Happy National Catio Day!

March 15th is a special day for Fluffy: it’s National Catio Day! A number of our feline patients have their own catios or cat enclosures. In this article, a veterinarian provides some insights on creating a private space for Fluffy.

What Are Kitty Catios?

Cat + patio = catio. The concept is to provide Fluffy with a secure area that incorporates certain aspects of the natural environment. Your cute pet will have a cozy but secure spot to enjoy her favorite activities, which include napping, observing birds and squirrels (and occasionally making clicking noises), basking in the sunlight, practicing mindfulness, and playfully assessing your every move.

Many felines love their catios! Fluffy definitely appreciates having a space where she can experience a touch of nature and a pleasant view.

Where Should I Put My Catio?

Anywhere you would like! A screened-in porch or patio is a purrfect spot, but these are far from the only options. You can also use a sun room, spare room, loft, or even a bright corner!

Why Are Catios Beneficial For Fluffy? 

The primary advantage? Purr activation! Catios can go a long way toward keeping Fluffy happy and healthy.

Remember, there’s no need to surrender the space. Your furry friend won’t be bothered if you have some cozy furniture arranged for yourself. She’ll probably use that as well!

What Exactly Does One Put On A Catio?

Given the chance, Fluffy would probably request wraparound cat shelves, kitty walks, cat wheels, and a stocked aviary and fishpond. Fortunately, you don’t have to go to such extremes. We do recommend offering a cozy window seat. A cat tower is, of course, a purrfect option, though you of course may not want to place a carpet-covered tower where it could get rained on.

Birdwatching, as we all know, is a very popular kitty activity. Fluffy would be thrilled if you put a bird feeder within her view. We would only suggest this option if your cat is kept indoors, though. Otherwise, you might unintentionally be attracting the unfortunate birds to a dangerous fate!

Don’t forget the toys! You can opt for sturdy ones, such as swimming fish toys, automated laser pointers, and similar products.

A kitty fountain is also a good option.

If your patio is separate from the rest of the house, you might want to think about installing a cat door for Fluffy. This way, she can freely come and go from her catio whenever she pleases. There are pet doors available that are compatible with specific microchips. These will only open for your kitty. This offers an extra layer of security.

Should I Keep My Feline Buddy Indoors?

Cats love rolling in driveways, leaving pawprint tracks on freshly washed cars, and occasionally bringing home deceased animals as gifts for their humans. Unfortunately, these activities can expose Fluffy to serious dangers, such as weather, traffic, wild animals, parasites, chemicals, and even other cats. Overall, kitties that are allowed out are much more likely to get lost, hurt, or even killed than those who stay inside.

In addition, if your cat is not fixed, she may also have offspring. (Note: if your furball hasn’t been fixed yet, we recommend getting this done ASAP. With pet overpopulation being a major issue, this really is the right thing to do.)

In addition, it’s important to mention that keeping your cute pet inside also contributes to the protection of local wildlife. Our feline buddies are responsible for the deaths of billions of small animals annually. Given the current state of many species, it’s crucial for each of us to contribute in any way possible to their well-being.

What Is A Kitty Enclosure?

Cat enclosures are typically set up outside the house. Fluffy remains shielded from potential predators with the help of a protective barrier, typically made of mesh, chicken wire, screens, or similar materials.

You can set up an enclosure for your pet without making any major modifications to your home. Many people use windows for access points, which allows kitties to come and go as they please.

When it comes to creating an enclosure, there are a few important factors to keep in mind.

  • You’ll need to have level ground and potentially a foundation. At the very least, you’ll probably want to even out the area a little with some gravel.
  • Have fun with decorating! This place is perfect for outdoor rugs!
  • Fluffy will need some form of roof or covering.
  • Remember to keep up with Fluffy’s parasite prevention! Unfortunately, a cat enclosure doesn’t provide much (or any) protection against fleas, ticks, or mosquitos. (This applies to all cats, including those who live indoors.)
  • For fencing or mesh, choose a product made from galvanized or vinyl-coated wire.
  • If snakes are present in your area, you may need to take extra precautions to prevent them from entering your space.
  • You may want a setup that allows you to easily open and close your pet’s access way. That way you can allow Fluffy to freely move in and out when the weather is pleasant, but keep her safely indoors at night or in inclement weather. One option is a pet door you can install in a window.

 Consult with a veterinarian to learn more about cat enclosures.

What Are Some Safe Plants I Can Put On A Catio?

Every catio needs some greenery! Fluffy loves to peek out from behind green leaves. Some options include Spider plants, Bromeliads, Money Tree plants, Rubber Tree plants, Cast Iron plants, Rattlesnake plants, Prayer plants, and the Calathea Zebra plant. You can also go for several types of ferns, such as the Boston fern, Bird’s Nest fern, and Kimberly Queen fern. Want flowers? Consider going for an African violet. Several types of orchids, hibiscuses, roses, and impatiens are also safe for pets. If you enjoy cooking, consider incorporating some culinary herbs, such as rosemary, basil, and thyme. If you’re interested in getting some potted trees, you might consider Areca palms, Ponytail palms, and Parlor palms. For more information, you can visit the ASPCA website here.

Remember to prioritize Fluffy’s safety when arranging plants. It’s best to place large and heavy pots on the floor. Be cautious when placing items on unstable stands. Your cat may accidentally knock over a plant if she attempts to chew or play with a dangling leaf.

It’s also crucial to be aware of what should be excluded. Lilies are deadly to cats. That includes all types of lilies, including Peace lily, Asiatic lily, Day lily, Japanese Show lily, Rubrum lily, Tiger lily, and Wood lily, as well as various hybrids. Tulips, daffodils, eucalyptus, Devil’s Ivy (also known as pothos), taro vine, golden pothos, oleanders, and philodendrons are also unsafe. If you’re unsure about the safety of something, it’s always better to be cautious and choose an alternative option.

Conclusion: Your furry little friend will absolutely love having a catio! This offers your cat a spot where she can bask in the warm sunlight and observe birds and squirrels, all while staying secure and protected.

Please contact us for questions and concerns about your kitty’s health or care. As your animal clinic, we’re here to help! 

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