Your little feline friend might have spent her entire life indoors, but a small part of her will always be drawn to the outside world. The only problem? Dangers lurk in the great outdoors. Cats who run away from home might not always be able to find their way back, risk getting run over, attacked by other animals, or kidnapped. They're also prone to hunting wildlife, including birds and squirrels, and if you haven't gotten your sweet Tabby fixed, she might end up with a few kittens of her own. Outdoor cats also face disease, parasites and more. Studies have shown that indoor kitties tend to live decades longer, but the outdoors still calls to her wild instincts and her curious nature.
Enter: catios — the hottest new home building trend that caters to domesticated cats and their concerned owners. What is a catio? In the simplest terms, it's an enclosed patio built in with cat trees, litter box modules, shelving, and more. When you are the designer, the custom options are almost endless. You can add on catios to your windows, allowing the cat to roam outside and watch the birds from a safe distance. Or, you can create a more elaborate catio with enclosed walkways or a private oasis with plants and climbing trees.
Take this one, for example, complete with a screen, several perches, and even a bench for a human visitor.
Or this one? Lined with pet-safe flowerbeds, it becomes the purr-fect oasis.
With a lounge chair, a bubbling stone fountain, and multiple ferns... we wouldn't mind staying here, ourselves.
Some catios — like this one — are connected via a small kitty door.
A catio can complement the exterior of a home — this one is screened over the windowsill for easy access.
And when your feline family grows? They are easily expanded. This one is being expanded with mesh screen wings.
Constructing Your Own Catio
First decide: What do you want out of the catio? Pre-made catios can be purchased online, or you can order catio designs and build the enclosures yourself with a handy checklist. Homebuilders in your area might also specialize in catio designs. Keep in mind that your cat is wily and determined. You will need to make sure that she can't squeeze through the fencing or dig under it. It's also a good idea to verify that you're allowed to build a catio extension on your house in your neighborhood. Finding the perfect catio design will depend on you, your cat, and your budget. Your cat will love the ability to explore and extend her territory!