What if you could keep your indoor cat super safe while allowing them access to the wonders of the backyard? You can! With a catio (a cat patio), you can create opportunities for your cat to use all of their senses while ensuring they aren’t at risk of illness, injury, or getting lost. 

There are a variety of ways to build a catio, but one thing is for sure: your cat will be fur-ever grateful!

Indoor-Only Cats 

With fewer chances to get lost, experience altercations with other cats or large dogs, get hit by motor vehicles, or simply pick up parasites, it’s hard to argue with the fact that indoor-only cats live longer, healthier lives. But not much is said about how happy they are about their longevity. Indeed, if it were up to them, some indoor cats might decide to check out what lies beyond the threshold.  

Feline Enrichment

Many indoor cats happily accept our attempts at environmental enrichment. Others remain ever-ready to dart out of an open door, climb window screens, and meow relentlessly to go outside.

Opting to build a catio is a compromise of sorts for cats and their owners. It gives cats the chance to experience the best of the outdoors without the risks. A catio provides mental and physical stimulation, all while keeping Kitty safe. 

Catio Design

There are so many catio designs to choose from, or be inspired by. Whether you want to build something right off a ground floor window, or put an enclosure in the center of your yard (that you carry your cat to), you are only limited by your imagination! 

Before you build a catio, take into account the following:

  • Materials – Sturdy, non-toxic building supplies are critical to the success of your catio design. Untreated wood, metal, fencing, wire, and certain plastics can create a strong foundation. Are you going to leave the bottom alone, and allow for grass or concrete to create the floor? Or will you soften the flooring with carpet, AstroTurf, wood planks, or simply dirt?
  • Protection – You want to make sure your cat cannot get out of the catio, of course, but you also want to limit predators from getting in. This may play into how well you protect the floor area, but it’s essential that any door ways or windows cannot be broken. Carefully choose what kind of roofing to use. Being sure that your cat has some shelter from the sun is critical. The location of your catio should be somewhat protected from sun and wind. 
  • Elements – Include ramps, hammocks, tunnels, shelves, scratching posts, water fountain, litterbox, and even a comfy cushion for them to sit on. Be extra nice and create a little hiding spot where they can watch the world go by.

Build a Catio Today

You might decide to play bird feeders or bird baths near the catio to give your cat some entertainment. 

Despite being protected from various threats while inside their catio, your cat should still receive their parasite prevention medicine, and be fully up to date on their vaccinations. Microchipping your cat is also a necessity. 

If you have any questions about feline behavior or wellness, we’re always here for you at Redwood Veterinary Hospital.