Cats naturally want to be outdoors where they can experience fresh air, exercise and the enrichment of the sights, sounds and movement of nature. Unfortunately, there are many outdoor dangers cats can encounter.
If your indoor cat clamors to be outside, or you worry about the safety of your outdoor cat, a catio may be the purrfect solution to keep your cat safe, healthy and happy.
Catios are a popular trend in feline enrichment and safety. A catio is a cat enclosure, or “cat patio” for a window, porch, patio, deck or yard that is available in a variety of sizes. Cats can access a catio through a cat door installed in a window, wall or door. From small and simple, to large and luxurious, catios offer many benefits for feline family members.
Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, here are the top ten reasons to have a catio:
1) Protect Your Cat
A free-roaming outdoor cat can be exposed to injury from vehicles, predators such as dogs, coyotes or raccoons, or chased up a tree. Other dangers include poisons such as antifreeze or pesticides, exposure to parasites, getting lost, or locked in a neighbor’s garage. A cat that enjoys nature from within a catio space is safe from outdoor hazards.
2) Reduce Vet Bills
Vet bills incurred from catfights, injury from other animals or diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), Feline Leukemia Virus Infection (FeLV), and rabies can be transferred to your cat through contact with infected cats or wildlife. A catio can help reduce or eliminate vet bills and stress from injury to your cat.
3) Protect Birds and Wildlife
Nature Communications published a study in 2013 that estimated over 2.4 billion birds are killed every year by free-roaming cats. While it’s true that un-owned (feral) cats kill more birds than our pets, who wants to risk having their precious fur ball add to the problem?
4) Reduce the Free-Roaming Cat Population
Preventing your cat from roaming freely reduces the number of wandering cats in your neighborhood by at least one. If your cat is an unneutered male, he could be adding to the unwanted litters left to fend for themselves outdoors. A catio, along with spaying or neutering, can help reduce the free-roaming cat population in your community.
5) Provide a Healthy Outdoor Lifestyle
Indoor cats can spend hours near a window seeking the warmth of the sun, staring at passers-by, or yearning for a little freedom. A catio can offer them a protected space to enjoy fresh air while exercising, watching birds and other wildlife, and lounging. It’s a great way to provide daily enrichment for your cat and a safe outdoor experience.
6) Reduce Indoor Multi-Cat Issues
Cats are solitary hunters and territorial by nature. While your cat may learn to share indoor space with another cat, they likely still enjoy some time to themselves. A catio is an attractive way to add more territory and stimulation to help reduce conflicts and behavioral problems with other pets in your household.
7) Promote Human and Feline Bonding Outdoors
A catio can be built large enough to accommodate a chair, lounge or reading bench for you. There’s nothing better than having a cat on your lap, bonding time and a cat nap! (Nature and fresh air are good for humans too.) Quality time spent together outside the confines of a home can help strengthen your cat’s bond with you.
8) Help Reduce Indoor Odors
Adding a litter box in a catio provides another beneficial option if you have one or more cats. It also helps reduce the amount of odor-producing waste in your home however an outdoor litter box should never replace your indoor litter box. The rule of thumb is one litter box per cat plus one.
9) Good Neighbor Relations
Not everyone likes cats. Even if your neighbors like cats, they may not want them using their garden or yard as a litter box. If they are cat guardians, territorial conflicts can arise between felines causing vet bills, stress or strained relationships. A catio not only ensures a cat stays in your own yard, it might even become a conversation starter!
10) Peace of Mind
A catio eliminates the worry of wondering if your outdoor cat is safe and, for indoor cat guardians, eliminates the guilt of confining your cat indoors instead of accommodating a cat’s natural desire to be outdoors. A catio can provide peace of mind knowing your cat is always in a safe and protected environment while enjoying the wind in their whiskers.
Catios are available in a variety of designs and sizes to complement your home and garden. Learn more about catios with Free Catio Tips from Catio Spaces, including cat safe plants, location considerations, and how to acclimate your cat to a cat door. Various DIY catio plans are also available that you can build yourself or hire a local carpenter to build the plan for you.
Life is good in a catio!