Kritter Kondos Outdoor Cat Enclosures, Catios, and Pet Furniture

How Big Should A Catio Be?

Catio size

How Big Should A Catio Be?

Catio size

How Big Should a Catio Be?

This post was updated on January 13, 2024

Need to know how big your catio should be? You are in the right place! This post is all about how big should a catio be. Let’s dive into the wonderful world of outdoor cat space! ๐Ÿฑ

What’s a Catio?

A catio, in case you’re wondering, is the cool combo of a “patio” and a “cat.” It’s an outdoor sanctuary for your feline friends, and it’s as adorable as it sounds.

Different Types of Catios:


Catios come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s the scoop on the variety:

  • Attached Catios: These are like room extensions for your kitty, attached right to your home.
  • Freestanding Catios: Some people go all out and build free-standing cat paradises right in their backyard.
  • The Compact Catios: Not every catio is mansion-sized; you can go for a petite window catio or a cute little balcony pen.

Size Matters: Finding the Purr-fect Fit:

The big question is, “How big should a catio be?” Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but we’ve got some guidelines to help you out.

Catios come in all shapes, sizes and heights. Even though a catio can be a luxurious house for your pet, it doesnโ€™t have to be gigantic, or even big. It can be a window catio or a balcony pen.

  • Cat Comfort: Your feline deserves some wiggle room, so make sure there’s enough space for them to stretch, explore, and do cat things.
  • Your Cat’s Personality: Some cats are total adventurers, while others are more chill. Consider your cat’s personality when sizing up the catio.
  • Multilevel Marvels: Cats love to climb and perch, so don’t forget to think vertically when planning the catio.

Ready to find the purr-fect catio size for your furry friend? Let’s explore the possibilities and make sure your cat is living the outdoor dream in style! ๐Ÿก๐ŸŒฟ #HowBigShouldACatioBe

Although catios and outdoor pet enclosures come in all different sizes, there are some guidelines that will help you determine how big of space your feline will need in order to be comfortable in her pen.

Back when I was brainstorming the Kritter Kondo, my outdoor hangout spot for indoor cats, I thought long and hard about the perfect size. ๐Ÿค”

I figured that 2 feet wide, 4.5 feet long, and 2 feet high was the smallest I’d go for a full-grown cat. ๐Ÿˆ Why, you ask? Well, because it’s just enough space for your feline friend to chill, turn around, and even have a good old stretch without feeling cramped. We’re all about kitty comfort here! ๐Ÿ˜บโœจ

It seems to me, this would be a good size for the smallest window catio a person might want to go. It could also be much bigger than this. This one on our blog post Building Your Cat A Window Catio For Less Than $100 is 21โ€ x 72โ€ and looks like a small to medium size enclosure.

Check out this stunning window catio crafted by The Cattopia! It’s a cozy spot for a solo cat, and although it’s on the smaller side, there’s still plenty of room for our fluffy friend to stand up, stretch, spin around, and take a catnap. ๐ŸชŸ๐Ÿพ

Although this Instagram photo does not mention exact dimensions, the builder did say the cost is $1,200.

You’ve got some seriously high-rise window catios out there that can fit a dynamic duo, a trio, or even a fab foursome of feline pals. It’s all about how much room you’ve got and what your wallet’s willing to dish out. ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Take a peek at Window Catio Creations โ€“ they’ve got this fantastic double-decker window setup that’s so awesome, they can’t resist flaunting it on Instagram. And honestly, who can blame them? It’s the cat’s pajamas! ๐Ÿฑ๐ŸชŸ๐ŸŒŸ

This mint green is pretty fantastic; I love how they have a cat tree right in the middle too.

There are several things to take into consideration when determining the size of your catio.

Answering these questions can be a good way to put together the ideal size for you and your cats.

I put together this table for you to refer to after you read this post. It can be a useful directory in obtaining all the catio information you need, plus more.


