Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog
Want to Build a Catio? It’s Even Better than It Sounds!
People spend an inordinate amount of time saving up for vacations, or planning activities designed to stimulate the senses. In fact, this preoccupation with our own entertainment motivates us to work longer hours, cut coupons, and invest in the art of patiently waiting for the right moment to appear. This endless pursuit got us thinking about the cats we know and love.
If they were to create something that truly knocked their proverbial socks off, would they build a catio? You bet!
A Taste of Freedom
Without exposure to predators, parasites, or vehicular accidents, indoor-only felines can live two decades (or more!). However, strictly indoor cats commonly have fewer opportunities to exert themselves and exhibit their natural behaviors. Some form of enrichment should be provided and with obesity and diabetes on the rise, it’s worth it to consider the benefits of a catio.
What Is a Catio?
Say you have a frisky feline who is just itching to get outside, but you don’t want to risk their health or vitality by allowing a frolic beyond the screen door. Many cat owners decide to build a catio; that is, an enclosed patio designed just for cats, to support their wandering ways. A catio can be as simple or complicated as you want, but the bottom line is that it safely provides a bridge between both worlds.
Choose between your deck, balcony, porch, patio, or yard to build a catio. Some creative types even build off an existing window. Just be sure that the catio is safe, secure, and sturdy before inviting your cat to claim it as their own. Heavy wood framing is a good place to start, but you may also need heavy duty wire fencing and shelving to tie your design together.
Catios: Plans, Pre-Fabs, & Personalized
There are all sorts of online resources available to help in creating the perfect catio for your kitty. After some research, we’ve selected to highlight two of these sites that provide some great options for realizing your catio goals. The first site, Catio Spaces, has a multitude of both DIY plans for building a catio yourself and custom-built catio options available for purchase. Another good resource is C & D Pet Products. In addition to accessories for putting the finishing touches on your cat’s new space, at C & D Pet Products you can purchase prefabricated catio kits, for both indoors and outdoors, that just need to put together once received.
Build a Catio, Create Space
After you build a catio, you have to make it an inviting space for your cat to visit. Staggering shelves or planks for your cat to climb help them align with their stalking/ambushing/observing instincts, and they double as places to lounge about or sleep on. Similarly, a cat tower, a cardboard box or two, scratching post, or just a good old chair go a long way toward total catio immersion.
It’s so Fun
Some cats never want to leave after their owners build a catio, and if you provide their meals, litter box, and toys, it’s no wonder.
Add a bird feeder or bird bath nearby, so your cat can enjoy the sights without adding to the numbers of neighborhood bird mortality rates.
Plant life is also always appreciated by cats in their special enclosures. Be sure that the greenery you provide is safe and non-toxic for animals (catnip or catmint are always solid choices).
Please be sure to have fresh drinking water at all times inside the catio. If it is in the sun for long periods of time, do not allow your cat to remain inside it without access to shade or the house.
Without a doubt, building a catio is never a substitute for your love, affection, attention, and time. If you find that your cat prefers to spend long hours inside the catio, try to make it a cozy place for you both to share. That’s a win-win!
As always, if you have any questions about cat health and wellness, we’re always here for you.