When Building Catios Is Not An Option [2021 Updated]

do cats like outdoor cat enclosures?

When Building Catios Is Not An Option [2021 Updated]


Catios are undoubtedly one of the best ways you can provide your kitty cat a quality life safely. This post is all about when building catios is not an option.

What Is A Catio?

A catio is an large outdoor cat enclosure that provides your cat safety and enrichment outdoors. It tends to be bigger than a portable cat enclosure and is usually attached to the cat owner’s home. There are a variety of catios available today including window catios, large catios, DIY catios and catios with walkways.

Rather than being an outdoor cat, your feline can live indoors, but enjoy the great outdoors. The idea is that your patio literally becomes your kitty cat’s safe haven in the sun and fresh air.

Catios have come a long way since they started to become more and more popular. A traditional style one is attached to the cat owner’s home, offering an easy way to get in and out of the cat sanctuary. The catio is enclosed with chicken coup wire (or another material similar in nature) that provides ventilation to the great outdoors, but keeps the kitty inside where it is safer and secure.

Catios equal fresh air and sunshine for an indoor cat.


Are Catios Good For Cats?

Yes, catios are an ideal solution for domestic cats to enjoy outside time safely. Since felines are at high risk of suffering from injury, illness or even death when they are out roaming the wild or the city streets, a catio is a great alternative. An outdoor pen gives cats the chance to have access to wildlife without harming birds and other small animals.

RELEVANT: Window Catio

Many bird watchers are also concerned with cats roaming freely because birds tend to be a feline’s favorite prey. Having a catio can be a way to keep the natural habitat safe as well as the cat herself.

There are many ways a feline can be injured roaming around outside:

  • Getting hit by a car
  • Fighting with another cat
  • Encountering a wild animal
  • Encountering an animal abuser
  • Drinking or eating poisonous substances
  • Getting stuck in a dangerous situation and unable to get out

By having a catio or an outdoor cat enclosure, your cat can enjoy the sunshine and cool breezes outside, while watching the birds, butterflies and other interesting elements.

Catios can be filled with cat furniture, such as scratchers, toys and hammocks. Using outdoor furniture to lounge around and do feline stuffs makes your cat feel right at home. If your catio is going to be exposed to direct sunlight in certain spots, having furniture that is designed for protection against sun damage will be important.

The cat furniture should also be outdoor friendly. Plastic is a good material that can stand up against rain and wind rather well. Wicker rattan is another good option when picking out catio furniture, and a patch of artificial grass can be super fun for your kitty!

Here are a list of catios on the internet that have all the right elements to keeping a feline safe, happy and entertained while enjoying some outside time.

Country Living Magazine

Catios Custom Catios in California

Los Angeles Magazine Catios

Catios in Seattle Washington

 Do You Need Permission From The City For Planning And Building?

Yes. If you are building a catio in your backyard that is bigger than an average porch, and if it will have a walkway, you will probably need a builders permit. The height of your catio and how far out from your home it extends will also be important factors.

Depending on the area and city you live in, you might need to meet certain code restrictions before building your catio. It is important to check on your city or town’s website for their residential building requirements. You may live in an area that requires a permit or only wants certain materials used etc. This is especially important to do if you plan on building a big catio with tunnels and bridges. You can check with a catio builder in your area who will be able to help you with this and help you build it too!

Check out our post with a listing of catio builders that can help you with your catio planning, designing, questions, permitting and building.

What If Building A Catio Is Not An Option?

If you cannot build a catio due to financial restrictions or code challenges with your city, you might consider having a portable outdoor cat enclosure for your yard. A window catio is also a good alternative to a full blown cat house. Our post, How To Build A Window Catio For Less Than $100 offers a step by step guide with video and plans.

So what if you are not in a house? What if you are in an apartment, condo or townhome? Many people are faced with this obstacle, not to mention, many homeowners have code restrictions that can make it very difficult to add onto the existing home.

Fortunately there are options to the perfect catio so your feline can also enjoy fresh air and sunshine when building a cat sanctuary is not an option.

