Learn how to Build a Catio for your feline friends, and let them enjoy the outdoors safely!
Whether you DIY, or let a handyman handle it for you, Catios are a fun way to let your cats lie in the sun and watch the birdies, without worrying about the dangers of your urban environment. Your furry pals will be safe from disease, cars, or predators, and the local wildlife will be safe from them.
Catios are a win/win for everyone, and they’re a fun project to take on as the weekends grow warmer and longer.
Step 1: Where to Build a Catio
The location of your catio is very important. Does it provide enough shade? Will your cats be properly stimulated by the surroundings? Will this be a standalone structure that your cats will need to be carried into, or will it provide access to your home?
Another concern is whether the ground will be level where you build it. Flat ground will be much easier than trying to compensate for an uneven floor. We recommend that you build on an already existing deck or porch.
Step 2: Gather Your Materials
A typical catio requires:
- a floor
- wood shelving for platforms
- a roof
The bulk of the catio structure is made of wire attached to a wooden or metal frame. The wire should be strong and sturdy enough to withstand the curiosity of a cat, but still thin enough to be easy to install. Utility Fencing is a good option.
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If you build your catio on your deck or porch, then you don’t need to worry about a floor — it’s built-in. Otherwise, you need a good, flat floor to enclose the structure and make things safer for your kitty.
Platforms will provide your cat with ways to jump and run around, and also good high places to snooze or bird-watch.
The roof should be solid to keep out rain and other debris. The type of roof you choose depends on your own skill (or access to skilled handymen 😉 ). You can use regular roof shingles, like the kind that your own home uses, or polycarbonate corrugated roofing panels.
Step 3: Build!
We’re not going to go in-depth with regards to the various catio construction techniques here, but only provide a rough guide.
Catio Spaces is a website dedicated to detailed catio plans, and can give you the nitty gritty details for each catio design. We think you need to know this, though: don’t skimp on the materials , design, or time. This is a fun DIY activity to use your intimate knowledge of your cat’s personality to build a unique, bespoke outdoor experience for them. Don’t build a catio yourself if it’s just to save money. Only plan to build if you plan to build it well.
Step 4: Accessorize
Like we said: this is a uniquely built space for your uniquely built cat. Make sure you fill the space with all of your cat’s favorite toys. Think big: the catio will provide the room for unique features that aren’t feasible indoors.
You may also want to include a litterbox, but avoid putting food bowls outside: they may attract critters you don’t want getting inside.