Purrfecting your bond: building a catio for your cat this summer - BC SPCA
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Purrfecting your bond: building a catio for your cat this summer

June 2, 2021

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.

A catio can also be the perfect solution when you want to enjoy the sunshine with your feline friend without the fear of them falling or jumping off a high balcony or rooftop.

Such was the case for Marcie when she decided to have a catio installed from one window out to her deck to help appease her kitten, Zorro, an unexpected “pandemic” addition.

“At the time we adopted I did not know that I was going to be moving to a place which had a very large roof top deck, which was lovely but it was four stories high,” she says. “It didn’t seem fair that the dog got to hang out in the sun on the deck and I was terrified Zorro would jump off, so the only solution was a catio!”

Marcie hired local contractors who specialize in catios to help design the purrfect fit for Zorro.

“The finished product is pretty amazing,” says Marcie. “Complete with a sign that says, ‘What happens in the catio stays in the catio!’”

Zorro / Photo credit: Marcie M / catio by catiOasis

Marcie says Zorro loves his new space and spends hours in it, catching rays and watching the sun rise. “It is also great as protects him from eagles and hawks who fly by. I know the neighbouring patios are jealous.”

If contracting out a catio isn’t an option for you, then you can do what Nicole Caron did, and build your own. She recently constructed a catio for her five cats – and the results were purrfect.

Her advice for pet guardians who want to build their own catios: do your research and regularly check on its maintenance.

“Look online at pictures and decide what is the best option for you,” she says. “Each month take a walk around and look at the catio and reinforce and spots where the cat may have weakened the caging material. My cats love to rub up against the galvanized cage material and occasionally these staples will come loose and cause a gap which the cats could get out of if they wanted.”

Photo: Nicole Caron

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 to enjoy together during the warmer weather.

Photo: Marcie M. / Catio by catiOasis

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

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.

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Why you should build a catio for your cat

How to create a catio-friendly outdoor tunnel your cat will love

Decor ideas for your catio that your cat will love