Catios are the new craze, here’s why and the benefits they provide | Home and garden
Some people have a screened in patio on their back porches to sit on during warm summer evenings for a drink and some fresh air while staying safe from pesky insects.
Others use it as a sun and plant room, giving ample access to sun and rain without worrying about leaf-eating critters.
But now there’s a third reason to have a screened patio attached to the back of your house: your cat likes to be outside, but it can kill innocent birds.
Luckily, there’s something called a catio that can help. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a cat version of a screened porch.
The non-profit organization American Bird Conservancy estimates that cats around the world combine to kill four billion animals worldwide each year and up to 500 million birds. Cats can also contract diseases caused by bird hunting, such as songbird fever, a name for salmonella in birds that can be transmitted to felines and even humans.
“Cats are sick for a few days to a week or more. Up to 10% can die, especially if they are very young, very old, or immunocompromised,” Jennifer Coates, a physician with pet care information site PetMD, said in a blog post.
“Treatment for songbird fever includes supportive care (fluid therapy, anti-nausea medications, etc.) and antibiotics if the cat’s condition warrants their use,” Coates continued.
Most cats love to go outside – they are naturally outdoor animals and love to hunt, climb trees and bask in the sun. But that’s not necessarily always good for them.
In addition to the risks to wild birds, according to a study by the Animal Humane Society, the lifespan of outdoor cats is significantly shorter than that of their indoor counterparts. Cars, poisonous plants and other wild animals are just a few of the many outdoor hazards that can shorten the lives of outdoor cats by 10 to 12 years, according to the study.
This is where a catio creates the best of both worlds.
A catio is precisely what it sounds like: an enclosed outdoor patio for a cat. Its mesh walls allow cats to sit outside in the fresh air and sunshine while avoiding the dangers and temptations that the outdoors pose.
When it comes to decorations and additions, the possibilities are endless. Ledges to jump on, thick branches to climb on, comfortable chairs to sit on, and hanging toys to play with are just a few options. Advantages of a catio
In addition to warding off disease, a catio will help cat owners avoid the nasty business of disposing of dead pets that their hairball brings home. The Catio Spaces website lists the top 10 benefits a catio brings to your pet.
Some benefits include protecting your cat from outside threats and reducing vet bills from injury, but others also benefit humans.
If you have multiple cats, Catio Spaces notes that providing outdoor space will give cats more territory to roam and additional outdoor simulation that could help reduce conflict and behavior issues between cats. Putting a litter box in the catio can also help reduce interior odors.
If you build the catio large enough, you can also incorporate a sitting chair for yourself, allowing you to spend more time with your cat outside, which is healthy for both parties. Even if you’re not outside with your pet, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your cat is in an enclosure while still enjoying the outdoors.
Make or buy a catio
Although a catio the size of a full patio gives your cat the most space, it doesn’t have to be large. The Adventure Cats website shows examples of two smaller types of catios that can be attached to a window.
One was made from a chameleon cage, while the other is a repurposed dog cage to attach to the window. Adventure Cats also reminds people to build if they can’t build outward or wide. Cats; cats like to climb and sit in high places, and you can easily build ledges for your cat to rise above their catio.
Instructions for building your own little catio that can be adjusted to fit any window size can be found on the Adventure Cats website.
If you prefer to buy a catio, there are several websites where you can order one. Catio World provides descriptions and links to several online options, such as pre-made kits from Habitat Haven and Amazon.