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How to Build Your Own Catio

Orange cat sitting with paws crossed
A catio is a patio or enclosure designed specifically for cats. They are extremely versatile as they can be large or small, enclosed entirely outside or attached to your home, and accessible in a variety of ways. If you’re ready to build your own catio for your cat to enjoy, these are the things you’ll want to consider before and after you get started.
Choose the type of catio you want to build
There are many different types of catios, typically dictated by their location. This means the first step to building your own is to decide where it should go. This will depend on the architecture of your home, available space, as well as the location you think would be best suited for your cat or cats. For many homeowners, a good option is the window box catio — a simple enclosure that attaches to a window of your house. One advantage of this catio is that it’s easy to detach and reattach elsewhere if you move. If you live in an apartment, the balcony catio is even simpler and more affordable. Other types of pet enclosures to consider are freestanding catios and wired cubed wall catios.
Consider these location factors
When choosing the location for your catio, there are multiple factors to evaluate. The first is the most important: how will the cat access the catio? The answer can be as simple as a window or a door. However, cat doors are also an option (one both aesthetic and practical), as are cat tunnels if you prefer to build the catio further away from your home. Another factor is the size. Don’t forget that cats love vertical spaces, so even if you don’t have a lot of room to build outward, making your catio tall can go a long way! Finally, two more important factors are sunlight and stimulation. Cats love a mixture of shade and sun, as well as something interesting to look at, so it’s important that their catio gets a lot of sunshine and faces nature or an area with lots of activity.
Assess catio building materials
As your catio will be outdoors, it should be built with sturdy materials that can withstand the seasons. Weather-graded lumber like redwood and cedar are both durable and resistant to pests. To enclose the structure, you’ll also need strong screening or fencing that keeps your cats in and other animals out. Vinyl-coated wire or 16-gauge, galvanized welding wire are recommended for the walls. For the roof, use a wire mesh or a clear polycarbonate cover. As for the flooring material, you have lots of options. You can leave the existing grass in grounded catios, or add bricks, decking materials, or pavers to prevent muddy paws tracking dirt into your home. For suspended catios, tight-knot cedar is a good option, or exterior grade plywood covered in outdoor carpet. This also works for creating shelves and platforms inside the catio.
Add accessories and enrichment
Once your catio is built, it’s time to furnish it! To start, place a water bowl or water fountain in the catio — but avoid placing food that might attract rodents or other animals. Add scratching posts and cat toys to provide enrichment for your pet. Your cat will also be grateful to have high perches, places to hide, tunnels, easily accessible shade, and non-toxic plants to munch on. Get creative with decoration and have fun! Depending on where your catio is located, its design can be just as enriching for you as for your furry loved one.
Building a catio is an excellent way to provide a safe, comfortable, and stimulating space for your cats. And because they come in various shapes and sizes and can be built in various different locations, you can have a lot of fun getting creative with their designs!
This article is presented by Avery Greene Honda.
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