Considerations When Determining The Size Of Your Catio

  • How Much Space You Have
  • How Many Cats
  • City or Building Code Requirements
  • Landlord or HOA Limitation
  • Budget
  • Weight Restrictions
  • DIY or Hiring a Builder
  • Sun Exposure
  • Water and Electricity Hook-Ups

How Much Space You Have

Assess Your Space for Pawsome Catio Plans

Alright, let’s tackle the big question: How much room do you have? ๐Ÿ“


Figuring this out is like the first step in your catio adventure, but it can be trickier than it seems. When you’re gearing up to create a cat-tastic outdoor space, you need to get the lowdown on your available area. And don’t just think about the basic measurements โ€“ we’re talking height, width, and length. Oh, and don’t forget about any sneaky angles that might steal some prime catio real estate! ๐Ÿ“

So, whip out your measuring tape and take stock of your space. It might not be a straightforward task, but it’s essential. Once you’ve got all your measurements down, it’ll be a breeze as you set off on your journey to construct the ultimate outdoor cat haven. ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ Your feline friend will thank you! ๐Ÿพ #CatioSpace #CatEnclosures #FelineFun

How Many Cats

How many cats will you have? I believe a 2โ€™x4โ€™ enclosure is the smallest I would go for one average sized kitty cat, or two small cats. Determine your minimum space per cat, then multiply by the number of cats it will hold to get the dimensions of a one floor catio.

If you are going to build a vertical one and have a few floors with cat shelves as seating you will be able to use the length of your catio as your height.

In this case, you will want to use total sq ft to get an estimate of how much space you need per kitty cat.

City or Building Code Requirements

If you know my Kritter Kondo story, you know the reason I was motivated to design outdoor cat enclosures for my fur babies had to do with building code restrictions.

Every city is different so be sure to look into the requirements specific to your area.

The last thing you want to do is get started on building and get a hefty fine for going outside the guidelines your city has implemented.

Even worse, they make you take it down, after all the work you put into building it!

Your city or building codes might only allow for certain size enclosures, and that could greatly impact the size of your catio!

Landlord or HOA Limitations

Know Your Space: Catio Rules & Regs

Now, let’s chat about another piece of the puzzle: your lease or association paperwork. ๐Ÿ“

If you’re renting or living in a community with some rules, you’ll want to give those papers a good look. And if you’re a homeowner, your homeowner association paperwork is where the deets are spelled out โ€“ what’s a green light for building and what’s a no-go.

But here’s the twist: these rules might not match up with your city’s building requirements. So, it’s essential to dig in and read every line about structures in your yard or on the side of your home. You want to stay on the safe side of both your local regulations and your lease or association guidelines. Double-checking is the name of the game when it comes to creating a feline paradise! ๐Ÿก๐Ÿฑ #CatioRules #CatEnclosures #FelineFun

If you rent an apartment or home, chances are you will be limited to a balcony catio or outdoor enclosure especially if you live in a building.

Something like netting can be wrapped around your balcony to keep your kitty from jumping out (especially baby kittens, they can be a handful!)

RELEVANT: Everything You Need To Know About Calico Cats

If you rent a home from someone, you will want to check your lease and also do a little research on city codes. Your landlord might have overlooked something like a catio in your lease guidelines so be sure to do your own research too.


Purr-fecting Your Purr-fect Paradise on a Budget

Now, let’s get real about the money stuff โ€“ your budget. ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Before you dive into the world of shopping and construction, it’s wise to set some financial boundaries. Having a budget in place helps you steer clear of unexpected spending surprises along the way.

You’ll want to figure out how much dough you’re willing to drop on materials, any help you might need from the pros, and those little extras that tend to sneak in. Plus, it’s a pretty awesome goal to work toward if you need to do a bit of saving before your feline dream space becomes a reality.

So, grab a pen, do the math, and get that budget rolling. Your kitty’s paradise awaits, and we’re all about keeping it fabulous without breaking the bank! ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ›’๐Ÿ˜บ #CatioBudget #CatEnclosures #FelineFun

Weight Restrictions

Weight restrictions are especially important for balcony catio designs and enclosures along the side of your home, with no ground support. Make sure your walls, balconies and any other flooring or ground structure will be able to support all the kitties, the catio and and other pressure (like snow) the catio design might need to support.

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DIY or Hire A Builder

If you are hiring a builder, the size outdoor cat enclosure you choose might be bigger than if you build a DIY catio with a kit or standard plans you buy. A builder might be able to offer catio design ideas that are custom to your liking whereas DIY plans are standard sizes and designs.

