If your indoor cat’s antics have become destructive, or you have a door-dasher who frequently escapes from your home for an outdoor adventure, it might be time for a catio. Cats are naturally curious and need daily stimulation to satisfy their hunting instinct and reduce boredom. Catios, outdoor “cat patios”, can provide your feline a safe outdoor space to enjoy the enrichment of the natural world, including fresh air, birdwatching, chasing bugs, and catnaps in the sun.
We talked with Cynthia Chomos, founder of Catio Spaces and catio designer, to find out why a catio is the perfect option for cats who need some outdoor space.
“I work every day with cat parents, locally and globally, to help solve a variety of indoor/outdoor issues. Questions and quandaries cover a range of concerns, including:
- protecting cats from predators, poisons and diseases;
- reducing vet bills for injuries resulting from cat fights or cars;
- solving indoor, multi-cat issues due to lack or territory or stimulation; and
- creating a safe outside retreat for cats that simply long to be outdoors.”
What is a catio?
A catio is a screened, escape-proof enclosure with cat access through a cat door installed in a window, wall or door. The basic structure includes wood framing, wire mesh walls, a polycarbonate or wire mesh roof, and flooring options, such as grass, decking and pavers. Additional cat-friendly elements, including shelves for vertical and horizontal movement, perches for lounging, and cat safe plants, add enrichment for a safe and stimulating outdoor adventure.
Where can a catio be built?
Whether surrounding a window or a freestanding structure, catios range in sizes for a porch, patio, deck, or yard. Most cats don’t need a lot of territory to be happy outside, and larger catios provide space for human seating. From small and simple, to large and luxurious, catios are an investment in the wellbeing of your cat.
Other than giving cats a safe outdoor space, what are the benefits of building a catio?
Catios offer a garden retreat for human and feline bonding. After all, nature and fresh air is good for cat parents too! Another benefit? Catios protect local birds and wildlife. Meet three of my fur clients, Griffin, Gink and Brina, who went from being wishful window watchers to happy outdoor catio cats. In this video, you’ll see them enjoying the best cat TV ever (birds and squirrels!) ….and their cat mom no longer has to clean their nose prints off the windows.
VIDEO: Wildlife Window Watchers by Catio Spaces
Looking for some catio inspiration? A variety of online resources are available from do-it-yourself catio plans, kits and custom designed catios. Catio Spaces offers free catio tips and a variety of DIY Catio Plans that you can build yourself (or hire a local carpenter to build it for you). The plans take the guesswork out of building a catio and include a material list, tool list and step by step instructions for a successful project.
If your indoor cat longs for a taste of the outdoors, or you worry about your door-dasher’s safety, a catio can be the purrfect solution for peace of mind – and a happy cat. For more information, visit CatioSpaces.com