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DIY Catio: Create A Safe And Stylish Outdoor Space For Your Feline Friend DIY Catio: Create A Safe And Stylish Outdoor Space For Your Feline Friend

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DIY Catio: Create A Safe And Stylish Outdoor Space For Your Feline Friend

Written by: Harper Martinez

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Caegan Moore
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Reviewed by
Caegan Moore

Content Creator specializing in woodworking and interior transformations. Caegan's guides motivate readers to undertake their own projects, while his custom furniture adds a personal touch.

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Create a safe and stylish outdoor space for your feline friend with our DIY catio ideas and crafts. Give your cat the purr-fect outdoor experience!

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Welcome to the world of DIY catios! If you're a cat lover, you know how much our feline friends enjoy spending time outdoors. However, allowing your cat to roam freely outside can pose various risks, from traffic accidents to encounters with other animals. This is where a catio comes in – a safe and secure outdoor space designed specifically for your cat to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors without the associated dangers.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the wonderful world of DIY catios, providing you with all the information you need to create a safe and stylish outdoor space for your beloved feline friend. Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of crafting, building a catio can be a rewarding and enjoyable project that not only benefits your cat but also enhances your outdoor living space.

Throughout this guide, we'll delve into the benefits of a catio, offer tips on planning and designing your DIY catio, discuss the materials and tools you'll need, and provide step-by-step instructions for building your catio. We'll also explore how to add enrichment and comfort to your catio, address safety considerations, and offer advice on maintenance and upkeep to ensure that your catio remains a safe and enjoyable space for your cat for years to come.

So, if you're ready to embark on a fun and fulfilling DIY project that will bring joy to both you and your feline companion, let's dive into the world of DIY catios and discover how you can create a secure and stylish outdoor haven for your cat to explore and relax in.


Benefits of a Catio

Creating a catio for your feline friend offers a myriad of benefits, both for your cat and for you. Let's explore the advantages of incorporating a catio into your outdoor living space.

  1. Safety and Security: A catio provides a safe and secure environment for your cat to experience the outdoors without the risks associated with free-roaming. It offers protection from predators, traffic, and other potential hazards, giving you peace of mind knowing that your cat is enjoying the outdoors in a controlled and secure space.

  2. Enrichment and Stimulation: Cats are natural explorers and providing them with a catio allows them to engage in their innate behaviors such as climbing, jumping, and observing their surroundings. The outdoor sights, sounds, and scents provide valuable mental stimulation, contributing to your cat's overall well-being.

  3. Health Benefits: Access to fresh air and natural sunlight can have a positive impact on your cat's physical health. Sunlight exposure can aid in the production of vitamin D, essential for bone health, while fresh air can contribute to better respiratory health.

  4. Reduced Stress: For indoor cats, a catio offers a welcome change of scenery and a break from the monotony of indoor life. The outdoor environment can help reduce stress and anxiety, leading to a happier and more content feline companion.

  5. Bonding Opportunity: Spending time with your cat in the catio can strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Whether you're enjoying a cup of coffee while your cat explores the catio or engaging in interactive play, the catio provides a shared space for quality time with your furry friend.

  6. Environmental Enrichment: By providing a dedicated outdoor space for your cat, you can prevent them from engaging in destructive behaviors indoors, such as scratching furniture or other household items. The catio offers an alternative outlet for your cat's natural instincts, promoting a harmonious living environment.

  7. Neighborhood Harmony: A catio can also contribute to neighborhood harmony by preventing your cat from wandering into neighbors' yards or causing disturbances. This can help foster positive relationships with your neighbors and mitigate potential conflicts related to your cat's outdoor activities.

Incorporating a catio into your home not only benefits your cat's physical and mental well-being but also enhances your outdoor living space, creating a harmonious environment for both you and your feline companion.


Planning Your DIY Catio

Planning is a crucial first step in creating a DIY catio that meets the needs of both you and your cat. By carefully considering various factors, you can ensure that your catio project is a success. Here's a detailed look at the key aspects to consider when planning your DIY catio:

  1. Assessing Your Space: Begin by evaluating the available outdoor space where you intend to build your catio. Consider the size and layout of the area, as well as any existing structures or landscaping features that may impact the design and placement of the catio.

