!Header Buttons Right Side

National Catio Day 

March 15, 2024

March 15th may very well be one of Fluffy’s favorite days: it’s National Catio Day! Many of our feline patients have catios or cat enclosures of their own. A local Burlington, ON vet offers some information on Fluffy’s private space in this article.

What Is A Catio?

A catio is a word that comes from cat and patio. The idea is to give Fluffy an enclosed space that still incorporates some elements of the Great Outdoors. This gives your pet a spot where she can safely engage in her favorite activities: napping, watching birds and squirrels (and sometimes making clacking noises), lounging in the sun, meditating, and judging you.

Are Cats Happy In Catios?

Many kitties love them! While we can’t officially poll our feline patients on this one, if we could, we’re pretty sure the answer would be unanimous, or close to it.

Where Should I Put My Catio?

Wherever you want! A screened or enclosed porch or patio is a purrfect choice, but those are by no means the only options. You can also use a sun room, a spare room, a loft, or even a sunny corner!

Why Should I Make A Catio?

Maybe the question here would be … why not? Keep in mind that you don’t have to give up the space. Fluffy won’t mind if you have some comfy pieces of furniture set up for yourself. The key is really to give your pet a spot where she can get a little taste of nature, hopefully while enjoying a good view.

The main benefit? This offers your kitty mental stimulation. Cats can spend hours lounging in sunbeams, napping, and meditating. They also really love spying on local wildlife while daydreaming about hunting. That can go a long way towards keeping your feline pal happy and entertained. Your pet’s mental and emotional health are just as important as her physical well-being!

What Do I Put On A Catio?

If it were up to Fluffy, she’d probably ask for wraparound cat shelves, kitty walks, cat wheels, and a stocked fishpond. However, you don’t have to go that crazy. We would recommend setting up a comfy window seat. A cat tower, of course, is also a purrfect option. However, your pet will also be happy with an armchair, or even a chest or ottoman with soft folded blankets.

That said, it will somewhat depend on whether your chosen area is exposed to wind or rain at all. A screened in spot is great, but obviously you may not want to put a carpet-covered tower in a spot where it will get rained on.

Once you’ve chosen your cat furniture, this is also a great spot for plants. There are a few things to keep in mind here. 

  • First and foremost, be sure to stick with pet safe options. 
  • Fluffy won’t mind if you put a bird feeder up in her line of sight. Of course, we only recommend this if your kitty stays indoors. Otherwise, you could be luring the poor birds to their doom!
  • This can be a great spot for things like swimming fish toys, automated laser pointers, and the like.
  • If your patio is separated from the rest of the house, consider adding a cat door for Fluffy, so she can go to and from her catio at will. You can get doors that work with specific microchips, which may provide added security. 

Why Keep My Cat Indoors?

Kitties are quite adventurous, and they do enjoy patrolling their domains. Fluffy is also a fan of rolling in driveways, leaving pawprint tracks on freshly-washed cars, and dropping dead animals on her humans’ doorsteps. 

Unfortunately, these activities can pose significant risks to a curious little furball. Cats that are allowed to roam face some pretty serious threats. These include weather, traffic, wild animals, parasites, chemicals, and even other kitties. Fluffy could also get trapped somewhere, such as in a neighbor’s shed. There’s also an increased risk of parasites, especially if your feline pal hunts. Plus, if your kitty isn’t fixed, she may also reproduce. With pet overpopulation already such a huge problem, this is a huge animal welfare issue.

A catio offers your furry little friend the best of both worlds. She’ll be able to enjoy some fresh air and sunlight, and watch birds and squirrels, but still be safe and sound indoors.

It’s also worth noting that this helps protect local wildlife as well. Housecats kill billions of small animals every year. With so many species currently threatened and endangered, it’s important for all of us to do what we can to help them.

Ask your Burlington, ON veterinarian for more tips on keeping your kitty happy and healthy. 

What Is The Difference Between A Catio And A Cat Enclosure?

