Outdoor Cat Enclosures: How To Go From Patio To Catio

Habitat Haven cat tunnel: ©Habitat HavenHabitat Haven cat tunnel: ©Habitat Haven

Take the 'P' from 'Patio,' substitute a 'C' and you get a suitably named Catio, an outdoor cat house. Catio is where indoor cats can hang out outside of their houses or apartments in an outdoor enclosure that safely keeps them in and predators out.  If you have time to build a catio, you can do-it-yourself, but there are several options.

Below is a catio made by Kate at Catio Showcase for her cats.  She roofed her small tiled patio outside of her condo in Arizona and screened the wall up to the roof so the catio is totally escape proof - and very accommodating for her cats.




Before (left) and After (right): ©CatioShowcaseBefore (left) and After (right): ©CatioShowcase   

Habitat Haven creates dozens of modular sets that you can purchase and assemble yourself.  Its CATalog also includes enclosures for dogs. Here is a cute video of some of their catio set-ups, but remember they are sold in modules, so you can create your own catio design with them.



Safe Kitty does custom work but they also have a ready-made Safe Kitty Outdoor Catio in different sizes.


Safe Kitty Outdoor Catio: ©Safe KittySafe Kitty Outdoor Catio: ©Safe Kitty


SunCATcher Enclosures makes pretty spiffy ready-made catios in different sizes.  A tube connector or a cat door can lead into the catio, depending on the layout of your (former) patio.


SunCATcher Enclosure tunnel leads directly from window into catio.: ©SunCATcher EnclosuresSunCATcher Enclosure tunnel leads directly from window into catio.: ©SunCATcher Enclosures


SunCATcher Enclosure 6' diameter catio: ©SunCATcher EnclosuresSunCATcher Enclosure 6' diameter catio: ©SunCATcher Enclosures


I wrote a column on the Kittywalk catios last spring.  The company also sells separate modules that can articulate with each other.  If predators are not a problem, these are good solutions, but these catios are walled in nylon mesh rather than metal. (See Kittywalk system.)


Kittywalk Town & Country Pet Enclosure: ©KittywalkKittywalk Town & Country Pet Enclosure: ©Kittywalk


Now we get to the Do-It-Yourself part.  SafeCat Outdoor Enclosures (aka Just4Cats.com) sells just a manual, no materials... just instructions and drawings...


SafeCat DIY manual: ©SafeCatSafeCat DIY manual: ©SafeCat


Now, don't run away quite yet. When you see what SafeCat's DIYers did with instructions from its manual, you will be very impressed. Here is one of his customer's catios; well, actually two sisters built this catio...

First the tunnel to the catio, which looks like it's surrounding a cat door installed in a basement window; they worked with what they had.  Good job!


SafeCat DIY catio customer-built - cat entry: @just4catsSafeCat DIY catio customer-built - cat entry: @just4cats


SafeCat DIY catio customer-built: @just4catsSafeCat DIY catio customer-built: @just4cats


SafeCat DIY catio customer result: @just4catsSafeCat DIY catio customer result: @just4cats


SafeCat DIY catio customer-built - human entry: @just4catsSafeCat DIY catio customer-built - human entry: @just4cats


You have several choices if you want to build a catio. Go totally DIY, design and build it yourself like Kate at Catio Showcase, design what you would like and purchase the parts from Habitat Haven, buy fully built catios like those from Safe Kitty, SunCATcher Enclosures, and Kittywalk, or purchase a DIY manual from SafeCat and get a little help.

Editor's Note: Amazon also has an extensive selection of outdoor cat enclosures (with reviews), from simple pens to extensive playgrounds. One super easy system that gets good reviews and is customizable is here

For more catio design ideas, visit the Stanford Cat Network, FlorenceHumane.org, and the other projects at  SafeCat Outdoor Enclosures.

That's the buzz for today!

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Lady Bee
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Mar 11, 2012
by Anonymous

This is such a great idea

This is such a great idea for all cats

Mar 11, 2012
by Anonymous

This is such a great idea

This is such a great idea for all cats

Mar 11, 2012
by Anonymous

This is such a great idea

This is such a great idea for all cats