Hi guys! This DIY is for all my fellow cat parents who want to build an outdoor space for their cats. A Catio or cat patio is the best way to allow your cats the mental enrichment of being outdoors while keeping them safe.
This is the patio I was working with. As you can see it has substantial space but is open at the top and the bottom.
Step1: Create the enclosure
My first task was to ensure safety, so closing up the open areas in the patio while still giving the cats a view of the outdoors. Since this is a rental apartment, I didn't want to do any permanent changes to the structure.
So I decided to use a dog playpen we had lying around to enclose the patio from the bottom. I used a thick nylon rope to tie the playpen to the pillars at the bottom and drilled some concrete screws into the walls near the top of the playpen to secure it to the wall with zip ties tied into the screw.
For the top, I needed something more flexible but still durable which led me to poultry netting. There are several options available for netting materials. Bird netting is the cheapest, but if your cat is an escape artist like mine, they will be able to claw their way out of it. The sturdiest option out there is poultry netting made with galvanized steel wire like this one. Also, if you use poultry netting, you will need a wire cutter to be able to cut this to size. I again used concrete screws and zip ties to secure this to the wall as well as the playpen under it. Furthermore, if you use more than a single piece of chicken wire, you can use zip ties to secure the pieces together as I have done in the images below.
Step #2: Create vertical spaces
The catio should always be a safe space for the cats. For a cat to be able to feel safe, they need vertical spaces they can escape to. If you have the option you could bring in cat wall shelves like the one below.
An easier route is using a cat tree. If you are in a rental apartment, this is an easier option since you can disassemble and move them easily. An added bonus is most cat trees also have scratching posts built into them which cats absolutely love! Here is my fur-baby Miso enjoying his cat tree.
Essentials: Litter box and cleaning drinking water. Always make sure they have access to both! A litter-mat in front of the litter box is optional. It helps contain the litter that falls out as the cats exit the box. This makes cleanup a little easier.
Not-so-essentials: Turf, and lots of cat toys!
We added a turf on the ground to mimic the outdoors and also because the floor can get very hot in summers. This can be pricey, so an affordable option is a cheap rug.
If you are anything like me, your fur babies are probably spoiled to bits with toys. So bring out all their favorite wands, mice, rattles, and other toys to further enhance their catio experience. Here are Miso and Suki picking out their favorite toys from their toy basket.
Step #4: A space for the humans
Just because we are making a catio doesn't mean humans can't share it. Bring in some benches, and patio furniture to create a relaxing space to hang out with your cats.
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