Sun Exposure

So, why do we folks build these amazing catios, you ask? It’s all about giving our beloved furballs a secure spot to savor the great outdoors โ€“ the sun, the breeze, and all that kitty goodness! โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿพ

Now, before you go all-in on designing your catio, think about your fur baby’s sunbathing preferences. Will they be able to bask in those sun puddles? But here’s the twist: you might not want them soaking up that sunshine all day long.

Placement is key, my friend. You’ll need to ponder where to put your catio to strike that perfect balance. And if you’re considering adding some shade canopies, that could affect the height and space required.

It’s all about creating a comfy outdoor haven for your feline pals, complete with their own set of sun and shade options. Talk about living the dream! ๐Ÿก๐Ÿ˜ธ #Catios #FelineHaven #OutdoorSpace

Water or Electricity Hook-Ups

This might not be a big consideration, but it is important enough I wanted to include it. If you want to put a water fountain (that needs a plug-in), lights, or anything else that needs electricity or water you may want to position the catio near an energy source. This could effect the space you have to work with.

FAQs for How Big Should a Catio Be?

How important is vertical space in a catio for my feline friend’s well-being?

For designing with cat shelf ideas, check out our suggested reading list:

Cat Shelves With Feeding Stations: The Perfect Place To Feed Your Kitty Cat

How Biophilia Designing Can Improve Your Petโ€™s Well-Being

Floating Cat Shelves: Elevating Your Felineโ€™s Comfort And Style!

Wall Furniture For Cats

Cat Window Perch Ideas Your Cat Will Obsess Over

Ideas For Cat Shelves

Rock Your Catโ€™s World: Curved Cat Shelves

The Prettiest Macrame Cat Hammocks I Have Ever Seen


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    Cats are natural climbers and love exploring vertical spaces. Incorporating shelves, ramps, and climbing structures in your catio design can provide mental stimulation and exercise. Learn more about why vertical space matters and how to maximize it for your cat’s enrichment.

    Is a window box a suitable option for a catio, or should I go for a larger custom catio?

    Window boxes are a great way to introduce your cat to the outdoors safely, especially if space is limited. However, the size of the catio matters for your cat’s comfort and happiness. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of window boxes versus custom catios, helping you determine the best option based on your cat’s needs and available space.

    How can I ensure my catio is appropriately designed to cater to my cat’s behavior?

    Cat behavior is influenced by their environment. When designing a catio, it’s essential to consider their natural instincts, like scratching, climbing, and exploring. Discover expert tips on incorporating scratching posts, hiding spots, and play areas within the catio. Learn how a well-designed catio can positively impact your cat’s behavior and overall well-being.

    Remember, when building a catio, always prioritize cat safety, and create a space that allows them to engage with the outdoors while keeping potential hazards at bay.

    The Last Purr: Summary

    When it comes to catio design, you’ve got a wide array of ideas under the outdoor cat enclosure umbrella. Several factors will influence the size of your catio, and one of the key determinants is the style you’re aiming for. Are you considering a small DIY catio, a window-based catio, hiring a professional catio builder, or opting for pre-made catio plans? Your choice among these will significantly impact the dimensions of your catio.

    In addition to style, it’s crucial to factor in the space available to you and to check for any local building code regulations. These aspects should be addressed before you settle on your catio’s dimensions.

    RELEVANT: Why Do Cats Purr?

    The smallest catio I would want would be a 2โ€™x4โ€™ and this would likely be an outdoor cat enclosure or a window unit. From that minimum, the sky is the limit!

    Catio design ideas include tunnels, enclosures, window enclosures, patio and balcony catios, attached to the home and of course free-standing catios.

    Until next time,

    Head butts and purrs!

    Why Is Kritter Kommunity Your Trusted Pet Partner?

    Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC. She has a tuxedo male adult cat currently and she has had him since he was a baby kitten; so Lisa knows well the kitten lifecycle, the teenage cat lifecycle and the adult cat lifecycle (he is currently 11 years old). Prior to her cat Finnegan, Lisa had two FIV positive cats for a decade. They inspired Lisa to invent a cat enclosure so they could safely sit outside and enjoy fresh air and sunshine. She brought the product to market and eventually designed a line of portable catios; they sold on Amazon, Skymall Catalogue, Wayfair and countless other websites. Her experience being a cat parent coupled with her business development and product management experience make her a trusted cat enthusiast partner. She and Finnegan (her cat) test, research and review pet products to give readers the best feedback possible.


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