5 Reasons Why So Many Cat Owners Are Investing in Catios

Despite the fact that cats have been kept as pets for nearly 10,000 years now, they’ve still maintained many of the wild instincts they had pre-domestication. They long for the outdoors, where they can experience nature, roam new territory, and hunt for prey.

Unfortunately, living outdoors comes with a pretty serious set of risks for our small, furry friends. Dangers like vehicle traffic, predators (both animal and human), and poisons are all common encounters that cats face outdoors – so much so, that the average life expectancy of an outdoor cat is just two to five years, compared to an indoor cat who averages around 15 years.

Photo by Catio Spaces

On the other hand, keeping a cat entirely indoors is no happy ending, either. While they might not face outside threats, cats who aren’t allowed outdoors have been found to develop mental and physical disabilities due to not being able to express their natural behaviors.

Creating a healthy balance of indoor and outdoor time is crucial to your cat’s wellbeing. However, not every cat can be trained to stick to your house’s perimeter or come back after an hour’s time (if only it were that easy, right?). The best solution, if you have the space available, is to invest in a catio.

Photo via Catio Spaces

Catio is short for “cat patio” – basically an outdoor enclosure for your cat. These creative funhouses have seen rapid growth in recent years because they provide the perfect combination of outdoor enrichment and indoor protection, earning recommendations from countless veterinarians and other cat professionals. If you don’t mind investing a little time and effort to better your cat’s life, we’re going to show you exactly why your next home improvement should be a catio.

Mental health

As mentioned above, domesticated cats have retained many of the behaviors of their wild ancestors. Because of this, they need to be allowed to express themselves in order to meet their psychological needs. This includes activities like scratching, urine marking, hunting, and other forms of stimulation. Otherwise, they are more likely to develop a series of behavioral problems, which can lead to social conflict and even stress-related diseases.

Photo via Catio Spaces

Creating an outdoor shelter for your cat to roam gives them the personal and social experiences they need to satisfy their natural instincts and keep their sanity. They can scratch anything they want and mark anywhere they want without worrying of punishment, and they can monitor the birds and other wildlife in your yard much more intimately than sitting behind a window.

Physical health

Just like humans, cats need their exercise to stay healthy and fit. According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, in 2016, nearly 59% of cats were found to be overweight or obese (is that crazy, or what?). While the average residential home allows for a decent amount of room for our feline friends to walk around, they are not designed to meet the unique needs of a cat.

Photo via Catio Spaces

As we all know, cats can jump crazy high! They love vertical space, and their instincts create desires to climb and leap places as if they were in the trees in the wild. In other words, walking across a carpet floor just doesn’t cut it. Building a catio gives you the ability to design the ultimate playhouse for your cat, with numerous places to climb, jump, and perch. This will keep their bodies physically fit while also satisfying those wild instincts yet again.

Safety

The mental and physical needs above are enough to convince you that cats need outdoor experience, but if there is one benefit that shows why catios are preferable over traditional outdoor living, it’s the benefit of safety.

While cats are quite smart, there are way too many potential hazards they can encounter while freely roaming the neighborhood. Someone could be driving down the street and looking down at their phone when your cat decides to cross the road. A hawk could be circling overhead and swoop down from above. Rat poison could look like a treat and become your cat’s secret meal of the day. The list goes on and on, with numerous unknown factors at play.

Photo via Catio Spaces

Catios allow cats all the outdoor experience they need, but without the added safety concerns. They can literally spend all day and night in there if they want to, and the biggest risk they’ll face is getting too hot or cold. Just make sure you keep an eye on them when the temperature gets a bit extreme!

Cleanliness

Cats are notorious for cleaning themselves – in fact, they spend up to 50% of the day doing so. While that’s true, they’re not completely traceless as they roam around the house. Hair, dander, and various other microscopic dirt particles can be left behind. This can build up and become bacterial (if it wasn’t already), which is bad for everyone, but especially for anyone in your household or visiting who may have cat allergies.

Photo via Catio Spaces

Catios create an entirely separate space where your cat can lounge, roam, and clean themselves, which seriously cuts down on pet dander within the house. In addition, a litter box can be placed within the catio, adding yet another traditionally-indoor activity to their outdoor habitat. This will not only keep your home cleaner, but it will also keep it from smelling. Anyone with a good sense of smell knows how strong pet odors can get if you’re not cleaning all the time, and catios do a great job at helping to minimize the effects.

Relationships

There are some times where all cats want to do is cuddle and play, whether it’s with your or with other pets in the house. Other times, however, they want nothing to do with anyone, and they want to be left alone. This goes back yet again to those natural instincts. Cats are solitary and territorial, so although they might sometimes be fun and interactive, they still always prefer a little time to themselves for private matters like napping and bathing.

Photo via Catio Spaces

Catios are perfect for both sides of their behavior. When they’re feeling interactive, you can join them inside their cat house for some play time (assuming your catio is big enough to fit you – many of them are). When they want to be alone, they’ve got a territory all to themselves for as much private time as needed. Respecting their needs for quality play time and quality alone time not only keeps their behavior in top shape, but it can also strengthen their social relationships with you and other animals.

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Conclusion

There’s a reason why catios have become so popular within the last few years – they’re great for your cat! From maintenance of health and behavior to keeping the house clean, catios are the perfect way to give your kitty a taste of the outdoors without the hazards that go along with it. Best of all, building a catio is easy because there really aren’t any rules. You can custom-design one for your exact yard, making it as big or small as you want with any interior design you want.

Enter our contest for a chance to WIN a Catio DIY plan from Catio Spaces

Author Credit: This guest post was contributed by Cory Yeakel who is a father to three fur babies, two kitties and one puppy. On paper, Cory rescued them – but the truth is, they rescued him. When he’s not outdoors hiking with the pup, you can find him at home binge-watching TV shows with all three at his side.

Photo Credits: All photos from Catio Spaces.  Owner Cynthia Chomos is a passionate cat lover and she founded Catio Spaces to address the need for safe and visually appealing outdoor enclosures to enhance the lives of cats. 

 

7 Comments

  1. Chris October 20, 2017
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