  2. Understanding Local Regulations: Before embarking on your catio project, it's essential to research and understand any local regulations or homeowners' association guidelines that may govern the construction of outdoor structures. This may include obtaining permits or adhering to specific building codes.

  3. Setting a Budget: Determine a realistic budget for your catio project, taking into account the materials, tools, and any professional assistance that may be required. Setting a budget from the outset will help you make informed decisions throughout the planning and construction process.

  4. Defining Your Cat's Needs: Consider your cat's preferences and habits when planning the design of the catio. Does your cat enjoy climbing, lounging in the sun, or observing wildlife? Tailoring the catio to accommodate your cat's specific behaviors and preferences will ensure that it becomes a cherished space for your feline companion.

  5. Considering Aesthetics and Functionality: Think about how the catio will complement your home's exterior and landscaping. Additionally, consider how you will access the catio for cleaning and maintenance, as well as how you will integrate it into your daily routine with your cat.

  6. Exploring Design Options: Research different catio designs and styles to find inspiration for your project. Whether you prefer a freestanding catio, a window-mounted enclosure, or a sprawling outdoor cat playground, exploring various design options will help you envision the ideal catio for your space.

  7. Seeking Inspiration: Look for inspiration in DIY catio projects completed by others. Online resources, such as social media, blogs, and DIY websites, can provide valuable insights and ideas for your own catio design and construction.

By carefully considering these planning aspects, you can lay a solid foundation for your DIY catio project, setting the stage for a successful and rewarding endeavor that will benefit both you and your feline friend.


Choosing the Right Location

Selecting the optimal location for your DIY catio is a critical decision that can significantly impact the overall success and enjoyment of the outdoor space for your cat. When choosing the right location, several factors should be carefully considered to ensure that the catio seamlessly integrates with your home and provides a safe and stimulating environment for your feline companion.

Consider Your Cat's Preferences

Before determining the location of your catio, it's essential to consider your cat's preferences and behaviors. Does your cat enjoy basking in the sun, observing wildlife, or seeking privacy? Observing your cat's habits and favorite spots within your home can provide valuable insights into the ideal location for the catio. If your cat tends to gravitate towards a specific window or area of the yard, this may indicate a preferred location for the catio.

Assess Sunlight and Shade

The amount of sunlight and shade in a particular area of your outdoor space is a crucial consideration when choosing the location for your catio. Cats often enjoy lounging in sunny spots, and providing ample sunlight within the catio can offer your cat the opportunity to soak up the warmth and natural light. However, it's also important to incorporate shaded areas within the catio to ensure that your cat can seek relief from the sun when needed, especially during hot weather.

Integration with Your Home

When selecting the location for your catio, consider how it will integrate with your home's exterior and interior. If you plan to attach the catio to a window or door, ensure that it complements the architectural style of your home and allows for convenient access for both you and your cat. Additionally, consider how the catio will enhance your outdoor living space, providing a visually appealing and functional extension of your home.

Accessibility and Safety

The chosen location should allow for easy access to the catio for cleaning, maintenance, and interaction with your cat. Additionally, it's essential to assess the safety of the location, ensuring that the catio is secure and free from potential hazards. If your outdoor space is near busy roads or areas frequented by wildlife, take precautions to minimize risks and create a safe environment for your cat.

Environmental Considerations

Evaluate the environmental factors of the chosen location, such as exposure to wind, noise levels, and proximity to potential sources of stress for your cat. Minimizing environmental stressors and creating a tranquil and comfortable setting within the catio can contribute to a positive and enriching experience for your feline friend.

By carefully considering these factors, you can select the right location for your DIY catio, creating a harmonious and inviting outdoor space that meets the needs and preferences of both you and your beloved cat.


Designing Your Catio

Designing your catio is an exciting and creative process that allows you to tailor the outdoor space to meet the specific needs and preferences of your cat while complementing your home's aesthetic. Whether you envision a cozy window-mounted perch or a sprawling outdoor playground, thoughtful design considerations will ensure that your catio becomes a cherished space for your feline companion.

