The Catio: Bringing the Outdoors to Your Cat

What is a Catio?

Black and white cat sitting in an outdoor enclosure or

A catio, or a cat patio, is an outdoor enclosure made for cats which allows them to be outside in a safe space. These areas are typically built outside a door or a window that your cats like to frequent. A catio gives indoors cats an area outdoors where they can lay in the sun, get fresh air and exercise.

Cat sleeping in an outdoor enclosure.

What are the Benefits of a Catio?

Catios are a safe alternative to letting your feline friend roam freely and provide many benefits, including:

  • Offering safe, outdoor enrichment for your cat;
  • Keeping wildlife safe from your cat;
  • Helping your cat avoid the many dangers of the outdoors like traffic, disease and conflicts with humans; and,
  • Helping your cat have an even better quality of life.
Grey cat sitting in an enclosure outside of a window.

How to Build a Catio

Catios do not have to be an expensive or overwhelming project. Catios can be built to meet your cat’s specific needs — they can be as simple as a window box with just enough room for your cat to enjoy the fresh air, a more elaborate space with tunnels and perches, or anything in between.

Types of Catios:

Your first step is deciding what type of catio works best for the space you have. There are two different types of catios — free-standing and attached. Attached enclosures are three-sided and connected to the side of the house where your cat can easily access the space through a window or door. Free-standing catios are typically built on the lawn or patio, you will have to carry or walk your cat on a leash and harness to access a free-standing catio.


Materials vary, but catios are typically built using wood framing and wire. It is important that the wire is firmly attached to the frame to prevent your cat from slipping out.


If you enjoy a DIY project, there are many catio plans online that provide multiple layouts and suggested materials.

If you’d prefer a premade catio, there are many options you can purchase online which vary in price and style.