Home Veterinary An Outdoor Catio for Kitty: Creating a Safe and Stimulating Space – Oakland Veterinary Referral Services

An Outdoor Catio for Kitty: Creating a Safe and Stimulating Space – Oakland Veterinary Referral Services

An Outdoor Catio for Kitty: Creating a Safe and Stimulating Space – Oakland Veterinary Referral Services


Cats need stimulation and being outside can help feed their need for adventure. A catio could be a great addition to your home if you don’t have a safe outdoor space, or don’t feel comfortable letting your cat wander outside (inside cats average longer lives). 

A safe outdoor cat enclosure allows your kitty to spend hours a day visually exploring the world outside without getting too close to predators or becoming exposed to illnesses. There are a variety of types of cat enclosures that give your kitty safe access to the outdoors. Use our tips to create a beautiful and functional catio for your favorite feline:

Putting the Cat in Catio 

Before you begin constructing your outdoor cat enclosure, there are a few things to consider to ensure it is ideal for your cat. Be sure to think about:

  • Location: Put yourself in your cat’s…paws, and try to consider the ideal spot for your outdoor enclosure. The location should have a great view, and easy access for your kitty. Many people choose to put a catio next to a door or a window, where the cat can enter through a cat door that is easy to install. Other people build tunnels to lead to an outdoor enclosure that’s farther away from the house.
  • Height: If possible, it is a good idea to build some height into your catio. Cats love to jump and climb, and a catio with a few different levels gives them premium viewing options. They can easily jump up to check out that bird nest in the tree nearby. 
  • Shady Spots: While cats do love a good lie in the sun, it is also important to provide plenty of shade in your outdoor cat enclosure. This gives your cat the opportunity to take a break from the sun on really hot days while still enjoying the enclosure. 

Catio Construction Prep

While you do not have to be a certified contractor to build an effective catio, you should prep before you start to work. Vinyl or wire are the best materials to use to build a safe and escape-proof structure. You’ll want to line the bottom of the enclosure with pavers, grass, or even an outdoor rug to provide a comfortable surface for paws (and keep dirt out of your home). 

A few pieces of wood or premade shelves will give your cat the perfect spots for perching. The crew at your local home improvement store should be able to help you find the exact materials you need to successfully build your outdoor cat enclosure. They can also give you some construction tips if you are feeling unsure about where to start, and there are some handy resources and examples online. 

Finishing Your Outdoor Cat Enclosure

Once the basic structure is in place, you can fill your outdoor cat enclosure with some fun accessories to make it even more enticing for your cat. Pick out a few of your cat’s favorite toys and scratching posts. Make sure there is always an easily-accessible bowl of water. You might want to invest in a water fountain that will continuously move water through. Leave an outdoor litter box in your catio so your cat does not have to come back inside when nature calls. Try not to put food or treats outside, or some (unwanted) visitors might start using your catio, too. 

The whole team at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services loves to see our pet patients thrive in their home lives. In addition to our specialty and emergency veterinary services, we also offer plenty of pet care resources. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call (248) 334‑6877.


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