I know weve all heard of a patio, but what about a catio?
As you may have surmised from the punny name, a catio is an outdoor enclosure for you guessed it cats.
If youre a cat owner, youre probably already sick of the familiar debate: should you keep your cat inside or let your cat go out?
Its a tricky question because there are good arguments for both sides of the issue.
On the one hand, cats need to hunt, explore, play, and exercise as much as any other pet or wild animal. On the other, a cat that roams free runs a high risk of getting sick, injured, or even killed from outside hazards.
Whats a responsible pet owner to do?
Fortunately, creative cat lovers have started developing clever solutions to the problem, like this awesome cat castle that helps to recreate the outdoors world inside the house.
Catios take the trend one step further, by creating a space thats technically outside, but still affords kitties all the protection and comfort of being inside!
Scroll through the gallery below to check out a few of our favorites, and learn how to make your very own!
One of the foremost authorities on the subject of catios is a company called, fittingly, Catio Spaces.
Operating out of Seattle, they create bespoke catios that are custom-designed to fit the needs of specific cats and their people.
Their mission? To keepyour cat safe andhappy in an outdoorenclosurethat visually complements your home.
The catios they make come in different shapes and sizes, much like the kitties that they protect!
Some are away from the house and extra-large to accommodate more than one cat in the backyard.
They might even have space for a human visitor or two to stop by!
Others are narrow and elevated, built right up against the side of the house.
These are often built with all kinds of climbing structures and catwalks (pun intended!) inside to entertain active cats thatlove running around.
These elevated cat walks may also be elevated near greenery, so that the cats can stalk birds and squirrels, and satisfy their natural hunting instinct.
Some catios are very simple with an easy layout and design.
One popular design is essentially a small crate that emerges from the window, and can be installed just like an air-conditioning unit.
In fact, while you could have one of these commissioned, theyre so basic that a handy human with the right tools even posted a DIY tutorial on the online image sharing site Imgur, complete with her own cat, Munchkin.
The Imgur user explains that she started her project using galvanized wiremesh fencing, with 1″ x 1″ squares.
She also usedlow-voltage fiber staples thatare insulated and designed to hold wire in place.
For the bottom piece of her catio, she used a plain, smooth piece of wood to use as a shelf.
With those three ingredients, this loving cat owner created a three-sided enclosure that’s well on its way to becoming the perfect catio.
The remaining open side will be left open, while the three mesh walls will protect the cat, but still allow her to enjoy the outdoors.
The wooden shelf can be padded with a blanket or pillow, and will provide a sturdy support for the lightweight Munchkin to perch.
Borrowing from air-conditioning units, this thoughtful cat owner designed a clever way to distribute the weight of the enclosure.
Instead of hanging the catio from the windowsill, she installed simple white brackets on the wooden floor of the catio, whichextend up the sides.
These are screwed into the inside of the window frame, putting the weight on the wall and frame of the house, and ensuring that the catio will stay stable, even if Munchkin jumps in and out repeatedly.
The last step is a clear wall of plexiglass, with an ordinary cat door fitted into the panel.
This will be the final piece of the catio, separating the outdoor-cats-only space from the inside of the house.
The cat flap will allow Munchkin the kitty to hop in and out of the space just as she would through a normal cat door.
Here’s a look at the finished catio from the outside in.
You can see that it’s fitted into the open window just like an A/C unit, and was finished with wooden panels to add to the security of the setup.
The flap can be locked or unlocked from the inside and outside, so the cat can mostly come and go as she pleases, but can be kept in at nighttime or during bad weather.
Best of all, the poster notes that while her lifelong indoor cat Munchkin was a little bit nervous about the outside at first, she now loves her catio.
She’ll go out for an hour or two at a time, usually to enjoy the sun or to keep an eye on passing birds.
They even installed a bird feeder right next to the catio, so that the sweet kitty can really enjoy the outdoors!
If you love this idea, make sure to check out the DIY section of Catio Spaces for more tutorial ideas. And don’t forget toSHARE this cool concept with friends on Facebook!
Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/clever-catios-cat-care/