Cat owners love their pets, and they are ready to go above and beyond to ensure their happiness. Over thirty million American homes have cats according to data from the American Veterinary Medical Association, and more and more of those homes are building DIY catios to help their cats get more out of life.
What is a Catio?
A catio or cat patio is an outdoor enclosure, a totally safe space for the cat to roam around and experience a little of what life is like for outdoor animals. They are typically screened in, without a way for the cat to escape. This means your pets can see other animals and smell the outdoors, without being in danger from predators.
If you're thinking that patios for cats are a good idea, check out these tips about what to include in your DIY catio.
Incorporate Different Textures
Help your cats love every minute of their time outside. Incorporate as many different textures into their enclosure as possible.
Including a riverbed of small rocks or gravel in cat patios is a wonderful way to add a new texture. You don't have to make it a water feature. Just leave the stones dry in a river shape, and it will be a wonderful space for your cats to explore.
Make sure the rocks aren't too small or the cats may see them as a litterbox. Instead, use smooth river stones at least an inch in diameter to build this feature.
Another texture you can add is smooth wooden planks. Add a wooden bridge for your cats to walk on.
You can build it over the river rocks to complete the aesthetic. They'll love the smooth texture of the wood, especially when the sun falls on it and they can nap on the warm bridge.
Be sure to include rope or woven fabrics like hemp or wicker. These can be in many different venues, from toys to hammocks. Cats may be curious to bite the rope or scratch the wicker, however they can experience this new texture.
Prickly textures are important for cats, too. Use false grass or outdoor carpet to achieve a pokier texture for the kitties to explore.
Finally, be sure to include some soft textures for the cats to investigate. Even the pickiest of cats who won't eat wet food will be able to find a texture they love when you fill your catio with all different experiences.
Size Is Everything with Patios for Cats
Be sure that you're building a catio that is large enough for your cats. As a loving pet owner, you're no stranger to adjusting things at home for your pets. The same is true for your catio: you have to have the right square footage for your number of pets.
A catio is a great space for cats, especially house cats who can't go outside but love to experience the outdoors. Yet if it's too small, it will feel constricting, or they may get territorial with other cats. A good rule of thumb for deciding how large to make your catio is that for each cat, you should have at least 6 square feet of floor space, with a height of 6 feet as well.
Comfort and Curiosity
Cats want to inspect every nook and cranny. Their curiosity is a key component of their personalities and helping them maintain that zest for life is part of building your catio. Be sure you include many perches and hammocks so that they can watch the world around them and experience nature safely.
They also need to feel comfortable in their new space. Provide plenty of hidey-holes and houses for your cats to rest in. They may not choose to nap there, but having a small, dark enclosure to go in when they want to hide will help them get the most out of their space.
Traditionally, cats love dark, secluded spots. Besides the houses, you may choose to add in some tunnels for your kitties. They can be a terrific way for the cats to access the space if it doesn't about your home, or you may choose to add tunnels inside the enclosure. Either way, these cat patio ideas will help you slake your kitties' thirst for adventure and comfort.
Pets' Health and Well Being
Part of the reason you're building an enclosure for your cats is that safety is important for your felines. Just as they keep you healthy, you want to guard their health, too.
You know they want to experience the outdoors, but predators can get them when you let them out, or they can pick up diseases. Be sure your cats are vaccinated before you let them out on the catio.
There are other ways to keep them safe as well. Use building materials and paint that is safe for cats. Be sure you include plenty of shade. While cats love to nap in the sun, if the day gets hot, they need a place to go for relief from the heat.
Check into which plants are poisonous for cats. In any outside space for cats, you'll want to incorporate some plants to make it feel like the real outdoors, but some plants aren't healthy for cats if they ingest them. Have a list ahead of time so that you can keep your feline friends protected.
Get Some Help
If this feels like an overwhelming project for you, don't stress it. Sometimes it's best to let the experts help you out. You don't have to start from scratch.
Use a kit to build your catio if you don't feel you're creative enough to build one on your own. They'll take care of the different textures, the size and measurements, cat comfort, and feline safety.
When you order a whole kit, it comes with all the materials you need and extensive instructions to help you put it together. Some companies may even include installation as an option if you aren't sure about putting it together yourself. You can get the peace of mind that comes with a catio and skip the extensive construction process when you get the experts to help you install it.
Building patios for cats is a fun way to make your favorite felines comfortable at home and satisfy their curiosity. If you incorporate all the considerations above, they'll love to spend time in their enclosure experiencing the outdoors safely.
If you're serious about keeping your pets safe, be sure you check out our balanced recipes for happy grown-up cats. The right food can keep your cats healthy and strong as they investigate their new catio.