catioDoes your indoor cat longingly stare out the window all day? Has your curious cat made one too many near-miss escapes through the front door? Indoor cats, while living healthier, longer lives, do miss out on many of the benefits that come with Mother Nature, including fresh air, sunshine, and so many birds! So what’s the solution? Why, a catio, of course!

What’s a Catio?

The catio, like a patio, is an enclosed space that allows cats to safely spend time outside. Catios come in many sizes and varieties. Some attach to windows and are small, box-like enclosures. Others may be converted screened porches, which allow human family members to enjoy the catio as well.

Catios are made out of sturdy materials, such as wood and metal screening, which keeps kitty in and other critters out. Depending on your needs, some are freestanding and can be moved around the yard. Many pet owners opt to build their catios so they can be attached to the home and accessed via a door, window, or other entryway.


Why Build a Catio?

On the list of top pet priorities, building your feline friend a room of his or her own may seem a little decadent; however, a catio has many health benefits for your cat.

  • It provides mental and behavioral enrichment. Most indoor kitties suffer from boredom and the inability to fulfill normal cat behaviors, such as stalking, observing, hiding, climbing, and scratching. A catio offers a place where your cat can feel like he or she is getting outdoor time without compromising safety.
  • Indoor cats need more exercise. Cats who spend all their time lounging on the couch are far more likely to be obese or overweight. They also suffer from secondary illnesses that are linked to weight issues. Catios can offer a place for your cat to run, pounce, leap, and enjoy more movement than an indoor environment.
  • It offers a kitty friendly space. There are times, such as when you’re cleaning or hosting a gathering, when having a space like a catio comes in handy. This zone allows kitty to feel secure while you have peace of mind knowing your pet won’t get into toxic cleaning supplies or potentially escape.

The catio is a great asset to indoor cats, who often don’t get the fresh air and sunshine necessary for all living beings.

Build Your Catio!

Now that you’re excited about your catio addition, where do you begin?

Actually, it’s easy. If you’re a DIY-er, you may want to draw up your own plans for a unique catio design. There are many cool examples online (such as here and here and here).

For those who need a little assistance constructing their catio, there are several pre-packaged kits that come with all the materials you need for your cat’s new pad. .

Some creative and thrifty catio builders may rely on materials they already have on hand, such as a tall dog kennel adapted to suit a cat’s needs or a screened in porch. Just remember, the design should be secure and allow for enough space for your kitty. Also, make sure you have permission to build your catio, either from a landlord or from the city.

Don’t forget to add: cat trees, chairs, perches, scratching posts, toys, and even some cat-friendly foliage (when in doubt, you can also buy fake plants and trees).

If you build a catio, we’d love to hear about it! Post your story and photos on our Facebook page!