With this option, you would work directly with your chosen contractor or handyman to discuss your vision and needs. Then, they would work with us to provide a plan and order your enclosure, materials, and components. After the catio is delivered, the contractor would also install it. Due to the additional labor hours required by your contractor or handyman for this option, it tends to be more costly, and many who prefer this option may consider a local builder to create a DIY catio instead.
Handyman Handles the Entire Project
Although at first, it may seem that hiring a local contractor to plan and build a DIY catio is the more affordable option, it can actually end up being 4 to 5 times more costly than a Habitat Haven enclosure of similar design when all is said and done. Of course, contractor rates will vary based on several factors including their skill level, availability, and materials required, however, it is essentially always more affordable to go with a Habitat Haven catio when all is said and done. The largest contributing factor to this? Time.
Time and PlanningLocal builders or contractors will require significantly more on-site time to complete the project as they will need to be on location to gather measurements, create a design plan, and actually build the catio. Home visits by contractors can add up, and the longer the project takes the more it will cost! Habitat Haven enclosures can be designed remotely without the need for any home visits, and at no additional cost. When the catio arrives, most can be installed in just a day or two.
Many people often discover that finding a competent, reputable contractor in their area is difficult as well. Because of their skill and well-regarded reputation, they tend to be busy with limited availability. When one is located, your first consultation may have to be scheduled weeks in advance. After the initial consultation, you may find that additional visits are required before the project can begin. When the design is finalized the contractor may have to wait several more weeks before construction can begin. And after the project starts, it will typically require more than one visit as your catio is built piece by piece on-site. In some cases, these subsequent visits may also be spread out over weeks or months - especially if you find that there are any delays in receiving materials, which has become commonplace in today’s day and age.
If you are able to find a contractor with more availability, then you may run the risk of encountering reliability issues or subpar work. Delays with materials may still factor into the timeline as well. Even if you find a builder that can get started immediately, there will be inevitable delays if the required materials are unavailable. So, when all is said and done, hiring a local contractor or builder to create a DIY catio on-site may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete.
At Habitat Haven, we work with you at your speed throughout the planning and design process. For some, this may take only a few days and for others, it can take a few weeks. You choose how quickly this part of the process goes - no delays or scheduling conflicts! After your design is finalized, it then is sent to our fabrication shop. Here, our shop team evaluates your enclosure and builds every component by hand to your specifications. The time needed for this step varies depending on the size and complexity of your catio, but in most cases, we find that an enclosure can make it through the fabrication process in about 2 to 4 weeks.
When your enclosure completes the fabrication process, it is packed and shipped directly to you on a pallet. This provides the safest journey and allows the catio to arrive all at once so installation can begin whenever you’re ready. Again, delivery times vary depending on your location and the time of the year - but generally speaking, the pallet will spend about 7-10 business days in transit before arriving on location. Once the catio is in your possession, it can be installed as soon as you would like! The majority of enclosures are able to be installed in a day or two. So, after the design is finalized, your catio can be up and running anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks depending on the design!
Take it from Us
Designing and building a catio is a significant investment no matter which direction you choose to go, but the benefits of choosing Habitat Haven are immeasurable. At Habitat Haven we have over 20 years of experience in assisting cat parents to plan and design catios that work for them, their cats, and their spaces - no matter how many cats or how big or small the space! We offer customer support before and after your purchase - as long as you have your catio you can count on us to answer any of your questions.
Our materials were designed and manufactured for the very purpose of creating time-tested, long-lasting, highly durable outdoor catios. This makes them versatile and adaptable to nearly any situation from compact spaces to taking on seemingly impossible obstacles. It also means that we can design something that captures your vision, and the best part - it can be added onto or modified as your feline family grows, or if you just want to give your special cat more space to explore!
We keep it simple to work at your pace, on your schedule. This means you can call us on the phone, work with us via email from your computer, or even send us text messages. No on-site visits required, and no scheduling conflicts! No matter where you are in the planning process, we can help!
If you are in the beginning of the planning stages and unsure of exactly what you'd like to do or where to start, but have some questions about the process or what's possible you can give us a call on the phone at 866-484-0644.
If you are starting to put your ideas together and would like some advice or assistance, send us an email at help@HabitatHaven.com with photos or other details that can help us visualize your project.
If you would like something that you cannot find HERE on our website, then click the button below to fill out our custom design form. This will put you directly in touch with one of our planning engineers so they can work with you on your project from beginning to end!