No matter where you live in the world, chances are, someone is arguing about whether or not cats should be confined to the indoors, allowed to roam freely, or purr-haps some fine medium in between the two vastly different lifestyles.
Some will insist that the only way for a cat to stay safe and live the longest life possible is to stay indoors, where there is no real concern of your precious pet being injured by vehicles and wild predators. As well, they cannot potentially terrorize or devastate the local ecosystem by killing native species that are vital.
Others will argue that it's in a cat's instinct to explore the outdoors, to roll in the grass, and to hunt pests. So, what is a human to do?
Consider the latest trend that has been picking up momentum the last few years: Catios. It's a Cat Patio! An outdoor enclosure for your cat to enjoy the good life and stay safe at the same time? It's a win-win!
Sometimes, cats being free-to-roam is a good thing, so much so that in the UK they are intentionally breeding wildcats to reintroduce into the wild. Cats can be invaluable to maintaining pest control as often as they might devastate a local ecosystem. Balance is key!
But if you live in an area where it's bets to keep your cats safe and close to home, catios really are the purr-fect blending of outdoor life and indoor comfort.
People like Dennis Gallagher are becoming notorious for their catio building skills, while companies like Catio Spaces have spent the last 6 years filling in a clearly appreciated marketing demographic by helping provide catios designs to those who cannot figure it out themselves.
Some families have even gone viral when their self-built outdoor cat enclosures stunned the Internet, like this Canadian family who loved their cats dearly, and built this absolutely epic catio-treehouse!
Seattle-based business Catio Spaces has created downloadable designs that are easy to build using basic materials and can be installed next to a window, on a deck, or in a backyard. The company was founded by Cynthia Chomos, a "passionate cat lover," who started the company to "address the need for safe and visually appealing outdoor enclosures to enhance the lives of cats."
Places to climb, explore, sunbathe, lounge, and play!
There is a never-ending supply of ins-purr-ation when it comes to creating the catio of your dreams, or your cat's dreams.
Day or night, there's a chance your cat pines for the outdoors. But some areas are ripe with wild predators like coyotes and mountain lions, or even enormous predatory birds, that would not hesitate to enjoy our precious pets as a tasty treat. Catios can help keep our furry feline friends safe while giving in to their need for fresh air.
Sometimes catios are like outdoor paths that surround the home, giving your cat that much more to see and do as they go about their day.
Guys, I think my cats might be spoiled...They’re not allowed to be outdoor cats, but this is the next best thing! The reason why our cats aren't allowed outside is because we live in an area with foxes and coyotes, so predators are a real concern. We're also by a semi-busy road, so cars pose a problem, too. We only set up the tent/tunnel system when we're around and can keep an eye on things; the cats are never left out there unattended.
The inspiration behind Catio Spaces is my tabby cat, Serena, who I adopted after the loss of my beloved 22-year-old cat. Being a nature lover, I wanted her to enjoy the stimulation of the outdoors while protected from a variety of outdoor hazards. I transformed my backyard patio into a catio and created a space we could both enjoy with a water fountain, seating, shelves and cat safe plants.
While lounging in it one day with Serena curled up on my lap, I had a flash of inspiration to start Catio Spaces and combine my feng shui expertise and love of design, nature and cats. One thing led to another (Serena has 4 catios and is my “quality assurance” expert), and I design custom catios, DIY catio plans and help cat parents from all over the world solve their indoor/outdoor dilemma.
Cynthia was also delighted to share details about just how much Catio Spaces offers consumers looking for the purr-fect catio:
Thousands of our award-winning DIY Catio Plans have been built by cat parents seeking outdoor safety and enrichment for their cats. We offer a variety of designs and sizes for a window, deck, patio or yard that are easy to follow and fun to build. From small and simple to large and luxurious, there’s a catio to fit any home and garden. Our most popular plans are the Sanctuary and Haven that allow easy access through a cat door installed in a window, wall or door. Catio Spaces donates 10% of plan purchases to animal and bird welfare organizations.
British Columbia based "Beautiful World Living Enclosures," has been creating safe outdoor spaces or a wide-variety of animals since 2009. They describe their pet-friendly enclosures as "fair and stimulating," but we think they're also pretty incredible and fascinating!
Cats love space, to roam, explore, and play. While a cat certainly can and will live a fulfilling life in an apartment, keeping you company and ruling their world, a cat that has an impressive catio is certainly not going to take the space for granted!
And your cat doesn't need Buckingham Palace to be happy, a smaller enclosure that awards them the fresh air they crave is just as valuable as the intricate and large catios. Catio Spaces definitely understands this.
Our gazebo is one of the popular places the cats like to hang out. C3PO is the one in the hammock. You can find him there almost every day. He knows how to make the most of his relaxation times.
Sometimes your cats need a whole grotto to themselves, too. There's no shame in that.
Catios aren't an eyesore, either. They are frequently very beautiful and well designed enclosures that we definitely find aesthetically pleasing.
The cats access the catio via the open window from our utility room (on the right). We bought a cat door installed in plexiglass that sits permanently in the window, so the cats can access the patio themselves in the Winter too. The wild grape vine grew to cover the top of the catio so that it blends in more with the rest of our gardens. Hopefully, we'll also get grapes from it some day.
If bright colors and cheerful designs are your cup of tea, run with it! Your cat won't mind.
Mark built really long tunnels along the fence that are leading to his two cat jungle gym structures. I absolutely love how high up the cats can sit in their cat jungle gym structure that even has a roof on it! Cats love sitting up high and being able to look down on things.
Don't be dismayed by all the large and extravagant catios, Catio Spaces makes smaller enclosures for the more modest minded (or modest budgeted...)
We built a catio for our cats cause we love them. Our cats love the outdoors, but we don't want to harm the songbird population.
Custom Cages prides themselves on being "the USA's largest build to order pet cage manufacturer." While they don't exclusively deal with catios, you'd be hard pressed not to find yourself approving of their awesome catio designs!
Cats Safe At Home's goal is "to humanely reduce and prevent free roaming pet, stray and feral cat populations in the Portland Metropolitan Area by integrating a range of strategies that are good for both cats and wildlife." They say:
Fewer free-roaming cats mean fewer feral cats born on our streets, and fewer cats means less predation on wildlife. Through this approach we can bring our community together toward a safer and healthier environment for both cats and wildlife.
Catio Spaces gives you a lot of creative freedom to design the catio of your dreams.
Feliz in the jungle.
Just look at how happy cats look in their catios and tell me you don't need one for your cat(s) right meow!
The continuously growing "catio trend" is definitely our cup of tea.
All we really care about is happy, healthy, safe cats!
Catio with privacy shields and some driftwood.
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