Your cat deserves fresh air just as much as you do and a catio is the ideal place where it can 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 are special enclosures where cats can spend time outside and get fresh air and sun. Catios are closed up by close-knight fences so that the cats can't get out and run off.
The fencing is absolutely crucial especially for balcony catios because you should do everything you can to prevent your cat from falling. However, if you build your catio correctly, it will be a very safe environment for your cat where it can get some exercise, play, but also 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, then what you can do is secure the windows and add some play stations for your kitten. If you have an open balcony, then you can create a true kitty wonderland. In the following section, we are going to tell you all about the amazing options you have when it comes to balcony catios.
Ideas for Your DIY Catio for Apartment Balcony
If you want to make your very own catio on the balcony, then you want to make sure you have the right tools. The very first step is to clear up as much space as you can on the balcony and analyze the space. You have to know exactly how much space you have at your disposal to best figure out what you can bring in.
Keep in mind that your balcony should still be a place where you want to spend time in as well, so keep some of the things you use in it. However, be prepared to have your cat sitting on each and every piece of the furniture you leave in 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 in the balcony because it is not a safe space for them in the default version. However, with some changes, a balcony can become a very cat-friendly enclosure.
Cat Proofing Closed Balconies
You may think that closed balconies are perfectly safe for cats, but there are still some things you have to look out for. 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 make sure that 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? Well, in fact, it is quite the opposite because your cat may be tempted to jump out the small opening and it can get its head stuck between the window and the casing and will be suffocated. You are left with two very good choices and both of them 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 in your balcony. This way, you can keep the windows open without worrying about the cat.
Cat Proofing Open Balconies
As you well know, open balconies and cats should never mix, unless you build a catio that is. 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 the balcony. Needless to say, you need to install the fencing around the entire area where the cat has access and you have to identify any potential loopholes.
No. 2 - Build a cage-like catio on your balcony, just as we described above. You can use the same type of fencing, but the catio will be an individual enclosure. This is a very good option because it lets you keep your balcony open.
How to Build a Catio on a Deck
If your apartment has a deck or a terrace, then you can build your dream catio there. You can use the same types of catio panels to make the space secure for your cat.
Here are your main options:
No. 1 - Close up the entire terrace - You can install the catio panels to close up your terrace entirely and build your catio there. Your cat will love having all of that space to explore and you can still 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 gets 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 so many amazing choices for your catio and you can mix and match to create your very own design. Here are the best ones:
Lounges - Place lounging areas inside your balcony catio. These can be simple wooden insertions that you install in the enclosure where your cat can go an lounge in the sun.
Stairs - You can connect these lounges with stairs for your cat to go up and down on. These can be like regular stairs or they can be small wooden insertions on a wood plank connecting the lounges. Make your cat exercise a bit, but make sure that it is able to climb it properly.
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, then you have some very cheap options available.
Ledges - Another thing that cats love to do is 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 to or jump to. Depending on the height, you may want to 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 you that it will be its new favorite place in the entire house.
Scratchers - The fresh air and the sun will get your cat pumped up 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, then it simply must include a cat bed where you 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 is going to spend a lot of time in the catio, it absolutely needs to have a water bowl there. Place it in a shaded area and your cat can enjoy a fresh drink of water whenever it needs it.
Food - The relaxation would not be complete without a proper snack. Leave some food out 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 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 is going to be amazing and your cat is going to 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!