Thursday’s Thoughts: Building a Catio


I had NEVER heard that word until I visited my mom this past weekend. And then my fingers experienced exactly how to build a catio while trying to cut through my fish dinner that night.

Of course, my mother labeled it as a couple of hour at the most project that turned into an all day project where my fingers hurt so bad from bending and cutting chicken wire that I could hardly enjoy my dinner. After several trips to Ace Hardware for more chicken wire and supplies, it also caused me to restrain myself from grabbing the entire bottles of wine that passed by me at dinner that night to hide my shame from the looks I received earlier when I told the employees at Ace that I was making a catio.

“My mom wants the cats to experience the outside air while still being indoor cats??” I told the man in line when he asked what the large amount of chicken wire was being used to make.

Why Build A Catio?

Well, for one thing most cats are indoor cats. It’s much safer for cats to be indoor cats. Cats suffer less disease, are safer from predators and tend to live longer. In fact almost 70% of cats are indoor cats. But most cat owners agree that they would love for their cats to experience their natural habitat–the great outdoors. And that can be difficult if they are indoor cats or if you are transitioning them from outdoor to indoor. Catios have become safe places for cats to live and experience the outside while in the safety of an enclosure.

Where Do I Get Started On Building a Catio?

There are a lot of great places to start when you are wanting to build a catio. To get some ideas, we recommend They have some nice custom catios or DIY designs too. also offers some links to catio resources.

What if I Need to Build an Inexpensive Catio?

I would plan on at least $200 to build a decent sized catio. The greatest expense will be in the chicken wire. You will also need to find a way to mount and secure the catio to a window. We used two Hejne shelves from Ikea and then staggered the shelves. We then wrapped the entire thing in chicken wire and cut the piece we needed to allow the cats to jump through when my mom opened the window.

What Kind of Materials Do I Need?

If doing the same unit as ours, you will need a hammer, staple gun, staples, wire cutters, chicken wire, shelves, mounting material, and carpet.

For all the grief I give my Mom and her cats (I can’t say much–apparently I spoil my dogs just a little bit) this came out really good looking and fits perfectly into the decor of her home. Her cat Abbie, immediately fell in love with it and my dog was able to get her up and used to the high shelves really quickly.

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