Cats are the loveliest curious creatures that like to roam, explore and chase. Many people decide on keeping their pets strictly indoors, but letting them outside is a dream come true for every cat. Although cats easily get used to living inside, there are great benefits to keeping them outdoors every once in a while, starting with breathing the fresh air to alleviating stress and providing extra stimulation. Needless to mention, but still, less active cats have a significantly shorter lifespan. If your cat owns a human who understands the importance of spending time outdoors and wishes to improve the quality of life of its owner, then take a look at these tips and see how to transform your patio into a new and safe playground for your kitten.
First, let’s talk about the size
Not all of the cat owners own a patio. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a catio. Catio is an enclosed outdoor space, no matter how small, where your kitten can take pleasure in sunbathing, playing in fresh air or chasing flies. Unless you have a mature lion at home, don’t bother with king size catio, since a small portion of your porch or even a window will do the trick. Cats are experts at enjoying themselves in any given space, so as long as they fit, rest assured they will have tremendous pleasure of simply stepping outside. Also, when designing a patio on a small surface, think more about building up, rather than wide. Sometimes, taller structures can be a lot more fun, since they like to climb.
Finding the right place
Perhaps the right place for your cat is the only outdoor place you have, but make sure to plan strategically. Choose a part of the patio, deck or balcony that won’t get in a way of your daily routine or that won’t block the high-traffic area. Your cat will need an easy access to the playground, so make sure to attach the catio structure to a doggy door or a window. You can build a freestanding catio in your yard with access through a tunnel. Where ever you put it, know that your cat will love it and that you’ll be seeing them only when they are hungry enough to step inside the house.
Think about materials
Catio needs to be escape-proof, not only to keep your cat inside but to keep uninvited guests out. Avoid chicken wire and opt for the rust-free welded wire. If you prefer covered catio, use corrugated panels or polycarbonate roofing material. The roof will prevent the cat from getting outside, while it will serve as a protection from the bad weather. Floors allow a variety of choices including grass, wood chips or just about any other flooring that you already have.
Although they enjoy the warmth and lying in the sun, long exposure to direct sunlight can be quite dangerous and cause skin cancer. Light fur cats, especially those with white fur, are at higher risk of skin cancer since their fur cannot block the harmful sun rays. You can always use some of the SPF products for cats, but the best way to protect your pet is to provide enough shade. Build a small bench or shelves inside the patio, where your cat can sit and hide from the sun. Also, consider covering a part of the patio with a shade cloth.
You can place a litter box inside a catio, only make sure to keep it in a place where wind or rain won’t make a mess inside a catio. Get an open litter box, and if you don’t like the look of it, place it behind some cat furniture, or behind the plants. Even though catio is outside, remember that cats are extremely sensitive to smells, so make sure to clean it regularly. Fresh air will not neutralize odors that come from their toilet.
Just like when your cat is inside, ensure your cat has enough of fresh water nearby. It is most likely that your cat will be thirstier outside than it usually is. Keep your feline roommate hydrated at all times, and always make sure there is enough water when you are leaving home. Keep in mind that, sometimes, cat doors can accidentally close. In that case, it is best to have an automated water bowl that you can connect to the garden tap.
Decorate catio according to cats taste
To keep your cat entertained, include some of the typical cat furniture that they love so much. Build some shelves where they can climb or nap and throw in a scratch post. Hang their toys and consider throwing in a cat tree or a tower. If your cat is no longer a kitten and has a lot of trouble climbing on a bench, get a pet ramp, a piece of furniture that is extremely helpful to older or disabled cats.
Creating a catio, whether buying one or building it yourself is a small investment that will provide a safe and inspiring outdoor experience for your pet. Improve the quality of life of your furry friends and keep them active, happy and healthy. Allow them to express their true nature by letting them sense the outer world, yet still keeping them safe. Purring out of satisfaction will be rewarding enough.