Kritter Kondos Outdoor Cat Enclosures, Catios, and Pet Furniture

Building a Cat Enclosure: Tips and Tricks for a Safe and Secure Catio [2023]


Building a Cat Enclosure: Tips and Tricks for a Safe and Secure Catio [2023]


If you’re a cat lover, you’ve probably heard of a catio – an outdoor cat enclosure that provides your furry friend with a safe and stimulating environment. Building a catio can be a fun and rewarding project, but there are some important steps you should take before getting started.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the 10 essential steps you should consider before building your first catio. From obtaining permits to introducing your kitty to their new mini-mansion, we’ll cover everything you need to know to create a safe and enjoyable outdoor space for your feline friend. So, whether you’re a seasoned DIY-er or a first-time builder, read on to learn how to create the perfect catio for your furry companion.



If you are considering building a catio, you may need to obtain permits before starting the construction process. The following subsections will guide you through the process of obtaining permits for your catio.

Homeowner Associations and Condo Associations

Before starting the construction process, it is important to check with your homeowner association or condo association to see if they have any regulations regarding catios. If you live in a community with an association, you will need to obtain written permission before building your catio.

City Permits

Most cities require permits for the construction of catios. It is important to research the specific requirements for your city before beginning the construction process. You can easily find this information by searching for “home building permits” on Google along with your city’s name.

Landlord Permission

If you are a renter, you will need to obtain permission from your landlord before building a catio. Make sure to include this step in your planning process.

Neighbor’s Blessing

If you plan on building a large catio that may impact your neighbor’s property, it is important to get their approval beforehand. This can help prevent any potential conflicts in the future.

By following these steps and obtaining the necessary permits, you can ensure that your catio construction process goes smoothly and without any legal issues.

If you plan to go full out meow mansion with a bridge scaling five tall trees, you might also want to get your neighbor’s blessing.



When building a catio, it’s important to have a budget in mind. Start by determining the amount you can afford to invest in the project. Keep in mind any costs associated with permits and fees from your associations.

Once you have a budget in mind, you can start looking for materials that fit within your price range. Cedar is a popular choice for catios because of its durability and resistance to insects. However, pressure-treated wood can also be a budget-friendly option.

When it comes to the design of your catio, there are many options to choose from. DIY catios can be as low as $79.00, while more elaborate designs can cost over $5,000.00. Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration and ideas, with galleries featuring everything from catio windows to skyways.

By setting a budget and choosing materials and designs that fit within that budget, you can create a catio that both you and your feline friends will love.

There are all types of catios to choose from. Depending on your situation and any limitations you have, finding one that suits you and your felines will be fun! Pinterest is one of the best social media platforms for browsing cat enclosure galleries. You’ll be able to find everything from catio windows to skyways!



Cat Carpenter or DIY

If you’re handy with tools and want to save money, building your own catio may be the way to go. is an excellent resource for DIY enthusiasts. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Choose a design: has a variety of free catio plans to choose from, including wooden and PVC pipe designs. You can also customize your own design using their diagrams.
  2. Gather materials: Depending on your design, you may need PVC pipes, wire mesh, netting, galvanized welded wire, and wire fencing. You’ll also need a PVC cutter and PVC connectors for a PVC pipe design.
  3. Build the frame: Follow your chosen design and construct the frame using the materials you gathered.
  4. Add the roof: offers roof options such as wire mesh or polycarbonate weatherproof roof.
  5. Install door placement: Choose a location for the door and install it accordingly.
  6. Consider adjustable catio height: If you want to adjust the height of your catio, you can use PVC pipe and connectors to create a telescoping design.
  7. Add finishing touches: Once the catio is complete, add any additional features such as shelves, ramps, or scratching posts.

Remember to consult your local building codes and obtain any necessary permits before beginning construction. With a little effort and some help from, you can build a safe and secure outdoor space for your feline friend. has tips and tricks, blueprints, robust catio gallery and more. This library of cat enclsoure tips can be a great reference for you as you begin!


Research Catio Carpenters

When it comes to finding the perfect catio builder, references are key. If you don’t have any friends or neighbors who have had a catio built, you can turn to social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook. Simply search for your town’s name and the word “catio” to find local builders.

It’s recommended to look for builders who specialize in catios, but you can also check with general contractors. To make your search easier, we’ve compiled a list of carpenters who have experience building catios:

RELATED: Clever Cat Catio Builders Directory 

Remember to ask for references and to check their portfolio before hiring a carpenter. With the right builder, you’ll have a catio that both you and your furry friend will love.


