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We know cats love to roam but a trip outdoors exposes them to all kinds of dangers. To give cats a bit more breathing room, some people have created enclosed patios or "catios" that range from simple structures to elaborate home additions.
A catio can enrich your pet's life offering new ways to engage so check out these ideas to see if you want to create your own feline-friendly habitat.
Many catio designs include special features tailor-made for cats, such as climbing shelves, scratching posts, beds, hideaways, litter boxes, and even water reservoirs. Plants can also make a nice addition to an outdoor cat enclosure, but make sure that the foliage you choose isn't toxic to cats.
When it comes to designing a catio, safety should be a top concern. Consider the best material for the structural supports — wood posts, beams, metal — and how they will attach to the main building. And make sure there are no gaps to allow for your cat to escape; if you live in a rural area surrounded by wildlife, you should also ensure that no other critters can get into the catio. (Tip: If you’re not constructing your catio on a solid surface, like a cement slab or a wood deck, bury the side panels several feet below ground to prevent wildlife from digging under the walls.)
Some catios have a solid roof to keep the rain out, while others are topped with mesh roofs to create more of an open-air environment. Side panels are typically made of heavy wire mesh, providing a safe barrier that still allows for plenty of air circulation and natural light to shine in.
Finally, consider whether this will be a “cat only” space or if you’ll need seating and other amenities to accommodate people, as well. A catio can be a lovely place to spend quality time with your kitties, plus it gives them the outdoor time they crave.
Kate Benjamin is the founder and editor of Moderncat.net and CatioShowcase.com, where she tracks feline style and design trends. Benjamin lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with nine cats who happen to enjoy a pretty spacious catio.
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