catioAs devoted feline fanciers, we may go to great lengths to keep our furry friends happy, active, and purring. We provide excellent nutrition, complete wellness care, and offer plenty of daily affection to these incredible pet companions. In fact, many cat lovers have made the choice to keep their cats indoors – knowing that it is safer and ultimately healthier for them.

But as you might imagine, the life of an indoor cat can become lacking. Just take a look at Fluffy’s obsession with gazing out the window at all of those (tasty) birds. Given their ancestry,  it’s not surprising that cats want to be outdoors. So how can you offer some time in nature while keeping your cat (and the bird population) protected?

Why, the catio! Of course!

Catio Basics

A catio – much like it sounds – is essentially a screened in enclosure that allows cats to be outside, while safe from other animals, escape, and the elements. A catio can be made of a wide variety of materials, although most relying on good quality wood and metal screening small enough to keep kitty in and other critters out.

There are several types of catios ranging from small window box type enclosure to mobile kennels that can be moved easily to screened-in porches attached to an area of the home. For creative ideas, simply do a Google search or peruse some of the cool designs on Pinterest.

Some questions to ask yourself before you build a catio are:

  • How much am I willing to spend? Do I want a collapsible catio or am I willing to create a permanently affixed enclosure, such as an actual screened in patio?
  • Am I equipped to design and build the catio myself, or should I look into prepackaged kits that come with materials and instructions?
  • What kind of permits or permissions might I need from a landlord or city?
  • Do I plan on spending time in the catio with my cat?
  • What items do I want to include in my catio?

Why Build a Catio?

While a catio may seems like an extravagant undertaking, it’s well worth the effort in the benefits it provides indoor cats. Some of these include…

  • Offering more opportunities for exercise
  • Providing mental and behavioral enrichment (your cat can perform all of those instinctive behaviors so needed for wellbeing)
  • Giving your cat “a room of his own” for hiding, napping, playing, and watching the world go by
  • Increasing your cat’s daily intake of vitamin D and fresh air
  • Keeps songbirds and other wildlife protected
  • Redirects a cat who is prone to escape by allowing him to enjoy the outdoors while being enclosed

We hope you will consider building a catio for your whiskered friend – your pet will love it! And if you do build a catio, The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital would love to see your photos. Simply post them to our Facebook page or bring some cell snapshots along when your pet comes in for his next appointment.