Outdoor Space for Your Pets: Build Your Own 'Catio'

rescued cat in apartment catioA patio for a cat? Yes, that's a "catio." And with apartment space at a premium it may seem strange to dedicate part of it exclusively to your cat. But, if you love cats, you understand why so many owners happily provide the space. TheNew York Times recently featured these feline-coddling people who share their limited outdoor space with their furry friends.

Do you want to do something similar? It's easier than you think. We spoke with Michele Hoffman of the cat rescue organization Milo's Sanctuary. She explains how she built a catio for the rescued cats and kittens she fosters at her apartment in Burbank, Calif.

What does your organization do, and why do you take the cats home?

My rescue organization is called Milo's Sanctuary, Inc. We were founded on the belief that all cats deserve a second chance at life, especially those that have disabilities, are injured, or have been abused. We foster in our homes and take in cats and kittens most other rescues won't. Many of our rescues cannot be re-homed because of physical or behavioral issues, but we promise our cats that they will have a safe and loving environment for the rest of their lives.

Why did you build a "catio"?

We built the "catio" so that the cats would have access to fresh air and sunshine and be totally safe from all the dangers that outside cats face.

How did you build it?

A friend and I built a wooden frame and then attached the plastic lattice to the frame itself. It was very easy to do and has held cats enjoying their catioup well for years.

We took 2 x 10 boards and cut them a little higher then the overhang of the patio roof. Then we built a box to frame and enclose the patio. Next, we cut and attached the lattice work to the frame itself (we did top, sides and bottom to make an actual box). We screwed the lattice work into the overhang and then I used electrical ties to secure the lattice work at the two sections that joined. We ran one 2 x 10 up the middle of the box frame to give it extra strength.

I originally used the wooden lattice, but after a couple of years of sun, rain and wind, it basically kinda just disintegrated. So we opted to use the plastic lattice that comes in different colors.

We decorated our catio with fake ivy and little twinkle lights. We hung up all kinds of wind chimes and glass/mirror chimes that reflect on the catio. The cats just love to chase the lights. The cats have beds out there, a litter box, and in the summer their own water fountain as well.

cat reclining in catioHave you been happy with the results?

I would recommend it to anyone and everyone who has the space to do this. Make sure to do the top as well as the sides. The cats love it and there's nothing better on a nice sunny day to go out and sit in the fresh air and sunshine with them, watching the birds and world go by!

Can we help you with your rescued cats in any way?

Yes. Please vote for us on Chase Community Giving on Facebook. If we can keep in the top 195 we will win $20,000, which would mean so much as I just took in two new blind cats!

Don't forget you can find RentedSpaces on Facebook, too!
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