Your cat deserves fresh air just as much as you do, and a catio is an ideal place to get it, all in a safe and secure environment. But can you have a catio in an apartment? The answer is yes, and it can have everything your furry companion needs to have a lot of fun in the sun. Here is everything you need to know about catios for balconies:
What are catios anyway?
As the name may suggest, catios are patios for cats. These unique enclosures allow cats to spend time outside and get fresh air and sun. Catios are closed up by close-knit fences, so the cats can’t get out and run off.
The fencing is crucial, especially for balcony catios, because you should do everything possible to prevent your cat from falling. If you build your catio correctly, it will be a very safe environment for your cat to exercise, play, and lounge in the sun.
Can you have a catio in an apartment?
Yes, you most certainly can have a catio in an apartment. The ideal place to make it is your balcony for your cat balcony enclosure. If your balcony is closed, you can secure the windows and add some play stations for your kitten.
On the other hand, if you have an open balcony, you can create a true kitty wonderland. In the following section, we will tell you about your unique options regarding balcony catios.
Ideas for Your DIY Catio for Apartment Balcony
If you want to make your own catio on the balcony, then you want to ensure you have the right tools. The first step is to clear up as much space as possible on the balcony and analyze the space. You must know exactly how much space you have at your disposal to determine what you can bring in.
Keep in mind that your balcony should still be where you want to spend time, so keep some of the things you use in it. However, be prepared to have your cat sitting on every piece of the furniture you leave on the balcony. Now that you have the functional layout of your balcony ready, your next major step is securing safety.
How to Build a Cat-Proof Balcony
Cats are usually not allowed on the balcony because it is not a safe space for them in the default version. However, a balcony can become a cat-friendly enclosure with some changes.
Cat Proofing Closed Balconies
You may think that closed balconies are perfectly safe for cats, but there are still some things you must look out for. For example, if you keep your windows closed when the cat is inside, it won’t be able to explore further than it’s safe to. However, in those hot summer months, the temperature inside the balcony with the windows closed can get alarmingly high, so ensure this is not the case.
The next logical step is to open the windows partially. Having them open at a 30-degree angle should be safe enough, right? But, in fact, it is quite the opposite of safe. Your cat may be tempted to jump out the small opening, or it could get its head stuck between the window and the casing, causing it to be suffocated. So you are left with two excellent choices, both of which involve cat-proof fencing.
No. 1 – Cat proof the windows only! – You can build a fence frame around the windows only that lets you open them, but that keeps your cat away from harm.
No. 2 – If your balcony is large enough, you can build a cage-type catio inside the balcony. This can be large enough for your cat to play in but small enough to leave out space on your balcony. You can keep the windows open without worrying about the cat.
Cat Proofing Open Balconies
As you know, open balconies and cats should only mix if you build a catio. And you have some very tempting options at your disposal. Take a look!
No. 1 – Use close-knight cat-proof fencing (catio panels) to close the entire balcony. The openings can be large enough to get a lot of fresh air in but also small enough to prevent your cat from jumping out of the balcony. You must install the fencing around the entire area where the cat has access and identify any potential loopholes.
No. 2 – Build a cage-like catio on your balcony, as described above. You can use the same type of fencing, but the catio will be an individual enclosure. This is an excellent option because it allows you to keep your balcony open.
How to Build a Catio on a Deck
You can build your dream catio if your apartment has a deck or a terrace. Then, you can use the same catio panels to secure your cat’s space.
Here are your main options:
No. 1 – Close up the entire terrace – You can install the catio panels to close up your terrace and build your catio. Your cat will love having that space to explore, and you can keep your terrace.
No. 2 – Build a cage-like catio on your terrace – Use the catio panels to create a secure enclosure and place it on the deck. This version gives your cat a safe space to lay in the sun without you having to give up your open terrace.
Installing Play Stations in the Catio
Now that safety is out of the way, you can focus on the fun parts of the catio. Aim for a wonderland, and your cat will be thrilled! There are many excellent choices for your catio, and you can mix and match to create your own design. Here are the best ones:
Lounges – Place lounging areas inside your balcony catio. These can be simple wooden insertions you install in the enclosure where your cat can go and lounge in the sun.
Stairs – You can connect these lounges with stairs for your cat to go up and down. These can be like stairs or small wooden insertions on a wood plank connecting the lounges. Make your cat exercise a bit, but ensure it can climb adequately.
Tunnels – Cats love to hide, so installing tunnels in your catio is bound to be a hit. You can make the tunnel out of metal, wood, or cloth. If you’re making an Ikea DIY catio, you have some inexpensive options available.
Ledges – Cats love to look at the world from high places, so the higher you go, the more they will love it. Install some ledges inside the catio where your cat can climb or jump. Depending on the height, consider adding some stairs to the ledge.
Cat Hammocks – What can be more relaxing than sitting in a hammock all day? You can ask your cat that after you install a hammock in its catio. We promise that it will be its new favorite place in the house.
Scratchers – The fresh air and the sun will pump your cat with energy, so there is no better place to start scratching. Install some scratchers in the catio, and you may be surprised to see just how much they love using them.
Cat Beds – No proper catio is complete without a comfy cat bed. If this is going to be your cat’s lounge, it must include a cat bed where your furry companion can snooze in the fresh air. Pretty relaxing, right?
You can mix and match with the items you want to include in the play station inside the catio, but there are some things that you shouldn’t forget about:
Water – If your cat spends a lot of time in the catio, it must have a water bowl. Please place it in a shaded area so your cat can enjoy a fresh drink of water whenever it needs it.
Food – The relaxation would only be complete with a good snack. Leave some food for your cat in the catio, especially if it is closed up.
Litter Box (for closed catios) – If you’ve chosen a cage-like catio, then make sure to put it in a litter box, just in case your cat needs to use it when it is inside.
Shop DIY Catio Ideas
As you can see, you have a lot of options when it comes to building catios in your apartment. Sharing your balcony with your cat will be amazing, and your cat will love it. Do you have a catio on your balcony? What did you choose for our play station? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!
Further Reading on Catios
Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,