If you are considering building a catio (a cat patio or outdoor cat enclosure) for your furry feline you can be sure it’s quality of life and happiness will all be hugely improved. A catio is a great option if you live in a busy town or city with traffic dangers or are worried about your cat roaming, getting lost or being attached by other animals.
Cats love to be outdoors enjoying nature, soaking up some sun rays and exploring a new environment. A catio is the purrrrrfect solution so your cat can be outdoors in a stress-free environment with access to all the comforts it enjoys indoors such as food, water, safety and warmth. You will enjoy huge peace of mind knowing your cat is living its best life in a secure catio.
So how do you make a catio? Here are 10 steps to building your first big outdoor cat enclosure.
Rules and Regulations
If you are renting your home please check with the landlord or agent to make sure a catio is allowed. Also check with your local government authority if you are building an especially large catio in case a permit is required.
Large Outdoor Cat Enclosure Location
First you need to decide where to put your catio. It should be in an area with the best view so your cat can be stimulated by what it sees from within the catio. So a garden area with a view of some trees where there might be birds, flowers and other people passing by can all be ideal options.
Also make sure the catio is protected from any harsh weather conditions so think ahead how the weather will be in every season.
Do you want your cat to be able to freely access her cat enclosure from inside your home? If so you need to put in a cat door or similar entrance so your cat can come and go as it pleases. If this isn’t logistically possible then you can simply carry your cat out to the catio for outdoors play time. Again, if you are renting or living in an apartment building for example you may not be allowed or able to put in a cat door.
Next measure the space you have available for your catio. Once you know the size you need you will be ready to start construction.
Most catios are fixed in place (not movable) but if you are lucky enough to have a large garden area or farm you should consider a moveable catio. Then you won’t need a little box and can change the scenery your cat sees from time to time.
Basically you have 4 options for building your catio. You can build it yourself from scratch, buy a catio DIY plan to make it yourself, hire a builder or buy a catio that is already made.
If you have the skills to build the catio yourself it will be an affordable option. You can buy all the supplies at your local hardware store such as wood, screws, wire mesh and flooring (assuming you own your own tools). You can make it as basic or as elaborate as you wish and be in control of the quality of supplies you use.
If you don’t have amazing carpentry skills you might like the slightly easier option of buying a catio DIY plan. These can be found online and will basically tell you what to buy and how to put it together with step by step instructions. This is like when you buy a piece of furniture from Ikea and assemble it yourself.
Or you can simply hire a builder to do the job. You can have a consultation, tell them what you want and customize any special features you would like. This is probably the most expensive option.
Finally you can buy a catio already made online, from a store or from someone who might be selling one secondhand. If you have a small space you might struggle to find the right size. Or you might get lucky and find the perfect catio.
Sun and Shade
It is really important that your cat has areas that are in the sun and shade so it can seek protection from the elements if needed. While cats adore basking in the sun and soaking up the rays they can get too hot and might like to find a shady spot for a cat nap.
Waterproof the Catio
Creating a waterproof covered area should also be considered if you intend to let your cat stay in the catio while you are alway from home for short or long periods of time. You will not be a popular owner if your cat gets soaked by the rain with no escape.
You should put familiar essentials inside the catio first such as a blanket and pillow and cat litter as well as food and water. Then add in the must-have cat toys so your feline friend has something to play with.
All this effort to create the catio and you may as well go all out and make it pretty too. If you have built a large catio you might want to add shelves so your cat can climb and play. Plants and a scratching post can be nice added extras too.
It's the moment of truth when your cat gets to try out the catio. You can expect it may be cautious at first so take your time and don't force the cat to go in. If your cat is hesitant try putting a cat treat inside to tempt his furry paws to walk inside.
Give your cat time to walk around, smell the area and smooch the insides to put it's scent on it's new territory. Once you see it make this smoochy connection with the new space you will know the cat approves of the new catio.
A catio is a great investment into enriching your pet's life. The time outside will lift your cat's mood and happiness levels. Studies show cats who only live indoors can yearn to be outside or even suffer from depression. Your cat deserves the best and a catio really is opening up a new world for your cat that is exciting, stimulating and exciting.
Kritter Kommunity Contributor