Understanding Your Cat's Behaviors and Preferences

Before delving into the design phase, take the time to observe and understand your cat's behaviors and preferences. Does your cat enjoy climbing, lounging in the sun, or engaging in interactive play? By identifying your cat's favorite activities and observing their behavior indoors, you can tailor the catio's design to accommodate these preferences. For example, incorporating elevated platforms, scratching posts, and cozy resting areas can cater to your cat's natural instincts and provide a stimulating environment.

Incorporating Enrichment Features

Enrichment features play a crucial role in designing a catio that promotes your cat's physical and mental well-being. Consider incorporating elements such as shelves for climbing, perches for bird watching, and interactive toys to keep your cat engaged and entertained. Additionally, integrating hiding spots, such as enclosed tunnels or cozy nooks, can provide your cat with a sense of security and privacy within the catio.

Maximizing Vertical and Horizontal Space

Cats are known for their love of vertical exploration, and designing a catio that maximizes both vertical and horizontal space can offer a dynamic and engaging environment for your cat. Utilize vertical surfaces for climbing structures, elevated platforms, and vertical scratching posts, while also incorporating horizontal spaces for lounging, playing, and exploring. By creating a multi-level catio with various activity zones, you can cater to your cat's natural behaviors and provide ample opportunities for exercise and relaxation.

Integrating Safe and Durable Materials

When selecting materials for your catio, prioritize safety, durability, and ease of maintenance. Opt for weather-resistant and non-toxic materials that can withstand outdoor elements while ensuring the structural integrity of the catio. Additionally, choose materials that are easy to clean and maintain, allowing you to uphold a hygienic and inviting environment for your cat.

Enhancing Aesthetics and Functionality

Balancing aesthetics and functionality is key to designing a catio that seamlessly integrates with your home's exterior while providing a practical and enjoyable space for your cat. Consider incorporating design elements that complement your home's architectural style, such as matching colors or materials. Furthermore, ensure that the catio's design allows for convenient access and maintenance, making it a seamless extension of your indoor living space.

By carefully considering these design aspects, you can create a catio that not only meets your cat's needs for stimulation and relaxation but also enhances your outdoor living space, providing a harmonious and visually appealing environment for both you and your feline friend.


Materials and Tools Needed

When embarking on your DIY catio project, it's essential to gather the necessary materials and tools to ensure a smooth and efficient construction process. From sturdy building materials to essential tools for assembly, having the right supplies at your disposal will set the stage for a successful catio build. Here's a comprehensive list of materials and tools needed to bring your catio vision to life:


  1. Lumber: Select high-quality, weather-resistant lumber for the frame and structure of the catio. Pressure-treated or cedar lumber is often recommended for outdoor projects due to their durability and resistance to rot and decay.

  2. Wire Mesh or Screening: Choose a durable wire mesh or screening material to enclose the catio, providing ventilation and visibility while ensuring your cat remains safely contained within the space.

  3. PVC or Metal Piping: If incorporating a freestanding catio design, PVC or metal piping can be used to create a sturdy framework for the enclosure, offering stability and support for the wire mesh or screening.

  4. Outdoor-Grade Fabric: For window-mounted catios or areas requiring shade, outdoor-grade fabric can be utilized to provide protection from the sun while allowing airflow within the catio.

  5. Roofing Materials: Depending on the design and location of your catio, roofing materials such as corrugated plastic or outdoor fabric can be used to provide shelter from the elements and create a comfortable environment for your cat.

  6. Fasteners and Hardware: Stock up on screws, nails, brackets, and other fasteners required for securing the various components of the catio. Additionally, ensure you have the necessary hardware for attaching the catio to your home or other structures if applicable.

  7. Non-Toxic Paint or Stain: If you choose to add a decorative finish to your catio, opt for non-toxic paint or stain that is safe for pets. This allows you to customize the appearance of the catio while ensuring the safety of your cat.

  8. Enrichment Accessories: Consider incorporating cat-friendly accessories such as scratching posts, perches, and interactive toys to enrich the catio environment and provide stimulation for your cat.


  1. Measuring Tape and Level: Accurate measurements and level surfaces are essential for constructing a stable and well-aligned catio. A measuring tape and level will aid in ensuring precision during the assembly process.

