The benefits to keeping your pet cat indoors are far reaching. Not only are indoor cats protected from dangers such as cars or other animals, they are also less likely to come into contact with parasites and communicable diseases. If you are one of the many cat owners who struggle with guilt over depriving your feline friend of fresh air and sunshine, however, a catio may be just the thing for you.
The Catio Decoded
A “catio” (cat + patio) is an enclosed outdoor space designed specifically for cats. A catio offers indoor cats a safe way to experience the outdoors, providing them with important enrichment, mental stimulation, and exercise.
Build Your Own
Depending on your personal preferences, budget, and carpentry skill level, your catio design is limited only by your imagination. There are a wide variety of diy catio plans to choose from, or you can simply screen-in or otherwise enclose an existing outdoor space in your home, such as a porch or back deck.
Do Your Research
Before you begin building your cat’s purrfect paradise, take the following into consideration:
- Materials – Your building plan should include sturdy, non-toxic materials such as wood, metal, or certain plastics.
- Flooring – Depending on the location of your catio, flooring can be an issue. You may choose to use existing grass or dirt as the floor, or soften it up with wood, AstroTurf, or outdoor carpeting.
- Shelter – A catio should provide adequate shade and shelter from the elements with a sturdy roof and hiding spots within the structure.
- Protection – It’s just as important to make sure other animals can’t get inside the catio as it is to make sure kitty can’t get out! Make sure that your catio is securely enclosed from top to bottom.
- Ventilation – A catio should have adequate airflow to keep kitty cool on warm days.
Bells And Whistles
Now for the fun part! Besides fresh water and a clean litter box, add cat-friendly amenities to keep kitty purring, such as:
- Perches to climb and sit on
- Scratching post or pad
- Hanging feathers, balls, and other toys
- Tunnels and hiding spots
- Cat wheel, hammock, or other pet furniture
- Potted cat grass or other cat-friendly greenery for nibbling
Birdbaths or feeders placed just outside the catio can give kitty a front-row seat to the goings on of the neighborhood critters.
Billions of birds and other small animals fall victim to the teeth and claws of pet cats each year. Building a catio not only protects your cat, it also protects local wildlife, and keeps the public spaces around your home pristine.
Let Us Know!
We hope your cat enjoys his or her new digs, and that you notice positive behavior changes! If you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s health or happiness, please don’t hesitate to contact the staff at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital.