CatioFor many of us, cats are family. They are wonderful company, beautiful, and seemingly independent. We want to keep our cats safe, but for some of us it’s difficult to deprive our cats of the outdoors, especially if they are sitting at the door looking out and yowling.

So, what’s the solution? The outdoor cat enclosure, popularly known as the catio!

A catio could be the perfect solution to many dilemmas concerning cats, safety, and the outdoors. The team at Vaughn Road Veterinary Clinic gives you some of the reasons you need a catio or outdoor haven for your cat, as well as some ideas for different options.

Why a Catio?

Why not just let your cat outside, if they want to go out? Cat safety is a common problem, of course. But there are many good reasons for creating a catio as an option as well:

  • Protect your cat from injury, accidental poisoning, and other outdoor dangers
  • Reduce veterinary bills from cat fights and other injuries
  • Protect birds and wildlife from your cat’s hunting
  • Create better neighbor relations by keeping your cat out of their gardens and yards
  • Keep your cat fit and healthy with outdoor activity/exercise
  • Give your cat mental stimulation and outdoor enrichment – safely
  • Reduce household cat conflicts by adding territory
  • Keep litter box odors outdoors

Outdoor Spaces for Cats

Okay, now that we have given you some great reasons for an outdoor enclosure, let’s look at some options, from the least expensive and involved to more elaborate structures.

Temporary enclosures – These are typically made of mesh netting and include many different shapes, such as an outdoor tunnel or a teepee. These enclosures for your cat are portable, flexible, and inexpensive. You just need to be there to supervise, as they probably aren’t coyote-proof and certainly would not be pleasant in a sudden rainstorm!

Window boxes – There are many kits on the market for adding an outdoor window box to casement style windows. These offer a bit more stability and form, and are designed to be permanent additions to your home.

Permanent outdoor enclosure, aka Catio – A permanent outdoor enclosure can come as a complete kit, or you can build a DIY enclosure, with or without access to the indoors. These larger enclosures, aka catios, typically are large enough for humans to enjoy along with their cats. They usually have a door for people access, as well as a way for cats to access it at their leisure.

Catios can include perches, ramps, ladders, hanging toys, and the all-important litter box. There’s no end to the creativity you can put into these spaces and the enrichment your cat can enjoy.

Our goal is to work with you to keep your cat healthy and happy, and we think that a catio is a great compromise for those cats who just have to be outside. Let us know what you think, too. Give us a call if you have any thoughts or questions about outdoor spaces for cats.