Catio DIY: How to Build a Safe Catio

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If you want to build a catio for your pet, then you must set up a plan according to the space you have available for it and the items you want to include it. You can set up catios on balconies, terraces, or even outside in your garden, but the one thing you should never lose sight of while creating your catio is safety. Here are a few things you need to know about how to build a safe catio.

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Why is a catio necessary for indoor cats?

For an indoor cat, being taken outside all of a sudden could prove to be an overwhelming experience. As opposed to outdoor cats, the apartment cats are not used to some of the following elements and they will not know how to defend themselves.

Other Animals – If your apartment cat were to encounter dogs or other cats, it may not be ready for the fight. A catio will keep it safe from this type of exposure.

Other People – However much you may like animals, keep in mind that not everybody does, so do not rely on this. In a catio, your cat will be unreachable, so you will not have to worry.

Harsh Conditions – Outdoor cats are used to being out in the rain once in a while and they will most likely not get scared when it happens, but indoor cats are not used to this. A catio must provide shelter in care of sudden extreme weather.

Cars – Indoor cats are not used to keeping safe from cars, which is why letting your cat spend time outside in a catio is much safer than letting it roam free outside.

What makes a catio safe?

A catio is a cat sanctuary, it is a space where your cat can spend time outside and play. Catios must have proper fencing (you can use catio panels) that will prevent it from getting out and running away or jumping out the balcony. However, fencing is not the only aspect to consider. The recreational space you set up inside with toys must also be safe for your cat.

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Catio Fencing safety tips

Whether you use ready-made catio panels or you make a custom catio plan, you must make sure that there is no area where the catio is missing fencing. This could become dangerous because your cat will be tempted to explore further and it could get stuck and hurt.

You should also make sure that there is no defect to the fencing and that there are no pointy edges or loose fencing material which could end up hurting your cat. Be prepared for your cat to climb on the fencing in the catio and explore, so no part of it will remain untouchable.


Catio Activity Station Safety Tips

Catios come with activity stations that include stairs, high-placed lounges, catio tunnels, scratchers, beds and many others. But how do you keep these safe for your cat? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The stairs should be large enough for your cat to be steady on and they should feature middle areas (ledges or lounges) where your cat can be on a large safe platform.
  • Be prepared for your cat to jump, so don’t place the steps and ledges very high up. If it is not a height that you would let your cat jump from, then you may want to consider placing it lower.
  • If you place catio tunnels, make sure that the cat can’t get stuck inside. Access to the tunnel should never be blocked and there should be at least two exist for the tunnel to be safe.
  • The stairs and ledges should not have sharp edges because your cat could hurt itself on them. Make sure that anything you use for the catio has safe rounded edges.

Catio DIY Plans


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As you can see, there are many things to consider if you want to build a safe catio. Whether you go with a DIY Ikea catio or have a custom-made one by a specialized catio builder, the QA part of the plan is something you should not overlook. Do you have a catio for your pet? Do you have any other tips on keeping it safe? Tell us in the comments section below.


Comments (4)

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  1. ANOTHER SUPER PAWESOME & FABULOUS POST ABOUT CATIOS, Jenny honey! Absolutely amazeballs info! LURVE!!! No possible catio for us but I just adore the ideas, plans and DIY info! TYSVM!! 🙂 <3


    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

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