You want to give your cat the best life you possibly can. Being a good cat parent is about making the decisions every day to ensure you set your pet up for a better tomorrow. Letting your feline go outside, though, is risky business. Not only could they run afoul of other animals and automobiles, but they might go on a murdering spree. Housecats aren’t hungry enough to eat the birds they kill. If you take your cat outside, it’s probably best to secure that ferocious beast. Here, we’ll lay out some top tips for building a catio.
What Is a Catio?
The word catio is a mash-up of the term “cat patio,” indicating an outdoor enclosure designed for housecats who don’t get to enjoy fresh air and nature otherwise. You must enclose catios so that your cat does not escape and so that predators can’t get to your pet. Many cats love catios as these structures give them access to the outside world where they can look at birds, breathe clean air, eat grass, and more.
Reasons To Build a Catio
Cats love to be outside. While your housecat may seem lazy, cats also love to play. Giving your cat a catio may incentivize them to move around more. When indoor cats are bored, they tend to eat and sleep more. The more your cat eats and lays around, the more likely they are to gain weight. Help your cat stay healthy and active with a spacious catio full of fun things for them to play with.
Pro Tip: If you have a restless cat that needs to get its energy out, a catio may be the solution. Outdoor time can help stimulate your pet.
DIY vs. Catio Kit
While you can build your own catio, you also have the option of buying a preassembled one. With a preassembled catio, you can guarantee the pieces will fit together and that the structure will be secure. Check reviews on catio kits before you buy one to ensure that you purchase a sturdy one. On the other hand, if you build your own catio, you can choose your own design elements and materials. Plus, when you build it yourself, you can ensure that each feature is flawless.
Types of Catios
What do you picture when you think of a catio? Maybe you think of a small, screened-in box with a tunnel. Or perhaps you envision a two-story tower for a multi-cat home. Many catio design options exist, and the one you choose will likely depend on the amount of space you have on your property.
The smallest and simplest catio style is the window box. If you build it yourself, you’ll need a sturdy piece of wood for the bottom and a mesh screen to prevent your cat from falling out. The box should be big enough for your feline but not so large that your windowsill can’t support its weight. One thing to consider with a window box is that your cat may have constant access to its catio.
Tunnel to a Haven
You can also give your cat constant access to their catio with a haven and tunnel. Place havens against the house if you don’t have space in your yard to move them outward. When your cat is in their haven, you’ll want to supervise them. You can go outside when your cat is in their haven or sit near the window where they are playing. To enter havens, your cat will use a window or a hole cut into the wall.
The grandest sort of catio is a sanctuary. Tall enough for you to stand up inside, cat sanctuaries give your pet plenty of space to move around and enjoy themselves. Your sanctuary can contain multiple levels and more features than havens or boxes. To get your cats to their sanctuary, you must carry them, bring them in their cat carrier, or lead them by a leash.
Give Your Cat Plenty of Space
Whichever type of catio you choose to install, keep in mind that your cat needs plenty of space. Consider your cat’s size and how much room it needs to lie down and get through entryways. Platforms inside your catio should be wide enough to accommodate your kitty so that it doesn’t fall off high ledges while sleeping.
Build Your Catio on Solid Ground
Whether you build your own catio or purchase a kit, you should place it on flat, solid ground. You don’t want your catio to wobble while your cat is playing and running around. Your pet could get hurt if the catio falls over while your cat is inside.
Use Durable Materials
To keep your cat safe, build your catio from a dense, sturdy wood species, such as fir, cedar, or pine. Using cattle panel clips, secure welded wire or mesh chicken fencing to your frame to ensure your cat does not escape. Make sure the screen is taut against the wood for the best hold.
Include Plants in Your Catio
Cats love plants, but some are better for your feline than others. While some plants are hazardous, others are OK to keep around your pet. Keep in mind that any plant—even catnip—may cause your cat to vomit. The best plants to keep in your catio include:
- Wheatgrass (and other types of cat grass)
- Creeping zinnias
- Gerbera daisies
Use Shelves and Ramps
Place shelves in your catio so that your cat can sit up high. Cats like to sit in elevated positions so that they can survey their surroundings. Your kitties will especially appreciate having different levels to look out from while they’re outside. Include ramps for higher shelves or cats that can’t jump easily. Don’t let your cat hurt themselves in their catio.
Get Scratching Posts
Like inside, your cat will scratch things they aren’t supposed to in their catio if you don’t give them a diversion. Give your cat something to scratch in the catio to sharpen their claws whenever they want. Cats like to sharpen their claws to get rid of dead nails or when they are excited. Your cats are sure to get excited while spending time in the catio, so make sure they have something to scratch that isn’t the screen.
Your housecat isn’t used to being outdoors. Provide shade in your catio so that your pet has a chance to get out of the sun, and consider keeping your cat inside on extremely hot days. Still, as your kitties remember that they can go outside, they will start to beg for the experience. Once they are in the catio, you may notice signs that they are hot and need moments to rest in the shade. Use cat shelters, benches, or trees to provide shade for your cat.
Follow these top tips for building a catio, and you will have an oasis any cat would be lucky to experience. Think about your cats’ needs when you build their catopia, and use Fence Claws for the sturdiest hold. It’s easier to build your own catio when you use quick and easy Fence Claws that are four times stronger than fencing staples and resistant to rust and damage. Buy a tub of Fence Claws today!