  2. Saw: A saw, whether a circular saw, handsaw, or jigsaw, is necessary for cutting lumber and other materials to the required dimensions for the catio frame and components.

  3. Drill and Bits: A power drill with a selection of drill bits is indispensable for creating pilot holes, driving screws, and assembling the various elements of the catio.

  4. Staple Gun: If using wire mesh or screening, a staple gun is essential for securely attaching the material to the catio frame, ensuring a tight and durable enclosure.

  5. Work Gloves and Safety Gear: Prioritize safety during construction by wearing work gloves and appropriate safety gear, such as protective eyewear and footwear, to prevent injuries during the building process.

  6. Ladder or Step Stool: Depending on the height of the catio and the installation requirements, a sturdy ladder or step stool may be needed to access elevated areas during construction and installation.

  7. Painting Supplies: If you plan to paint or stain the catio, gather painting supplies including brushes, rollers, and drop cloths to ensure a neat and professional finish.

By acquiring these materials and tools, you'll be well-equipped to commence the construction of your DIY catio, bringing your vision of a safe and stylish outdoor haven for your cat one step closer to reality.


Building Your Catio

Building your catio is an exciting and fulfilling endeavor that allows you to transform your vision into a tangible and enriching space for your cat. With careful planning and the right materials and tools at your disposal, you can embark on the construction process with confidence and enthusiasm. Here's a detailed overview of the steps involved in building your DIY catio:

  1. Prepare the Site: Clear the designated area for the catio, ensuring that the ground is level and free from any debris or obstructions. If attaching the catio to your home, carefully measure and mark the installation points to ensure a secure and stable attachment.

  2. Assemble the Frame: Begin by constructing the frame of the catio using the selected lumber and fasteners. Whether building a freestanding catio or attaching it to an existing structure, ensure that the frame is sturdy and well-anchored, providing a solid foundation for the enclosure.

  3. Install the Enclosure Material: Once the frame is in place, attach the wire mesh or screening material to enclose the catio. Use a staple gun to securely fasten the material to the frame, ensuring that there are no gaps or loose edges that could compromise the integrity of the enclosure.

  4. Incorporate Enrichment Features: Integrate enrichment accessories such as shelves, perches, and scratching posts into the catio design. Position these elements strategically to create a dynamic and engaging environment for your cat, promoting physical activity and mental stimulation.

  5. Add Roofing and Shelter: If your catio design includes a roof or sheltered area, install the roofing materials to provide protection from the elements. Ensure that the roofing is securely attached and provides adequate coverage to keep your cat comfortable and dry.

  6. Customize and Finish: If desired, apply a non-toxic paint or stain to customize the appearance of the catio. Opt for colors that complement your home's exterior while ensuring that the finish is safe for your cat. This step allows you to add a personal touch to the catio's aesthetic.

  7. Secure Access Points: If the catio includes doors or access points for cleaning and maintenance, ensure that these components are securely installed and easy to operate. Consider adding latches or locks to prevent unauthorized entry or exit from the catio.

  8. Inspect and Test: Once the construction is complete, thoroughly inspect the catio to ensure that all components are securely fastened and that the enclosure is free from any potential hazards. Test the stability of the structure and ensure that it meets your expectations in terms of safety and functionality.

By following these steps and exercising attention to detail throughout the construction process, you can bring your DIY catio to life, creating a safe, stylish, and enriching outdoor space for your feline companion to enjoy for years to come.


Adding Enrichment and Comfort

Enhancing your DIY catio with enrichment features and elements of comfort is essential to create a stimulating and inviting environment for your feline friend. By incorporating various enrichment accessories and ensuring that the catio offers comfort and security, you can provide a space that promotes your cat's physical and mental well-being while fostering a sense of relaxation and contentment.

Enrichment Accessories

Integrating enrichment accessories within the catio allows you to cater to your cat's natural instincts and behaviors, providing opportunities for physical activity, mental stimulation, and relaxation. Consider incorporating the following enrichment features:

  • Climbing Structures: Install shelves, platforms, or vertical climbing posts to encourage your cat to explore and ascend to elevated vantage points within the catio. Cats are natural climbers, and providing vertical spaces can satisfy their instinctual desire to survey their surroundings from above.

