I need a catio! If you’ve been reading my DIY articles you would know that my home is very small and I have been thinking of new ideas to get the most out of the space that I have. The next idea I had was a catio. What’s a catio you say? Well, a catio is a patio for your cat! How cute is that? I have two cats, Kitty Perry and Catness Everdine. They are indoor cats (most days) because I live in a very busy neighborhood and I don’t want my kitties getting hurt, or into trouble and I still want them to have the option of going outside without me having to watch over them. Not only do I want them to have their own outdoor space but I want to have the litter box outside.
Let’s face it, poop stinks, pee stinks and I don’t want it in my house. This was a huge driving force for getting the kitty litter box outside. I do not have a garage, I have a carport instead so I can’t really just put the litter box in a garage like most people, that would have been nice, so catio it is. I first saw the idea for a catio on Pinterest. There is also some really good ideas for a catio in the bottom of this article that I found on the web, continue below. My first thought of making a catio was:
- Where am I going to put it?
- How big do I want it?
- Will the cats actually use it?
- Can I make it cute?
- How will the cats get into and out of my house to use it?
I originally thought that I would have it going out of my front window just by my front door but that would take up too much room on my small front patio. I then realized that my laundry room was pointing towards my carport and I could install a cat door through my home and place the catio within my carport. I had plenty of room in there and it would keep most of the weather from getting inside the catio, plus I wouldn’t have to add a roof to the catio.
Step 1: Now to Design and Build a DIY Catio
I went wandering the isles of Lowes to get more ideas and I discovered that there was clear plexiglass that I could use as a lookout, so it could be as if the cats were outside but still protected from the harsh weather and outside dangers. I also found screen material that I could install on the catio to get some air flow going through it so the smell and heat won’t get trapped in it.
For the kitties to get in and out of the house to the catio I just attached it by my laundry room window. I also added a cat door. You can do either one, but if you live in harsh climates I suggest the cat door to keep the weather out.
Step 2: Finding the Materials
I bought some lumber (2X4) and made a simple outline of a rectangular shape by screwing them together with screws leaving room for a simple homemade door in the front of the box so I could get in and out of the catio to change the litter, play with my cats, and clean it out. I also added a simple lock on the front of the door so the neighborhood kids wouldn’t let the kitties out. Mind you, I did paint the door and let it dry before I added the plexiglass and the lock. I also decided to attach it to the house with some screws so it couldn’t move or get blown over. I then painted the box and let it dry.
I added a sheet of particle board to the top of the catio so the kitties couldn’t escape. I didn’t add any roofing to it because it is under my carport, but if you were to do this in the open environment I would strongly suggest adding roofing to protect the catio from harsh weather.
Step 3: Adding Clear Plexiglass
Next I decided to add the plexiglass to the box for a great viewing feature for the kitties in the DIY Catio. Cutting plexiglass is VERY messy and it can crack easily so you need eye wear and gloves for sure. I would buy extra just in case as well if you decide this is what you want to do. There is a clear glue that you can use to seal the glass into place if you prefer that option. If you prefer something cheaper and easier then go and buy screen material and staple it on the inside around the box.
Step 4: Add Kitty Fun
For a fun effect I decided to take an old drawer from a dresser and paint it the same color of the catio and nail it to my house with some support under it. This is a great and easy way to do a raised DIY kitty bed. I added an old crochet blanket inside it and my kitties cant get enough of it. I also found some picture frames at the dollar store to add my cats’ picture in it and hang it on the wall of the catio.
For some kitty fun I added ribbon and cat toys around the catio for the kitties to play with. I also decided to line the inside of the catio with some carpet up the walls of it for a scratching area. You can find some new carpet in small pieces for cheap at the Restore. I also added a scratching post bed to the catio for extra lounge room. I then lined a small simple shelf with carpet and added that to the wall of the catio, put the litter box in, and put some wall stickers on the inside of it and it was done! This whole project took about one week total.
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