Cat Enclosures and ‘Catios’
If your cat isn’t into harness life but you want them to enjoy the great outdoors, you can create a protected outdoor space. Cat enclosures and ‘catios’ can offer the best of both worlds: your cat gets to go outside, but in a protected environment.
There are lots of options, all with the common goal of keeping cats contained while allowing them access to the outdoors. We don’t recommend any particular style or brand, but we hope to make it easier for you to keep your cat safe!
Cat-only catios, tents or enclosures can be small and inexpensive to buy or build, fitting in an otherwise unused space. Or cats and people can share a space created by screening in an existing porch or building a new addition to your home. There are pre-made kits, designs for sale, totally DIY options, or you can hire a contractor. How you provide access for your cat can also vary – a window or door, a wall cut, directly through a tunnel, or you can carry your cat out to a free-standing structure.
Habitat Haven (Toronto, Ontario), Catscape (Brentwood Bay, B.C.) and Hellas Pet Enclosures (Edmonton, AB) offer a variety of solutions, from ‘catios’ to dens to larger enclosures. There are also some relatively inexpensive ‘kitty run’ options from TSC Pets or Kritter Kondos. Of course, you can also build your own!
Additional enrichment possibilities include ramps, cat trees, cat-safe plants, rocks, climbing apparatus, driftwood, scratching posts, fountains and perches. A litter box is optional, but if you intend to leave your cat in the catio for any length of time, it’s a good idea to provide one, as well as water.
Fencing is also an option. There are several varieties of cat-proof fencing available. While fencing won’t entirely prevent birds or wildlife from coming on your property, it will limit your cat’s territory and thus their hunting opportunities. And of course fences keep your cat safe from cars and most other outdoor dangers! See a handy list of suppliers below.
Download our Safe Outdoor Options resource here.
Click here to see the pre-made chicken coops that are easily adapted for cats available from Home Hardware.
This blog has some great tips for building one of your own out of wire-cube storage units.
This pet-resistant screen comes highly recommended and is great for use in a catio. It’s strong enough to withstand kitty’s claws, and too small for birds to squeeze through.
Here’s a video by the good folks at Cuteness.com on how to make an inexpensive catio out of Ikea shelves:
And here’s a selection of photos sent in by our community:
And there are lots of videos on YouTube, with a huge variety of budgets, designs and approaches. Check them out here.
Useful resources and links:
Canadian Catio Experts
Catio Kits & Elements (doors, towers, tunnels, etc)
Tents & Portable Enclosures
Plans for Sale
Plans for Free