What’s the Key to Cat Health and Happiness? A Catio, of Course!
Is your cat the kind of feline who takes lounging around the house to a whole different level? Is he or she profoundly interested in all the birds, flowers, and bugs offered up by Mother Nature? You can tell the difference between these two types fairly quickly…and if you hear a crackling sound made by your cat’s mouth at the sign of a bird or squirrel, you’re the proud owner of a cat who would love to be outside.
An integral component of cat health is environmental enrichment. Many cat owners solve this by allowing their cats outside, but that presents its own risks. So, are you ready to build a catio?
Safe and Sound
A growing trend is to keep Fluffy away from predators, vehicles, and parasites. Restricting outdoor access is safest, of course, but unless you’re substituting all sorts of mentally and physically fun activities, overall cat health and happiness can suffer.
What is a Catio?
A “catio” is an enclosed space specifically designed and built with your cat’s interests in mind. The sky’s the limit when it comes to size, layout, and personalized features, and there’s no shortage of inspiration out there.
Consider your materials closely. You’ll want to choose quality wood products, fencing, posts, and shelving as the major elements of your catio. Placing spots for your cat to perch, rest, climb, and jump are excellent boons to cat health.
Filling the enclosed outdoor space with various non-toxic plants provides additional benefits that support general cat health. Your cat will be surrounded by greenery and be able to chomp down on some of the different ones you provide, such as catnip and other safe plants.
Other Bits and Bobs
Filling out your catio may involve special furniture like chairs, a wicker loveseat, pillows, bedding, and shelves on which to snooze. Likewise, jungle gyms, step ladders, bridges, cat trees, and tunnels can really invite a cat into the space and encourage him or her to claim it as their own.
Are We Having Fun Yet?
There will be much to distract Fluffy through the fencing, but you may also consider dangling enticing things from the ceiling. Items like crystal prisms can catch the light and reflect it onto surfaces throughout the catio, adding a great deal of interest.
The Bare Necessities
After all that playing, sleeping, and wondering, your cat will be thirsty. Don’t forget that a constant stream of freshwater is critical to cat health. Similarly, meals might be enjoyed inside the catio, as well as a little one-on-one time with you.