Give Your Cat a Window to the World with a Catio!
There’s no denying that indoor cats live safer, longer lives than their outdoor counterparts. Indoor cats enjoy protection from temperature extremes, infectious agents, predatory wildlife, traffic, and other dangers.
Although our kitties are better off indoors, anyone who has witnessed a cat stare longingly out the window, or make a mad dash for the front door any time it’s opened, knows that the desire to explore the outdoors is strong.
Fortunately, there is a way to give your cat the fresh air and adventure they crave, while still keeping them safe: the catio!
What Is a Catio, Anyway?
A catio, or cat patio, is a screened-in enclosure that allows your cat to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors. Catios come in all shapes and sizes, and can include anything from a small box extending out from a window to a converted porch.
Why Build a Catio?
Although taking on a construction project for a bored cat may seem a little excessive, remember that fresh air and excitement are important for the wellbeing of our pets. The health benefits of catios include:
- Exercise – The obesity epidemic isn’t just a human problem anymore. Pets suffer from obesity and its related health problems. Stretching, moving, and exploring within the confines of a catio can provide exercise and help keep cats at a healthy weight.
- Environmental enrichment – No matter how much work you put in to offering an exciting environment for your indoor cat, the same four walls can get boring. A catio can be the perfect space for a cat to express natural instincts and tendencies, such as stalking, tracking, hiding, climbing, and more.
- A safe space – Cats are prone to anxiety and behavior issues during times of stress. Having a quiet, safe place for your cat to retreat to while you’re cleaning or hosting a party can be invaluable.
Ready, Set, Go!
Whether you’re a carpentry expert or not, almost anyone can create an enticing outdoor space for their cat.
- While DIYers may enjoy the challenge of drawing up their own plans, there are plenty of pre-drawn plans online (check out Catio Spaces and Pinterest for starters). For those of us who are less than skilled with a hammer, there are a variety of pre-packaged catio kits available for purchase.
- Catio materials should be sturdy and weather resistant. The object is to provide space for your cat to freely move about, while making sure they are protected from the elements and other critters.
- Don’t forget to make your catio cat-friendly. Add perches, a cat tree, places to hide, cat-friendly foliage, interesting toys, or anything you can think of to make kitty feel more at home. Don’t forget to include fresh water!
Are you planning on building a catio of your own? We’d love to hear about it! Post your story and photos on our Facebook page. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to give the staff at Schertz Animal Hospital a call with your questions or concerns regarding your pet.
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!