Catios: The Safe Outdoor Enclosure for Cats

Back in the day, pretty much all cats lived outside, left to their own devices to roam the neighborhood. Today, people recognize the dangers that come with allowing cats to roam freely and often choose to keep their cats inside. With adequate stimulation, indoor cats can be happy and healthy! However there is no denying that they would be happier if they could also feel the wind and sun in their fur as they chase bugs outside. This is where catios (cat patios) come into play.

The Best of Both Worlds

cat sitting inside its cat outdoor enclosure - catio plans

An outdoor cat enclosure provides a solution to allow your cat to enjoy the great outdoors from the safety of your home. They have become known as “catios”, which is a play on the words “cat” and “patio.” What is a catio? A catio is a cat outdoor enclosure area for your cat to lounge and play without the risks associated with running totally free. With outdoor cat enclosures, your kitties will be protected from wildlife, cars, other domestic animals, and people. Access to their catio can either be restricted or unlimited, depending on how much time you’d like your cat to spend out there. Catios are the perfect solution for cat parents who want their cats to be kept as safe as possible without missing out on the fun that the outdoors bring.

How Catios Work

some cat patios have these scratch posts and other toys

A catio is an outdoor enclosure for your cat that allows them to step into the great outdoors without risking their well-being. You can either build one from scratch, or buy a kit online. The most important factor is how well you enclose the space, as cats can usually fit through very small openings. Some people use pet screening to enclose the catio, though in that case your cat will miss out on chasing bugs who slip through! Chicken wire is a good option, as it will have openings large enough for bugs but too small for kitties. With any wire material, you have to be careful at the ends where the wire is cut to prevent any stray pieces from sticking out and potentially causing injury.

cat in a cat outdoor enclosure thinking about cat patio ideas

Depending on the size of your catio, you might want to fill the space with cat trees, shelves, or other fun items for cats to climb. Cats love to climb, so providing upward climbing options will make them happy as well as encourage more healthy exercise. Adding cat-friendly plants is also an option to further enhance their outdoor experience.

Access to the catio can be through a door or window that you open and close, or through a cat door. Using a cat door is great because you can give your cat the freedom to come and go as they please, without granting outside air and bugs the same luxury! Cat doors can be installed through walls, doors, windows, sliding glass doors or screens. The most commonplace for cat doors that lead to catios is through a window. The Ideal Fast Sash Pet Door for Windows is a great option for a catio window door.

Other Benefits of a Catio

cat going through catio window door to his cat patio

Not only do you increase your cat’s happiness by providing a great source of mental stimulation, but you are also going to increase their daily exercise with a catio DIY. It's estimated that over 50% of cats in the United States are overweight. Giving your cat an enjoyable outlet to chase, climb, and jump will help get them moving, keeping them healthier and more comfortable!

The outside is a wonderful place for a litter box. You will virtually eliminate litter tracking and odors that can drive all cat parents crazy. The only downside of this is that you will have to try harder to remember to clean the litter box(es) regularly and you will need the litter boxes to be covered to prevent rain from getting inside.

Assuming your catio is very sturdy, you can also provide food and water outside. Putting their food outside can help if you have dogs indoors that like to get into their feline sibling’s meals. Food and water can attract extra wildlife, so be mindful! Use these pictures for some cat patio ideas and get started on your catio plans today!

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