Have you been thinking about creating an outdoor catio space for your cat? A catio, an outdoor enclosed patio designed for cats, are great for your cat to hang out in and take in the outdoors. Before jumping into a big project like this, here are a few things you’ll want to consider.
Ensuring Your Pet’s Safety
Safety first! Even if the catio you purchase or design seems to be 100% safe, you’ll always need to keep an eye on your feline friend. To make your catio a positive and safe space, we suggest you include the following features: an entry door or window, ramps, catwalks, hiding places, beds or pillows for resting, fresh drinking water, shady spaces , predator-proof screening (on the bottom as well as the sides), and a roof or covering for mild weather protection. Even in a catio, it’s crucial to never leave your pet unattended. At the end of the day, you are 100% responsible for your pet’s safety and ensuring your catio is a secure space!
Although your cat may not embrace the outdoors like a dog would, there are many advantages to spending time outside. The first and potentially the most important benefit pertains to the mental stimulation and enrichment for cats. The sounds and smells of nature, along with the ledges and climbing areas help channel your cat’s inner-adventurer. Another perk includes decreased conflict in multi-cat homes. If you have two cats or more, conflict may arise; however, a catio can give each cat an opportunity to explore and thrive individually. With multiple cats, be sure to provide multiple entrances and exits so no one gets cornered or let them enjoy the catio independently. Other benefits include exercise, wildlife protection (those song birds will be safe on the other side of the screen), and protection for your cat from other wildlife (be sure the material you use can withstand a predator trying to get inside from the top, sides, and bottom).
You can choose to purchase a ready made catio or build one from scratch. If purchasing, make sure to read all of the information provided and do a thorough comparison. More often than not, catios are on the pricier side which is why it’s important to do a thorough evaluation before making a purchase!
For our creative folks, diy catios are a great option. A diy catio enables you to meticulously control design, materials, and cost! With a self build you can be creative and cator (did you see what we did there) toward the specific needs and personality of your pet! The resources below will help you get started mapping out your catio from scratch.
Written by Gracie Butler
Animal Care Foundation
Providing elderly and disabled community members access to veterinary care for their beloved pet.