Cats love to be outdoors. When they go outside the cat door, they can explore, get some fresh air, and perhaps even socialize with other cats.
However, as a cat owner, you’re worried that your beloved feline friend may go outdoors and not come home. To provide the best of both worlds, you can create a cat enclosure for her. Then, your cat can get the outdoor time she needs and stay safe at the same time.
Learn more about catios, and take a few steps to make your own DIY catio plans.
All About Catios
A catio is an outdoor cat enclosure you can build on your patio or in your backyard. It can also be a freestanding catio design.
While some people prefer to get a custom catio made or to buy a cat patio online somewhere like Amazon, others want to make a DIY catio or cat house instead. It all depends on what you want to do.
It’s a good idea for your indoor cat to have her own catio because it’ll provide enrichment for your furry friend. She can gain access to the outdoors and tap into her natural instincts, doing things like balancing, climbing, and leaping. Your cat can enjoy wildlife like birds and mice, but she won’t be able to catch them. This means she’ll be safer since wild creatures sometimes carry diseases.
If your cat has behavioral issues, it may be because she’s bored and not getting enough stimulation. By giving her time to herself in a catio, she’s less likely to experience these issues.
You can let your feline friend outside without worrying about her getting lost or hurt or ending up in a fight with another indoor or outdoor cat. If you have a female cat who isn’t spayed, you don’t have to worry about her getting pregnant, and if you have a male cat who isn’t neutered, you won’t have to worry about him getting a female cat pregnant.
What to Include in Your Catio
Within one to two weeks, your cat should get used to her new outdoor space. To make sure that she’s comfortable, you can place cat toys, a bed, a cat tree, a litter box, a scratching post, and a cat tunnel in there. Then, your cat will have plenty of stimulation when she goes into her outdoor catio. You should also consider adding vertical perches and shelves to your DIY cat enclosure since cats enjoy vertical space.
For some cat toy ideas, check out the following:
The Purrfect Additions to Your Catio
Fold Away Tunnel and Cat Scratcher, Multi
The Fold Away Scratching Tunnel by Petstages is the ultimate kitty hide-a-way. This durable tunnel has a soft, comfortable flannel floor and corrugated material that’s great for scratching. Compact and storage-friendly, this foldable scratcher is easy to put away. Most cats stay inside all of their lives, separated from the engaging activities that are naturally available outside of the house…
Your cat is sure to love the Straw-Babies Cat Dental Catnip Toy, which comes in packs of three and will engage your cat’s natural hunting instincts. It also helps to clean your cat’s teeth and is the ideal size for cats to chase, bat, and carry.
Straw-Babies Cat Dental Catnip Toy – 3 Pack, Pink
Straw-Babies 3 Pack by Petstages is a delightfully engaging catnip toy your kitty needs! The feathered cat toy contains catnip and crinkle to keep cats engaged in play and activate their natural hunting instincts. Multiple textures help floss to keep teeth clean for good dental health. These berry-sized toys are also perfect for cats to bat at, carry around, and chase!HELPS CLEAN TEETH: Multiple textures…
And if you want to give your cat a cozy place to cuddle up in her catio, try the Calming Oval Cat Bed Pad from Best Friends by Sheri. It simulates that feeling of comfort and security kittens get from their mother and, thanks to its shape, it’s ideal for cats who love to curl up.
Calming Oval Cat Bed Pad, Taupe, 21X19
The Best Friends by Sheri calming cat bed simulates that feeling of comfort and security kittens get from their mother. These donut cat beds are designed with a 1/4″ sleeping surface and deep crevices that envelope your pet in soft faux fur ideal for snuggling and burrowing. Perfect for pets that love to curl up, the raised rim provides head and neck support while the filling offers joint and muscle pain…
Finding a Location for Your Catio
Wherever you put the catio, it needs to be in a safe spot. Your cat should be able to go back into the house when she wants just in case it gets cold or she doesn’t want to be outside anymore. You can put the cat cage near a pet door, for instance.
If you live in an apartment or don’t have much space, try building a window box catio for your cat. If you’re building the catio on the ground, then you need to have a level foundation.
Your cat should have access to sun and shade; placing a sun shade over part of it is a good idea. Wherever you put the DIY catio, your cat should have stimulating views of nature.
What You Need to Build Your Catio
You can look up DIY catio ideas online to see what other cat owners are doing. Pinterest has some great tutorials that are easy to follow.
But generally, to build your catio space, you’ll need just a few materials. First, get some chicken wire or fencing wire to attach to your wood framing using a staple gun. If you don’t have wood framing, you can also check out DIY catios using IKEA bookshelves, or you could use PVC pipes instead.
If your catio is on the grass, you may want to put something over it, like an outdoor rug, to make sure that your cat isn’t getting dirty. Place horizontal and/or vertical cedar shelves in the catio so your cat can climb as much as she wants. A clear and polycarbonate-covered roof or wire mesh can serve as the roof.
Building your catio should only take a few hours, so you can do it when you have some free time during the weekend.
Letting Your Cat Outside
Even if your cat is going into her catio when she’s outdoors, it’s best to only let her outside during the day. At night, there are more risks, like wild animals or cold weather.
It’s also advisable to get your cat microchipped and keep her collar on her at all times. If your cat gets out and doesn’t have any identification, someone may think she’s a stray and take her to the shelter. If she has a microchip at the very least, the shelter will be able to see that your cat belongs to you.
Ensuring Your Cat Loves Her Catio
Make sure that you keep an eye on your cat during the first week or so that she starts using her catio. If she seems bored, place some more toys in there. Make sure she can access her food and water and litter box at all times and come back in when she wants. Then, you’ll be sure to keep your cat healthy, happy, and comfortable, and give her the stimulation she needs and deserves.