Catio: What Makes The Perfect Outdoor Cat Enclosure For Your Cat

Is there a cat that doesn’t love snoozing in the sun, watching birds, and feeling the wind in their whiskers? Here’s a way for your indoor or outdoor cat to enjoy the enriching sights, sounds and smells of nature and still be protected. How? With an outdoor catio!

Table of contents

  • What is a catio?
  • Why build a catio?
  • What are the benefits of a catio?
  • What are the different types of catios?
    • Window Catio
    • Porch Catio
    • Balcony Catio
    • Portable Catios
    • Fencing for cats
    • Outdoor cat tunnels
    • A screened-in porch
  • How will your cat get in and out of the Catio?
    • Window access
    • Doggy-door flap
    • Carried into the catio
    • Combination cat tunnel and doggy-door flap
  • Furnishings: What to put in your catio
  • How will the catio be accessed by a human?
  • What’s the best location for a catio?
  • Can I leave my cat in the catio at night?
  • What’s the best type of catio for a cat?
  • Buy or DIY: Pros and cons
  • How much do catios cost?
  • What do I need for a DIY catio?
  • How often will your catio be used?
  • Will your cat ever want to leave the catio?

What is a catio?

A catio is an outdoor cat enclosure or “cat patio” that you build or buy to provide a safe outdoor space for your cat. Catios are a perfect solution that allows your cat to be outside while you enjoy peace of mind knowing that your kitty is always safe.

Why build a catio?

Cats love fresh air. But pet cats that roam freely outdoors are at higher risk of illness and injury. They could be hit by a car, attacked by a predator, or tussle with another roaming pet.

Catio enclosures allow your outdoor cat to continue enjoying the open air, but remain protected from the negative aspects of outdoor living. An indoor cat with access to an outdoor catio will live an enriched life in comfort and safety.

What are the benefits of a catio?

Maybe you live in a small apartment and can’t take your indoor cat on supervised walks. Perhaps you live in a rural area where predators roam and you don’t want to worry about your outdoor cat being injured or killed. Or, you want to enrich your indoor cat’s life by providing safe access to sunshine and breezes. An outdoor catio is the answer!

An outdoor catio enclosure can help alleviate boredom or stress in kitties who spend most of their time indoors. A catio can also be a way to separate cats who don’t get along, and may even improve the cats’ relationship by providing an outlet for pent-up energy.

By building an outdoor catio instead of letting your beloved pet cat roam outside, you are not being cruel – you are keeping your cat safe and healthy. And, you’ll have your fluffy friend around for many more years: Indoor cats live about 10-15 years on average, while outdoor cats live only 2-5 years on average.

What are the different types of catios?

Catios can be very simple or quite elaborate. An outdoor catio enclosure can be built on your apartment balcony, attached to a window, or be freestanding on your back yard. Catios can be constructed for free by using castoff or recycled materials. Alternatively, you can spend up to several thousand dollars for a deluxe catio kit. Building your catio cat house can be a quick weekend DYI project. Or, you can go all out design a multi-level catio palace for your kitties!

Window Catio

A window catio hangs up against a first-floor window in your home. A window catio can be small or extend all the way to the ground. You can construct your own window catio from wood and wire, or hang a large dog crate up against the window. Be sure to add supports below so the structure is able to hold the weight of your cat without sagging.

The beauty of a window catio is that all you need to do is open your home’s window for your cat to enter their own personal outdoor room. Your pet can come back inside whenever they like.

Porch Catio

Think of a porch catio as a miniature screened-in porch for your kitty. Construct it on your deck or patio, with the solid surface as the base. A porch catio can be any height, but should include an elevated perch or cat tree where your cat can get off the ground to survey their outdoor kingdom.

Balcony Catio

If you live in an apartment, you can turn all or part of your balcony or fire escape into an outdoor catio.  For a DIY option, zip-tie poultry fencing to the balcony’s railing, then add more poultry fencing on top to create a roof for safety. Or, simply position a large dog crate on your balcony and place your kitty in it for long, lazy afternoon naps.

Be sure to leave space for yourself to enjoy the balcony or fire escape beside your cat. And of course, allow enough room to use the fire escape for its intended purpose in the event of an emergency.



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