The Best of Both Worlds: Build a Catio, Watch Your Cat Blossom

Two cats looking out on the catio.Over 3 billion birds and 20 billion small animals are killed each year by cats, a statistic that has earned domestic felines the number one slot among other predators. Sure, cats are tasked with hunting for mice around the world, but if you’re not really interested in the blue-ribbon prize, Fluffy may enjoy life as a house cat.

There are obvious benefits to keeping your cat indoors. Protecting him or her from other predators, vehicles, and parasites are some of the biggest motivators toward wellness. However, if your cat shows a keen interest in the outdoors, it may be time to build a catio.

Everyone Benefits

Designing and/or constructing a safe outdoor space for your cat to enjoy the sunshine, breeze, and surrounding wildlife is a thoughtful gift. But your cat won’t be the only one who benefits. A catio will naturally boost your cat’s health and happiness, and it ensures the safety of other animals. Likewise, many neighbors will also appreciate your dedication to keeping the community space pristine.

It’s Elementary, Mr. Whiskers

A “catio” (i.e., cat patio) is a secure enclosure that’s just for your cat. It’s a wonderful solution to boredom and a great way to increase exercise and ensure safety.

You can really get creative, too! From simple, free standing structures to exquisite, attractive additions to your main home, catios can truly become the cat’s meow (once the sawdust settles!). You can also place your own seating inside to hang out with your cat or build a catio right off an existing window, door, porch, or deck.

How to Build a Catio

There are some fabulous DIY catio plans to choose from. Make sure to select materials that can withstand the elements. Before you build a catio, research the right products. Wood framing, galvanized wire, sturdy mesh, and cedar shelves (for climbing, perching, and sunbathing) are excellent components.

Consider the flooring. If your structure is in the yard, grass may suit your cat well. Other places may need a bit of softening, so you can install wood flooring, pavers, AstroTurf, or even outdoor carpet.

The addition of various cat-safe potted plants, such as catnip, spider plants, lemon button ferns, rubber plants, and ponytail palms, may be very nice for your cat to enjoy, as well.

Don’t Forget

When you build a catio, make it tall enough in certain places to accommodate a multi-story cat tower. Equipped with scratching posts, tunnels, hiding spots, hanging feathers or balls, and numerous levels, your cat can enjoy a good workout. You may also consider the following cat-friendly components:

  • Ramps
  • Stairways to high vantage points
  • Cardboard box
  • Bedding
  • Birdbaths or feeders just outside the catio
  • Well-hidden litter box

Smell the Roses

We hope you see a change in Fluffy’s behavior after you build a catio for him or her. If you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s health and happiness, we encourage you to contact our veterinarians or staff. Good luck!

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posted in:  The Cat's Meow