So, what the heck is a catio anyhow? Well, it is the latest craze for caring cat owners. Most cats in urban settings these days are indoor cats who don’t have the freedom to roam about outside because of the number of deadly hazards, such as traffic or predators, they may encounter while on their adventures. Building a catio means your kitties can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine of the great outdoors in safety. It’s an enclosure that extends outwards from a window, porch, deck or door of your home, or it can be free standing in your yard. Some are even portable. It can be as small as a box outside the kitchen window or as large as a patio or balcony outside your sliding doors. It is screened or has wire fencing on all sides and above.
If you have DIY skills, it isn’t difficult to build a serviceable catio using basic construction materials of lumber, screening or wire, and hardware. There are plenty of plans and ideas available online. Building it yourself allows you to customize your catio any way you choose. You can paint it to match your home, or instead of using screening or wire to enclose it above, you can cover it to make it rainproof. Whether you use wire screening or something solid for the roof, just be sure there are no open gaps between where the tops of the walls meet the roof – you’d be surprised at how small a space a motivated kitty can get through. Keep this in mind too if you are using wire screening and be sure the gaps in the wire are small enough that your cat can’t squeeze through. This is especially important to consider if you have a kitten or petite cat. You can make a dream playground for your cat in the form of perches, tunnels and scratching posts. Or, you can keep it simple. It’s all up to you.
If you aren’t the handy type, you can hire someone or ask a friend to help build your catio, or you can purchase a ready-made one which is free standing. You can even use a prefab dog kennel placed strategically against your house.
Here are some ideas you can include to make your catio a kitty paradise:
- Include some perches for your cat to sit on. We all know how they love to survey their domain from above.
- Try and incorporate some climbing opportunities. This can include bridges or walkways from one perch to another and encourages exercise to help burn those extra calories.
- Tunnels or enclosures are always attractive to cats, so why not include one and make this catio a full blown adventure playground?
- A feeding station would be a great addition to complete the outdoor living ambience!
- Plant some cat grass in pots to add a little greenery and for your cats to nosh on.
- Some people build enclosed walkways along their fences or over their gardens, or from one window to another.
- If you have the space, place chairs and tables inside your catio to make it multifunctional and a lovely spot to enjoy some feline companionship.
Your only limitation is your imagination and your budget, so let your creative juices go wild.
Whichever type of catio you choose for your kitty, she will appreciate being able to take in the fresh air and sunshine and the smells and sights of the great outdoors!
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