A British cat-loving couple ‘heartbroken’ as their amazing ‘catio’ they built with so much love may be demolished by their city Council.
The couple built the enormous ‘catio’ in their front garden last summer after losing three of their precious pets to road accidents outside their home.
When they built the catio they didn’t think they had to do a planning application because it was not a permanent structure nor an extension of our house.
But a planning enforcement officer visited them earlier this month to tell them that, because they had not obtained planning permission for the structure, it would have to come down.
The heartbroken cat mom said: “How can I tell the cats that they can’t use it? It’s soul-destroying. We spent so much time on it, and the cats love it. If it has to come down, it will devastate us – I just don’t know what I will do.”
The couple lost their first cat, one-year-old Charlie, to a speeding car outside their home in 2006. In 2014, 14-year-old Alfie was also mowed down, and four-year-old Phoebe was killed in October 2020.
The couple explained: “We raised Phoebe from a kitten, and we had only just started letting her out. Five minutes later, the man over the road was knocking on our door, and she had been killed outright. There was blood everywhere, it was really sad for us because we were there when she was born. We brought her into the world. We couldn’t take it anymore. I thought OK, enough is enough.”
Another cat, 20-year-old Winston, was hit by a car in 2017 but survived.
After losing so many beloved cats, they enlisted the help of a landscape gardener to build their beautiful catio.
The structure, which is made of wood and chicken wire, forms an enclosed area where cats Winston, Molly, Ollie, Peanut, Freddy, Mia, Toby, George, Chester, and Kevin can play without fear of being hit by cars or picked up by opportunistic cat-nappers.
Although they did apologize and said they would apply for permission to mend the situation, the planning enforcement officer said they were going to knock it down anyway.
“He didn’t give us a reason why. He just said they had received a complaint about it, and that we should’ve put in a planning application.” the couple explained.
The heartbroken cat parents said “Our lives are our cats. We’re happy in our own little world we have with our cats, and we don’t bother anybody. We think it’s a very unfair situation. We’re not harming anybody. This house is bought and paid for, and we have lived here for more than 30 years.”
They added “It’s a really busy street. I can’t let the cats out on the road; I’d have to keep them in and that, to me, is cruel after we’ve let them out in this space. It’s not healthy for them. They need fresh air.”
The couple has set up an online petition at change.org calling for support as they hope to prevent the catio from being torn down. If you think this is unfair and wish to help them keep their catio, you can sign the petition here > https://www.change.org/p/cat-websites-please-help-save-pedders-lane-catio
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