  • Scratching Posts: Including sturdy and durable scratching posts within the catio allows your cat to engage in natural scratching behaviors, promoting nail health and providing an outlet for stretching and exercise.

  • Interactive Toys: Introduce interactive toys such as feather wands, puzzle feeders, or catnip-filled plush toys to keep your cat mentally engaged and entertained while spending time in the catio.

  • Cozy Resting Areas: Create comfortable and cozy resting spots within the catio, such as padded perches, soft blankets, or enclosed hideaways. These areas provide your cat with a sense of security and relaxation, offering a peaceful retreat within the outdoor space.

Comfort and Shelter

In addition to enrichment features, ensuring that the catio offers comfort and shelter is paramount to creating a welcoming environment for your cat. Consider the following aspects to enhance comfort within the catio:

  • Shade and Sunlight: Provide a balance of shaded and sunny areas within the catio to accommodate your cat's preferences. Cats often enjoy basking in the sun, but it's essential to offer shaded spots to prevent overheating, especially during hot weather.

  • Weather Protection: If your catio is exposed to the elements, consider incorporating weather-resistant materials for roofing and shelter to provide protection from rain, wind, and extreme temperatures. This ensures that your cat can enjoy the outdoor space comfortably throughout the year.

  • Ventilation and Airflow: Ensure that the catio offers adequate ventilation to maintain a fresh and airy environment. Proper airflow prevents the buildup of heat and odors, creating a pleasant and inviting space for your cat to spend time in.

By thoughtfully integrating enrichment accessories and prioritizing comfort and shelter within the catio, you can create a space that not only meets your cat's physical and behavioral needs but also provides a tranquil and enjoyable outdoor retreat for your beloved feline companion.


Safety Considerations

Ensuring the safety of your feline friend is paramount when designing and constructing a catio. By addressing key safety considerations, you can create a secure and protected outdoor space that offers peace of mind for both you and your cat.

Secure Enclosure Design

The design and construction of the catio should prioritize security and containment. Use durable and escape-proof materials for the enclosure, such as sturdy wire mesh or screening, to prevent any possibility of your cat escaping or being exposed to potential dangers outside the catio. Regularly inspect the enclosure for any signs of wear or damage, and promptly repair or replace any compromised areas to maintain its integrity.

Non-Toxic Materials

When selecting materials for the catio, prioritize non-toxic options to safeguard your cat's well-being. Ensure that any paints, stains, or sealants used in the construction process are pet-safe and free from harmful chemicals. Additionally, choose cat-friendly plants if incorporating greenery within the catio, as certain plants can be toxic to cats if ingested.

Safe Access Points

If the catio includes doors, windows, or other access points, ensure that they are equipped with secure latches or locks to prevent unauthorized entry or exit. Regularly inspect these access points to confirm that they remain functional and secure, minimizing the risk of accidental escape or intrusion by other animals.

Protection from Predators

Consider the potential presence of predators in your area, such as birds of prey or neighborhood wildlife. Ensure that the catio's design provides adequate protection from potential threats, such as installing a roof or cover to prevent access from above and incorporating secure barriers to deter unwanted visitors.

Avoiding Hazards

When designing the catio, eliminate any potential hazards that could pose risks to your cat. This includes removing or securing any sharp objects, toxic substances, or small spaces where your cat could become trapped. Additionally, ensure that electrical cords or other potential dangers are inaccessible within the catio's confines.

Weather Considerations

Take into account the impact of weather on the catio and your cat's comfort and safety. Provide adequate shelter from rain, wind, and extreme temperatures, ensuring that the catio offers a comfortable environment regardless of the weather conditions. Additionally, monitor the temperature within the catio during hot weather to prevent overheating.

By incorporating these safety considerations into the design and maintenance of your catio, you can create a secure and protected outdoor space that allows your cat to enjoy the benefits of the outdoors while minimizing potential risks and hazards. Regular vigilance and proactive measures will help ensure that the catio remains a safe and enjoyable environment for your beloved feline companion.