Unlike traditional catios that require building and design work, a portable catio is designed to be put up and taken down easily, without any assembly.

Are Outdoor Cat Enclosures Safe?

There are many outdoor cat enclosures on the market today. Being sure your new portable catio is sturdy is one big priority when picking out the perfect enclosure. There have been reports of flimsy cat enclosures that have blown down while the cat was inside.

Yes, outdoor cat enclosures are safe for you to use while you are with your feline. An important guideline, the most important one, is to never leave your pet alone. Even if your cat is securely hanging out and feels comfortable, you do not want to leave your pet alone in any enclosure. It is too easy for a predator to quietly come upon your cat while you are not close by. Always stay close to your pets when they are in any kind of enclosure. This will make her time in an outdoor house very safe!

RELATED: How Big Should A Catio Be?

The Kritter Kondo is a one-piece frame that sets up in minutes. It is ideal for yards, patios (so in a sense, it is a catio) decks and for travelers who take their feline buddies on the road.

Outdoor Cat Enclosure

Especially cat friendly is the fact that the doors come off the Kritter Kondo so you can connect them together and make a cat run.


If you are unable to build your own catio, the Kritter Kondo is an excellent option. Kritter Kondo Catios can also be used as indoor cat houses for numerous purposes including but not limited to, a safe haven during the holidays, a cat enclosure for separation when introducing felines for the first time and as a kitty play area for foster cats.

Catio Pro Tip: Never leave your pets outside unattended even in ANY enclosure or pet house.

Can Cats Walk On A Leash?

Yes, you can walk a cat! A cat leash and harness is another great way to get your cat out of the humdrum life of an indoor only feline and honor her attraction to being outside. Not only is walking your kitty cat a great way to expose her to sunshine and fresh air, the exercise will do you both good.

Cat Leash and Harness

Training your kitty on a leash should be a top priority when you get your new harness. Try putting the harness on inside and literally walking her around your home first. Once she is used to the harness, take baby steps to slowly introduce her to leaving your home. If your cat is used to being inside where it is quiet, the fast past environment outside could scare her, so slow and steady is always best when introducing a feline to something new.

Cat Leash Pro Tip: Give your cat treats after every training walk and praise her for the great job she did!

Other Options

Coyote Roller

If you have a yard, but cannot add on a catio to your home, a coyote roller might be exactly what you can use to keep out predators while offering your cat time to be outside.

The coyote roller is an especially good option for folks who already have a fence.

The roller is installed right on top of the fence, and is animal friendly because the coyotes and predators who could normally jump the fence, are now challenged with a roll bar that prevents them from using the fence as their step stool.

Backyard Cat Lounging Pro Tip: Even though the coyote roller is known to be extremely effective keeping coyotes out of your yard, please be aware that hawks and large birds might view your cat as prey. Staying outside with your cat is important even with a coyote roller.

Concluding Thoughts

If your cat seems to be curious about going outside, or rushes the doorway every time you open it to try and catch some time outside, she might want to have a catio! If a catio is not an option, there are several alternatives such as portable enclosures, leash walking and fencing around your backyard. It is not recommended you leave your cat unattended outside ever. These solutions will act as your aid and give you with alternatives to only indoor window watching.

Additional Catio Information

Purrfect Pots For Catios: A Guide To Choosing The Right Material

This Company Is Devoted To Building Outdoor Cat Enclosures, Tunnels And Catios In Portland, OR

Should A Catio Have Litter Box?

How Big Should A Catio Be?

10 Tips For Choosing The Best Cat Enclosure Furniture For Your Catio

When Building Catios Is Not An Option [2021 Updated]

Building Your Cat A Catio For Less Than $100

10 Steps To Building A Catio

Catio Builders Directory

Your First Catio: 10 Essential Steps To Success

Everything You Need To Know About Outdoor Cat Tunnels In 2023

The Essential Directory For Jaw-Dropping Window Catio Kits

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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