Catios can be various sizes, depending on how much space and money you have available for construction. If you have an enclosed sunroom, they work very well as the base for a catio.
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Here are a few basic points to keep in mind when beginning a catio project:
Ensure the catio is fully enclosed so the cats can’t get out and predators can’t get in. If using screen, make sure it’s secure so it won’t pull away from the frame, and made of material the cats can’t put holes in with their claws. Once your cat begins using his catio space, check the screen on a regular basis to ensure there aren’t any holes or screen detaching from the base.
Make the View Enjoyable
Provide a good view of the outdoors and be sure there’s good ventilation. Create steps using ladders and chairs to give different heights (include a high perch or two) and on/off ramps so cats can get around the space easily.
Control the Catio Climate
Depending on the climate in your area, you may need a fan in the summer and small heater in winter. Cats are curious, so keep safety in mind to ensure your cat won’t be injured by fan blades or a too hot heater.
Keep Catio Fun!
Keep the catio interesting and fun so your cat enjoys time there. Include plenty of toys for your cat to play with and rotate them regularly (cats tend to get bored with the same toys over time.). Include features your cat enjoys like scratching posts, shelves to climb on, cat tree, maybe even a small tree or cat safe plants
Remember the Essentials
Include a litter box and fresh water to drink. If your cat enjoys drinking from a water fountain, put one on the catio. It will enhance the “outdoor experience” with the sound of the running water.
Keep It Comfortable
Make it comfortable for you to spend time on the catio too. Include comfortable seating so you and your cat can spend time together on the catio.
As I mentioned above, if you have a screened sunroom, that space is a great basis for a cation. Keep the tips above in mind when outfitting the space to maximize your cat’s enjoyment.
For DIY builders, consider purchasing a building plan from catiospaces.com. They offer plans for those wanting a DIY option, or they can also build for you.
If you’re looking for inspiration, Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin’s book Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and you) contains pictures of actual catio projects from around the country, along with some hacks to create a catio you and your feline friend will love!
Have you created a catio for your cat? If so, please comment and share a picture of the space, we’d love to see it!