Maintenance and Upkeep

Maintaining your DIY catio is essential to ensure that it remains a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable space for your cat over the long term. By incorporating regular maintenance and proactive upkeep, you can preserve the integrity of the catio while providing a clean and inviting environment for your feline companion.

Cleaning and Sanitization

Regular cleaning is crucial to uphold a hygienic and pleasant environment within the catio. Remove debris, fallen leaves, and any accumulated dirt or waste from the enclosure to prevent the buildup of odors and maintain cleanliness. Use pet-safe cleaning products to sanitize surfaces, including shelves, perches, and resting areas, to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination and maintain a healthy environment for your cat.

Inspecting Structural Integrity

Periodically inspect the structural integrity of the catio to identify any signs of wear, damage, or potential hazards. Check for loose fasteners, compromised wire mesh or screening, and any areas that may require repair or reinforcement. Address any issues promptly to prevent safety concerns and ensure that the catio remains secure and stable.

Weatherproofing and Seasonal Considerations

Adjust the catio to accommodate seasonal changes and weather conditions. During hot weather, provide ample shade and ensure that the catio offers adequate ventilation to prevent overheating. In colder months, consider adding additional bedding or insulation to create a cozy and comfortable environment for your cat. Regularly assess the roofing and shelter to confirm that they provide effective protection from rain, wind, and other elements.

Enrichment and Refreshment

Continuously enrich the catio environment with new toys, scratching posts, and interactive elements to keep your cat engaged and stimulated. Rotate and refresh enrichment features to prevent boredom and maintain a dynamic and engaging space for your cat. Additionally, consider introducing cat-safe plants or herbs to provide sensory stimulation and a connection to nature within the catio.

Monitoring and Interaction

Spend quality time with your cat in the catio, observing their behavior and ensuring that they are content and comfortable. Monitor your cat's interactions with the catio environment, addressing any signs of stress or discomfort. Engage in interactive play and bonding activities within the catio to strengthen your relationship with your feline companion and create positive associations with the outdoor space.

By incorporating these maintenance and upkeep practices, you can uphold the longevity and functionality of your DIY catio, creating a secure, stimulating, and harmonious outdoor haven for your cat to enjoy throughout the seasons. Regular attention and care will ensure that the catio remains a cherished and beneficial addition to your home and your cat's well-being.



In conclusion, the journey of creating a DIY catio offers a fulfilling and rewarding experience for both you and your feline companion. By embarking on this endeavor, you have taken proactive steps to provide a safe, stimulating, and enriching outdoor space for your cat, enhancing their quality of life while fostering a deeper connection with nature.

Throughout the process of planning, designing, and constructing your catio, you have demonstrated a commitment to your cat's well-being, prioritizing their safety, comfort, and behavioral enrichment. The careful consideration of materials, design elements, and safety measures reflects your dedication to creating a harmonious and secure outdoor environment tailored to your cat's specific needs and preferences.

As you witness your cat exploring and enjoying the catio, basking in the sunlight, climbing to new heights, and engaging in playful activities, you will undoubtedly experience the joy and satisfaction that comes with providing a space that aligns with your cat's natural instincts and behaviors. The catio becomes a sanctuary where your cat can experience the sights, sounds, and scents of the outdoors while remaining protected from potential hazards and enjoying the comforts of home.

Furthermore, the catio serves as a testament to the bond between you and your cat, offering opportunities for shared experiences, interactive play, and quality time spent together in a unique and enriching setting. Your commitment to maintaining the catio through regular upkeep and proactive care ensures that it remains a cherished and enduring addition to your home, providing ongoing benefits for your cat's physical and mental well-being.

As you witness the positive impact of the catio on your cat's happiness and overall contentment, you can take pride in the role you have played in creating a space that enhances their life and strengthens the bond between you. The DIY catio stands as a testament to your dedication as a pet owner, reflecting your desire to provide the best possible environment for your feline companion.

In essence, the DIY catio represents a labor of love, a testament to the special relationship between you and your cat, and a tangible expression of your commitment to their happiness and well-being. As you witness the joy and contentment that the catio brings to your cat, you can take pride in the positive impact of your efforts, knowing that you have created a safe and stylish outdoor haven that enriches your cat's life in immeasurable ways.

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