Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 10, 2019)
THE ASTORIAN • SATURDAY, AUGUST 10, 2019
THE CAT WOMAN
‘Catio’ provides space
for family of rescues
By LYNDA LAYNE
AHCOTTA, Wash. — Many
clients of Oceanside Veterinary
Clinic in Seaview will recog-
nize Sooz Laughlin as the nice lady at
the front desk who checks in their pets.
But there’s more to know about this
woman who lives in Nahcotta with her
six rescue cats.
Those six cats have a fancy catio
(cat patio) that Laughlin had built two
years ago as part of her car port. It is
furnished with an artistic touch, not
surprising, as she is also an artist who
paints miniatures and hand crafts sun
Laughlin also has a long history as
a vet tech in Oregon. And, she owns
and operates The Kitties’ PJ’s cat sit-
ting service, which she does before and
after her day job and on her days off.
Fancy feline digs
When Laughlin pulls her little
red Miata into the carport, she can
look through the windshield at the
8 x 12-foot wood and wire catio that
her six “babies” occupy. Because of
a clever short tunnel, they can easily
walk in or out of the house. The pet
door-type setup spans from Laughlin’s
studio room, where she creates her art.
She has a ﬂ ap that works if she ever
wants to close it, but mostly the cats
just come and go as they please.
The catio has a cover structure
which spans from the house. Rain
water just runs right off.
The catio was built by a man from
St. Helens, an area where Laugh-
lin lived before moving to the Penin-
sula. She said that he had two catios
and she really liked them. There was a
labor trade involved, but she purchased
all the materials, including the cedar,
2x4-inch wire, hardware, plexiglas,
rolled plastic and some of the interior
features, such as a nautical rope. Mate-
rials cost about $1,000.
Catios are becoming popular
as a way of providing fresh air
and a safe outdoor experiences
for house cats. Since Laugh-
lin lives on Sandridge Road,
where trafﬁ c is a concern,
this catio gives her peace
of mind that her kitties
will be safe.
is safety from wildlife.
“I once lost a cat to
coyotes,” she said.
Because of other wild-
life concerns, she never
leaves food or water in the
“I don’t want to [entice]
the bears or raccoons,” she
stressed, adding the cats can
easily go into the house to eat and
drink. But for their pottying plea-
sure, she does have a cat box in the
catio with a broom hung up for clean-
ing the ﬂ oor and a tap light mounted on
one wall for working after dark.
When she does go into the catio to
clean or just to interact with the cats,
she is careful not to give them an
opportunity to escape. “The door opens
outward,” she says, which gives her a
lot more space for entering.
Once inside, she can easily secure
the door until she’s ready to come out.
One day last week, some of her cats
were in the catio, but two remained
inside the house. A black and white
female, LuLu Belle, was perched atop
a tall cat tree. Laughlin said the tree
was a gift from a friend who moved
away and couldn’t take it. LuLu Belle
not only enjoys that high spot, but she
also sometimes naps in a cubby-hole
below it. A few minutes after being on
the top tier, she climbed down onto the
ﬂ oor and spread out on a door mat that
See Catio, Page B2
Photos by Lynda Layne
TOP: Sooz Laughlin gets cat kisses from her tabby, Slinky. ABOVE : Laughlin’s cat, LuLu
Belle, likes the top perch of the cat tree in her Nahcotta catio.
‘EVERYONE ALWAYS WANTED
MY NAME AT CHRISTMAS
PARTIES BECAUSE I WAS
SO EASY TO SHOP FOR. I WAS
KNOWN AS THE CRAZY CAT LADY.’
Sooz Laughlin | takes care of six of her rescue cats in a fancy cat patio in Nahcotta