How to build a catio this summer | BC SPCA
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How to build a catio this summer

June 4, 2020

Are you considering building a catio for your feline friend? Catios, or cat patios, are cat enclosures that provide enrichment, fresh air, and the stimulation of nature as well as ensures safety for your cat from the outdoors while protecting wildlife too.

No matter where you live, whether you have a backyard or a balcony, a catio is the purrfect hangout spot for you and your cat during the warmer weather. If you want to know how to build a catio but not sure where to start, here are some tips to help you get started.


Choose the purrfect location for your catio

Because a catio is an extension of your living space, you want to build it in the best spot for both your home and your cat. Here are some things to consider:

  • Space. How much space do you have? If you have a smaller space, a window catio is another good option. If you have a larger space, you might also want to consider whether you want the catio to be attached to the home or do you want it out in the yard connected by a tunnel? If you already have a deck or a patio, that’s a great place to include your catio.
  • Size. This will be determined by how much space you have available as well as how many cats will be using the space. Also think vertical because cats love to jump up and be high from the ground. Another thing to consider: do you want there to be enough room for you to bond with your cat inside of the catio?
  • Access. Your cat needs easy access to their special spot. A window catio is probably the easiest option for your cat. Additionally, cat doors can be installed in a window, door, or wall, and cat tunnels are great for those catios located in the yard.
  • Nature Stimulation. Is there enough stimulating sights and sounds from nature that will entice your cat? Are there options for sun basking and some shade? Your cat will want a little bit of both.

orange cat in catio

Next, decide on the materials you will need

You’ve decided where you’ll build your catio. Now it’s time to gather the materials. Whether you’re building a window catio or a standalone catio, you’ll save a lot of time and material by figuring out beforehand what you’ll need. Measurements and dimensions will depend on the size and style of your catio. For a basic catio, here are the typical materials you’ll need:

  • CEDAR BOARDS or PLYWOOD SHEETS for the roof and the floor of your enclosure
  • WIRE MESH stainless steel or galvanized to avoid weather damage
  • DRILL BITS slightly more narrow than screw width
  • WIRE/TIN SNIPS to cut mesh
  • CIRCULAR SAW and/or TABLE SAW to correct size


How to build your catio

Take a look at our DIY catio guides! With three different styles, you can find something that works for your individual space. DIY guides include transforming a window, patio, deck, or creating an entirely free standing structure into a kitty paradise.

catio cats

The accessories you might want to add

Now comes the fun part — it’s time to personalize your catio with your cat’s unique personality and needs. Here are some things to consider adding to your catio to ramp up the meow factor.

  • Shelves, stairs, ramps. Consider your cat’s interests and physical abilities. Do they usually like to perch and jump? Are they active? Could they use a little bit more exercise? Get creative!
  • Cat toys and scratchers. Don’t forget to include your cat’s favourite toys and scratch pads to keep them engaged and entertained.
  • Litter Box and water bowls. Including a litter box is not only convenient for your kitty but will also reduce odor from your indoor box. And don’t forget to include a water dish to keep your cat hydrated. However, avoid food to drive away unwanted wildlife.
  • Decor. Now’s the time to unleash your inner decorator and beautify the space. Consider cat-friendly plants, carpet, rugs, seating, a cozy bed, and even wall art.