Catio Builder Comparison

When it comes to building a catio, it is important to find a builder who understands cats. A catio is not just a simple screened-in porch, and there are many factors to consider in its design and construction. This is why it is crucial to do a side-by-side comparison of catio builders in your area.

When looking for a catio builder, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider the price, quality, and availability of the builder. Also, ask for a contract to review and check their references. However, the most important factor is finding a builder who understands felines.

One popular and professional catio builder who understands cats is Dave Murphy, also known as The Cat Carpenter. Dave has extensive knowledge of cats and what they like, and he combines this with his love of carpentry and woodworking to create unique, custom-built catios. He takes great pride in the quality of his construction, using sturdy and durable materials to ensure that your catio will last for many years.

In summary, finding a catio builder who understands cats is crucial for the success of your catio project. Consider the price, quality, and availability of the builder, but prioritize finding someone who has extensive knowledge of felines. The Cat Carpenter is a great choice for those in the Austin, TX area, but be sure to do your research and find a builder who is the right fit for you and your furry friends.

A very popular builder who understands cats and builds catios professionally is Dave Murphy, from The Cat Carpenter.

“There are plenty of good carpenters, but most don’t know anything about cats.  And people who really know cats often aren’t that handy when it comes to woodworking.  That’s where I come in – I combine my love of carpentry and woodworking with an extensive knowledge of cats and what they like.  Each catio project I build is one of a kind, custom created for each unique setting.  I do all the work myself and take great pride in the quality of my construction, using sturdy durable materials so that your catio will last for many years.”

-The Cat Carpenter



Congratulations on deciding to build a catio for your feline friend! Now that you have chosen a builder, it’s time to schedule the project. The Cat Carpenter recommends setting aside a weekend for the construction process.

Your feline’s mini-mansion can be put together in a weekend!

The Cat Carpenter’s pre-project work at his workshop ensures that the construction process only takes two days. With the lumber pre-cut and the perches pre-built, the actual assembly of the catio is a breeze.

Now you need to schedule it!

To ensure the safety of your furry friend, it’s important to schedule the construction process at a time when your cat can be kept indoors. This will prevent them from wandering into the construction area and potentially getting injured. Additionally, make sure to choose a time when the weather is mild and construction can be done comfortably.

With these considerations in mind, you’re ready to schedule your catio construction weekend. Your feline friend will soon have their own mini-mansion to enjoy the great outdoors while staying safe and secure.

The Cat Carpenter explained that a lot of his work is done at his workshop. He literally builds the perches and cuts the lumber ahead of time. This is such a perk because your home does not need to be under construction for all of the labor. Since Dave does so much pre-project work at his shop, building your catio only takes two days!

Now you need to schedule it!

Fluffy will be curious but maybe not enough to help.


Catio Furniture

When it comes to creating a comfortable and safe outdoor space for your feline friend, the furniture you choose can make all the difference. Incorporating sturdy, wide perches at various heights that are easily accessible is key to your kitty’s kingdom. Pressure treated lumber is a great option for all structural framing as it is durable and holds up well in different weather conditions.

If you have a screened-in porch or patio-style design, you may want to consider additional pieces of furniture for your cat’s catio. You can even add your own seating setup to make it a cozy spot for both you and your furry friend. When selecting furniture, keep in mind the weather conditions in your area. If there isn’t protection from wind, consider very durable and waterproof materials.

In addition to perches, you may want to add a warm little cubby for your cat to snuggle in during the colder months. Pop up tents are also a great lightweight option that can be easily moved around.

When designing your catio furniture, keep in mind the importance of vertical space and activity. Incorporating shelves, tunnels, cat trees, and scratching posts can provide your cat with exercise and enrichment. Adding cat-safe plants and a water bowl can also help create a calming and natural environment.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the cedar shelves and IKEA shelf catios created by The Cat Carpenter. Don’t forget to include a cat door for easy access and an outdoor litter box for convenience.

Overall, creating a comfortable and stimulating outdoor space for your cat can provide them with fresh air and a safe place to explore. With the right furniture and design, your cat’s catio can become their favorite spot to relax and play.

RELATED: Cat Window perches

“I use pressure treated lumber for all the structural framing. It is very durable and hold up well in the weather. I try to incorporate a lot of sturdy, wide perches at various heights that are easily accessible.”

-The Cat Carpenter

This finished enclosure is from Dave’s gallery. You can see a nice long skyway and inside the catio, plenty of perches!

If you have a screened in porch or patio style design, you will probably want to get some additional pieces of furniture. In fact, you might even have your own seating set-up!

