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brown-spotted cat on house patio
brown-spotted cat on house patio

Everything You Need to Know about Building a Catio

Catios — or patios for cats — are spaces where cats can safely enjoy the great outdoors. And the good news is that there are lots of ways to build a catio! Your approach mostly depends on how much space you have and what you think your cat would like best. Let’s talk about types of catios and explore the elements that make for a successful one.

Types of Catios

Window Catio
This is the best option if you live in an apartment or small home that doesn’t have a ton of space. Think of a window catio as an enclosed structure that attaches to the outside of an existing window. The best part about this kind of catio is definitely the view. 

Balcony Catio
If you live in a space with a balcony, you may want to consider turning it into an outdoor oasis for you and your cat to share. Just make sure the catio is secure before surprising your cat with their new playground.

Porch Catio
If you’re lucky enough to have a fully screened-in porch, this kind of catio will take next to no effort. All you have to do is open the door, let your cat slip out — and voilà.

Stand-alone Catio
If you truly want to treat your cat, you can build an independent structure for them to enjoy. This option is obviously the most involved, but a perfect choice for someone with plenty of space.

two cats playground

How to Build a Catio Your Cat Will Love

Platforms, Perches and Posts
If you want your catio to bring out your indoor cat’s natural instincts, provide plenty of climbing structures and scratching posts. You could even hang toys for your cat to bat at and cover the floors with old carpet to provide a safe space to scratch. These items will stimulate your cat and help them burn off some energy through exercise.

Lounge Areas and Litter Boxes
If you think your cat may spend much of their day in the catio, you may also want to include spots for them to rest as well as a dedicated space for a litter box. And don’t forget food and water bowls, too!

Natural Materials
When furnishing the catio, you may want to include natural materials like grass, woodchips and stones to add to the outdoorsy ambiance. You can even add a few cat-safe potted plants, like areca palms, spider plants, Boston ferns … and catnip.

Scenic Views and Spots
Remember, the point of a catio is for your cat to experience nature safely. So be sure to offer plenty of views from the catio. Ideally, the space will have both sunny and shady spots so your cat can choose where to lounge. You might even consider placing a bird bath or feeder near the catio to engage your cat as they enjoy the space.

When building your catio, be sure to tailor it to your cat, and don’t be afraid to get creative. Trust us; your cat will thank you.

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