Cat enclosures basically take the catio to the next level. These are actually set up outside the house. Fluffy is still protected from predators by some sort of barrier, usually mesh, chicken wire, screens, or something similar.

This is a great option for those who have fairly adventurous furballs and a spot to put a kitty enclosure. You don’t necessarily have to make any structural changes to your home to put an enclosure up. Many people configure them so that their feline pals can use a window for access. You can buy them, or, if you’re handy, you can look up plans online and make your own.

There are a few things to consider when making an enclosure.

  • Consider a setup that lets you open and close Fluffy’s access way. That way you can let her come and go when it’s nice out, but keep her safely inside at night or when the weather is bad. One option is to use a window, and get a cat door made for windows. You don’t need to change your windows: just pop it in and you’re good to go! 
  • A cat enclosure will need level ground, and may require some sort of foundation. You may need to level the area out a bit and maybe add some gravel.
  • Who says you can’t decorate a catio? This is a great spot for plants and outdoor rugs!
  • Make sure to provide some sort of shade or covering.
  • Be sure to keep up with Fluffy’s parasite prevention! A cat enclosure won’t offer much—if any— protection from fleas, ticks, or mosquitos. 
  • If you want to use mesh fencing, pick something that was made from galvanized or vinyl-coated wire.
  • If there are snakes in your area, you may need to take additional steps to keep snakes out.

 Ask your veterinarian for more information about cat enclosures. 

What Are Safe Plants For A Catio?

No catio is complete without plants! Some of the ones you can include are Spider plants, Bromeliads, Money Tree plants, Rubber Tree plants, Cast Iron plants, Rattlesnake plants, Prayer plants, and the Calathea Zebra plant. Many ferns, including the Boston fern, Bird’s Nest fern, and Kimberly Queen fern, are also safe. If you want a pop of color, opt for an African violet. 

Many orchids are also safe, as are hibiscuses, roses, and impatiens. If you like cooking, consider adding some culinary herbs. thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary, basil, valerian, witch hazel, echinacea, goldenseal, cilantro, and dill are all fine. If you want some potted trees, you can opt for Areca palms, Ponytail palms, and Parlor palms are all fine. Avoid Sago palms, though: they are poisonous to both dogs and cats.

Check the ASPCA site here for more information.

Keep Fluffy’s safety in mind when arranting plants. Keep large and heavy pots on the floor. Don’t put things on flimsy stands: your kitty could knock or pull the plant over onto herself if she tries to chew or paw at a trailing leaf.

What Plants Should I Not Put On A Catio?

It’s also important to know what not to include. Lilies are at the top of that list. They are extremely dangerous to our feline pals. Even just drinking the water can have severe—and possibly life-threatening—consequences. That includes all lilies, such as  Peace lily, Asiatic lily, Day lily, Japanese Show lily, Rubrum lily, Tiger lily, and Wood lily, along with many hybrids. Lily of the Valley, though not a true lily, is also toxic to kitties. 

Other dangerous plants include tulips, daffodils, eucalyptus, Devil’s Ivy, which is often called pothos, taro vine, or golden pothos, oleanders and philodendrons. If you aren’t able to confirm something is safe, err on the side of caution and opt for something else.

Why Do We Spoil Cats So Much?

Fluffy certainly does have a way of wrapping us around her paws, and getting us to pamper her. Is it that cute face? Those endearing meows? Fluffy’s loving snuggles and purrs? We’re not sure what it is about these cute little balls of fur, but we do know that they keep us smiling and bring lots of love and joy to our lives.Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us here at your Burlington, ON animal hospital, today!

Frogs As Pets

Save A Frog Day is right around the corner! This is a great opportunity to

And Meow, A Word About Siamese Cats 

April 6th is a special day for some very special kitties: it’s Siamese Cat Day!

National Catio Day 

March 15th may very well be one of Fluffy’s favorite days: it’s National Catio Day!
1 2 3 46