Anything can be added to your kitty’s space that works for your habitat. If there isn’t protection from wind, you might consider very durable and water-proof material. If there is a storm and you leave your furniture out, the wind could blow the rain in.

Your kitty might want to be in her catio in the Fall or even watch the snow from her safe haven. If this is the case, a warm little cubby for her to snuggle in would be a great add to her outdoor sanctuary.

Pop up tents are easy peasy and lightweight enough for moving around.

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Interior Design

Now that you have some cat furniture picked out, it is time to design your perfect new catio!

Simple cat friendly plants for a stunning look.

Interior Design

Make your catio beautiful and functional with these interior design tips:

  • Add a window box for your cat to lounge in the sun.
  • Install a window catio for your cat to enjoy fresh air and outdoor views.
  • Use outdoor carpet to create a cozy and comfortable space for your cat.
  • Combine a window box and catio for the ultimate cat paradise.

Accessorize your catio with outdoor throw pillows for a pop of color and comfort. Use cat-friendly plants and flowers to create a stunning look that your cat will love.

Accessorize your cat’s sanctuary with outdoor throw pillows!


Introduce Kitty Cats

You crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s, now it is time for the big reveal! Drum roll…………….

Congratulations! You have built a beautiful catio for your furry friend. Now it’s time to introduce your cat to their new outdoor haven.

First, make sure your cat is comfortable and relaxed. Bring them outside on a leash and let them explore the catio at their own pace.


If your cat is hesitant to explore their new outdoor space, try attracting them with toys or treats. Spend time in the catio with your cat, showing them how much you enjoy the space.

For shy cats, create a cozy oasis in the catio with a comfortable bed, toys, and treats. This will help your cat feel safe and secure in their new environment.

If your cat is an indoor cat, it may take some time for them to get used to being outside. Start by introducing them to the catio for short periods of time and gradually increase their outdoor time.

Remember, every cat is different and may take some time to adjust to their new surroundings. Be patient and give your cat the time they need to feel comfortable in their new outdoor sanctuary.

Tips for Introducing Your Cat to Their New Catio
Bring your cat outside on a leash
Show your cat how much you enjoy the catio
Create a cozy oasis for shy cats
Start with short outdoor visits for indoor cats
Be patient and give your cat time to adjust

With these tips, you and your furry friend can enjoy the great outdoors together in your new catio.

Hopefully your kitty will dash right into his new habitat. He’s been waiting patiently for this day. He knew all the hammering and sawdust the past 48 hours were all for his comfort and amusement, after all isn’t everything you do for him?

But what if you have a shy kitty?

Or worse, one who acts aloof, uninterested or even put off? In the very unlikely event this happens, I suggest introducing him by attraction. Show him how much you like it by hanging out in the catio. Set-up a chair or bench and chill. Everywhere you go he goes, so it will only be a matter of time.



You have created the perfect catio for your furry friend, and now it’s time to capture the beauty of the space and your cat. Taking great photos and sharing them on social media platforms is an excellent way to showcase your catio and inspire other cat lovers to create their own.

Here are some tips for capturing stunning photos of your cat in their catio:

  • Use natural light: The best time to take photos is during the day when there is plenty of natural light. Avoid using flash as it can cause red-eye and make your cat uncomfortable.
  • Get down to their level: To capture your cat’s perspective, get down to their level and take photos from their eye level.
  • Use interesting angles: Experiment with different angles and perspectives to capture unique and eye-catching photos.
  • Include the catio design: Showcase the catio’s design by including features like perches, tunnels, and plants in your photos.
  • Capture their personality: Try to capture your cat’s unique personality and behavior in your photos. Whether they are lounging in the sun or playing with a toy, these moments make for great photos.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to capture stunning photos of your cat and their catio. So grab your camera and get snapping!

Concluding Thoughts

Building a catio can be an exciting project, but it can also be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to help you along the way. From choosing the right materials to finding the perfect furniture, here are some articles and videos to guide you:

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

This Company Is Devoted To Building Catio Cat Enclosures

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

Cat Approved Portable Catios Of 2023

A video that might help too!

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🐾 Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC! 🏡 She’s got a dapper tuxedo cat who’s been her sidekick since he was a tiny furball. 🐱 Before Finnegan came along, Lisa cared for two FIV-positive cats for over ten years! 🌟 Their love inspired her to create a cat enclosure and a portable catio, giving kitties the purrfect spot to bask in the sun and feel the breeze. ☀️🌿

As a kid, Lisa shared her home with a Poodle and a chirpy parakeet! 🐩🐦

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