Catios and Catteries and Cats – Oh My!

Catios and Catteries and Cats – Oh My!

Let’s talk about catios! Known as catteries to some, it’s basically an outdoor enclosure for your indoor-only cat.

I would love to build a giant catio for our three cats, but I don’t have the space. So instead, they’re stuck with a 4 ft x 8 ft x 6 ft wired, covered dog kennel that at least allows them some outside enjoyment (I purchased this one here). It’s set up in our back patio and pushed up against the house. The hubby cut a hole in our dining room wall (and the kennel) and installed a cat door so they can come and go as they please. I did add flooring to the kennel (constructed by myself!), so the cats would be raised off the ground in the off chance that it ever rains in Southern California.

Dexter and Olive testing out their new digs two years ago.

Sophie, who came to us at the ripe old age of six months, spends the most time in the catio, likely harkening back to her free-roaming days on the streets. She’ll stay out there late into the evening in the summer. Olive and Dexter do venture in (as evidenced above), but they are usually back inside before nightfall. (Scaredy cats!)

Why provide a catio for your cats?

Indoor-only cats still need to enjoy fresh air and sunshine and this is the perfect way to provide it. From the safety of the catio, they can bird watch, bat around a poor bug that’s found its way inside, and soak up all the rays they need. Some cat slaves owners also provide (safe!) plants and grasses for their cats to enjoy, making it feel much more like the great outdoors.

Build or Buy?

If you’re like me, you might not have the skill to build a wondrous and magical catio for your feline friends. And while you might not want to go with a dog kennel like I did, there are other pre-built catio options available. And when I say pre-built – most of them you still have to assemble, which is actually nice because many come with different configuration options. But many of these are “enclosures” and not the full blown, super fancy catios that I’ve seen built from scratch.

Take our friends at Chirpy Cats, for instance. They built their felines an amazing catio – and they have a wonderful post that talks about building your cat’s dream catio. My cats would be incredibly jealous, so I simply don’t show them the pictures. It’s not so much the structure itself that’s amazing – but it’s how they’ve spruced it up for their kitties. They have provided a garden as well as cute and fitting décor for their kitties to explore and enjoy.

Here are just a few of the pictures from Chirpy Cats that will perhaps inspire you to start thinking about building your own catio. Chirpy Cats has many more pictures on their site, so please go visit and see how cute and happy their lucky kitties are!

You can visit Jackson Galaxy’s site for more information. Best Friends Animal Society also has a good page on catios. If you are looking for general information on keeping indoor cats, you can visit Indoor Paws.

What about you? Do you have a catio? Thinking about building or buying one?

Here’s a video of Dexter and Olive in their catio – I swear, they really do like it!

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  1. I love that you did this! We have a screened porch that our cats use during the summer. It’s a people place so they lie on all the cushioned furniture. We have a buffet with a shelve. They commandeered it for sunning. I keep a large pot of cat grass and they are happy. We have the door from the house open during the summer but during the winter they will “ask” to go out there. They won’t spend as much time as they are indoor cats and not used to the cold weather for long stretches but they still enjoy it.

    1. I would also love to have a screened porch. That would be much easier to share in the “outdoors” with our kitties. I’ll admit, I did get into the “catio” once or twice with the cats, more to encourage them to go out there. But it’s a little weird sitting in a giant dog kennel! :-)

  2. Thank you for the lovely presentation of my post and catio pictures! I like the idea of direct access from the house via a cat door, like you have done. My husband is not open to making a hole in the wall, so right now our cats have access to the catio via the laundry/bathroom window, in which we have installed a temporary plexi glass covering with a small flap. Lucky the window is in just the right place and serves its purpose. But this flap is not ideal in our Montreal winters though, when I have to close it on very cold days, (today is a sunny but cold -4 F/-21 C) much to the chagrin of the ‘snow cats’, Fancy Feet, Ollie, Scout and George. If we decide to get one of these cat doors, is it a big deal to cut into the wall and does it block cold drafts? You mention that you close it in bad weather. Is it due to cold air coming inside?

    1. No, it was pretty easy for him to cut out the wall. We conveniently had the correct tools on hand. I close it when it’s raining and if the catio hasn’t been swept recently just so they don’t get too dirty. But it’s not because of cold weather (at least out here). The door we bought (on Amazon) has two thick plastic flaps, which you can see Olive trying to figure out. They are also magnetized at the bottom so they close and stay in place after the cat has walked through. Because my kitties are big babies, I actually tape up one flap (on the outside), and just leave the flap on the inside down. I also had to tape down the magnet strip because they wouldn’t push through (again, big babies). It also comes with a plastic door you can insert to “lock” the door from the outside. If you install the pet door correctly, I wouldn’t think it would be drafty. We kept the piece of wall that we cut out in case we want to repair it if we ever sell the house! :-)

  3. we built a catio years ago and my cats loved it. but with the prevalence of ticks in the area I was reluctant to let them continue using it and as it degraded we decided to tear it down. We want to build a new one, up off the ground so we don’t have to worry about parasites as much, of course by the time we get around to it I bet heartworm will be an even greater risk in our area.

    1. Ah, that’s a good point! Ticks aren’t an issue around us, but I do think about fleas outside, even though our catio isn’t by grass. I still keep them up to date on their flea treatments though to be safe!