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And Meow, A Note On Catios

March 15, 2024

Fluffy’s favorite day may be March 15th, which is National Catio Day! Many of our feline patients have individual catios or cat enclosures. This is a purrfect way to indulge your pet’s taste for adventure while keeping her safe. In this article, a local Galloway, OH veterinarian discusses Fluffy’s catio.

What Exactly Is A Catio?

Catio is derived from the words ‘cat’ and ‘patio’. The goal is to provide Fluffy with a contained environment while still incorporating elements of the Great Outdoors. 

This provides your pet with a safe space to do her favorite hobbies, which include napping, watching birds and squirrels (and occasionally making little clicking noises), reclining in the sun, meditating, and judging you.

Are Kitties Happy on Catios?

Many kittens adore them! While we can’t formally poll our feline patients on this topic, we’re confident the answer would be unanimous, or close to it.

Where Should I Place My Catio?

Wherever you like! A screened or enclosed porch or patio is an excellent choice, but these are far from the only options. You can also use a sunroom, a spare room, a loft, or a sunny corner!

Why Should I Create a Catio?

Perhaps the question here is why not? Keep in mind that you do not have to give up your space. Fluffy will not mind if you set up some comfortable furniture for yourself. The idea is to provide your pet with a place where she may experience nature, preferably while enjoying a nice view.

What Are The Benefits Of Catios? 

Offering your cat mental stimulation! Kitties can spend hours sunbathing, snoozing, and meditating. They also enjoy spying on the surrounding fauna and daydreaming about hunting. That can go a long way toward keeping your feline companion content and entertained. Your pet’s mental and emotional wellness are just as important as her bodily well-being.

A catio gives your beloved buddy the best of both worlds. She’ll be able to enjoy some sunlight and watch birds and squirrels while remaining safe and sound indoors. 

What Should I Put On A Catio?

Fluffy would probably want wraparound cat shelves, kitty pathways, cat wheels, and a stocked fishpond. However, you don’t have to go to that extreme. We do suggest setting up a comfortable window seat. A cat tower, of course, is an excellent solution. However, whether you should add one will depend on whether your chosen location is exposed to wind or rain at all. A screened-in area is ideal, but you may not want to place a carpet-covered tower where it will be rained on.

Fluffy will also not object if you hang a bird feeder in her line of sight. Of course, we only recommend this if your cat remains indoors. Otherwise, you can be enticing the poor birds to their deaths!

This might be an excellent location for swimming fish toys, automatic laser pointers, and the like.

If your patio is separate from the rest of your home, consider installing a cat door so Fluffy may freely enter and exit her catio. You can acquire doors that use special microchips, which may increase security.

What Plants Are Safe For Fluffy’s Catio?

No catio is complete without plants! Just stick with safe options. Spider plants, Bromeliads, Money Tree plants, Rubber Tree plants, Cast Iron plants, Rattlesnake plants, Prayer plants, and the Calathea Zebra plant are a few examples of things you may want to include. Many ferns, like the Boston fern, Bird’s Nest fern, and Kimberly Queen fern, are also safe. 

If you want a flash of color, use an African violet. Orchids, hibiscus, roses, and impatiens are all fine as well. If you enjoy cooking, consider adding culinary herbs. Thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary, basil, cilantro, and dill are all acceptable and great to have on hand for cooking. If you want potted trees, Areca palms, Ponytail palms, and Parlor palms are all suitable options. Avoid Sago palms, however, as they are extremely toxic to both dogs and cats.

Visit the ASPCA website here for additional information on safe and unsafe plants.

Keep Fluffy’s safety in mind when planting. Put large, heavy pots on the floor. Don’t put things on fragile stands, since your cat may knock or pull the plant over into herself if she tries to nibble or paw at a trailing leaf.

What Plants Are Not Safe For Cats?

It’s also very important to understand what not to include on your catio. Lilies are at the top of the list. They are particularly deadly to our feline friends. Even drinking the water can have serious—and potentially life-threatening—repercussions. That includes all lilies, including the Peace lily, Asiatic lily, Day lily, Japanese Show lily, Rubrum lily, Tiger lily, and Wood lily, as well as other hybrids. Lily of the Valley, while not a real lily, is still harmful to cats. 

Other poisonous plants include tulips, daffodils, eucalyptus, Devil’s Ivy (also known as pothos, taro vine, or golden pothos), oleanders, and philodendrons. If you can’t verify something is safe, err on the side of caution and choose something else.

Why Should  I Keep My Cat Indoors?

Kitties are incredibly adventurous, and they like patrolling their territory. (Fluffy also enjoys rolling down driveways, leaving pawprint trails on freshly washed automobiles, and depositing dead animals on her humans’ doorsteps.) Unfortunately, these activities can offer serious risks to a curious young furball. Cats who are free to roam face some major hazards. These include the weather, traffic, wild animals, parasites, pollutants, and even other kitties. Fluffy may also become stuck somewhere, like in a neighbor’s shed. 

There is also an increased danger of parasites, particularly if your feline companion hunts. Additionally, if your cat is not fixed, she may reproduce. With pet overpopulation being a major issue, getting her fixed is simply the correct thing to do. It is also worth noting that this contributes to the conservation of local fauna. House Cats destroy billions of small animals each year. Given the number of threatened and endangered species, it is critical that we all do our part to help them.

What’s The Difference Between A Catio And A Cat Enclosure?

Cat enclosures essentially elevate the catio to the next level. These are actually set up outside the home. Fluffy is still shielded from predators by some kind of barrier, usually mesh, chicken wire, screens, or something comparable.

This is an excellent choice for individuals with more adventurous pets and a place to put a kitty cage. You do not always need to make structural alterations to your property to install an enclosure. There are several factors to consider when building an enclosure.

  • Consider a configuration that allows you to open and close Fluffy’s access door. That way, you can let her out when it’s nice out, while keeping her secure inside at night or in severe weather.
  • Many folks set them up so that their feline buddies can access them through a window. You can even get a kitty door that you can insert into your window.
  • Want to save money? Go the DIY route. You can download plans online.
  • A cat enclosure requires flat ground and possibly a foundation. You may need to smooth the area out slightly.
  • Who says you can’t decorate your catio? This is an excellent area for outdoor rugs!
  • Make sure to provide some shade or covering.
  • Keep up with Fluffy’s parasite prevention! A cat enclosure will provide little protection against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. (Actually, this applies to all cats, including indoor ones.)
  • If you wish to employ mesh or fencing, choose something composed of galvanized or vinyl-coated wire.
  • If there are snakes in your region, you may need to take extra precautions to keep them out.

 Ask your Galloway, OH veterinarian for further information on cat enclosures.


Why Do We Pamper Our Feline Pals So Much?

Fluffy has a knack of wrapping us around her paws and making us want to pamper her. Is that a cute face? Are those charming meows? Fluffy’s affectionate snuggles and purrs? We’re not sure what it is about these charming little balls of fur, but we know they make us happy and bring a lot of love and joy into our lives. Do you havet any questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us at your Galloway, OH animal hospital today!

Posted in Cat Care

175 Galloway Rd.
Galloway, OH 43119
t: (614) 870-3900
f: (614) 870-6655

Also serving Westland and
surrounding areas.

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