Another awesome story submitted by a reader named Barbara

Below is what Barbara submitted through email. Thank you so much for sharing with the blog!
“I had been seeking some way for my indoor cat, and his Malti-poo friend, to use my deck.  The costs to cat proof it were all rediculous.  Then I found this DIY Catio.
I built it with 4 boxes of 23 panels, purchased from at $35 each.  I have 9 panels left over so I might enlarge it by 9 panels.
I recommend adding a Channel Locks tool to the tools list.  You can use it to pull the frames into the connectors, to remove a connector if you change your mind, and to open a tight bottle after the Catio is finished.
I used nearly 500 wire ties as the pattern grew in my mind as I used the materials — I ripped back at times.  There is a baffle around the top to prevent the cat from getting out.  But I would have needed to build 4 panels high to walk around it in, so instead I have an open space for that.
Every option to let the pets use the Catio at will was very costly.  In the sliding door option I would have disabled my use of the deck.  In the window option I doubted the little dog would have gotten used to using steps to get in and out.  So instead I built baffles on the entrance so I just open the sliding door about 10″ and neither pet can go anywhere but the Catio or back into the house.
The cat loves it.  He had never been outdoors in his life.  Being a cat he expresses his love by taking long naps.  I’ve given him several platforms to do that.
Zelda the dog is rather Meh!  She would rather be sniffing around on the whole deck.
The building process took me about 4 days at 3 – 4 hours a day. I tried to draw pattern, but found it easier just to create it as I went.
I will be making some waterproof pillows for the platforms and put a piece of vinyl fabric over them.”
Barbara Catio

Sue’s Catio in Ohio

I was contacted by a reader who happened across my blog. She was able to create a catio in no time at all AND was willing to send me pictures and to post her story. Thank you so much Sue! It looks awesome and your cat looks so happy.

From Sue: “I googled outside cat enclosures and found your blog! So glad I did. I already had 6 cubes and I bought 2 more boxes and in a few hours I built my cat Lacy her enclosure. It’s on the back deck and attached to the basement window. I put plywood in the window with a pet door. She loves it!! I should mention I will be 66 years old next month and I did this without any help. My next project is to make her a hammock to hang in one corner. People say she is spoiled but for all the joy she brings me, I thought she deserved a pay back. And I got tired of hearing her cry in the window when I was in the deck, LOL.”

Fat Tony!

Back in December I was contacted by a reader named Janis for some advice on an indoor cube enclosure for a semi-feral cat to live inside for winter. The winters are harsh in her location and she was worried about his survival this year as well as wanting to get him neutered and to have a safe warm place to recover. Her solution she came up with turned out fantastic and she gave me permission to share a couple of photos and her story. Fat Tony looks content and Janis is slowly incorporating him into her home with the other cats and dogs. What a success! See her update below:

“Just wanted to give you an update to all your help. Fat Tony was neutered Wednesday and he is now in his zip tied home. See attached picture. It’s 4′ long, 2′ wide and 4.5′ tall with access to a window. Work was throwing out tables so I brought one home.His condo sits on top a table, actually ratched to the table with straps. It’s going no where!
          I paid exra for pain meds ( just incase there were complications). He wouldn’t use the litter box so I set up another box with potting soil. Yep, dirt… and he went in that. Sprinkled some over the litter and now, like a good boy, he goes where he should. Fat Tony sleeps alot. I’m guessing after all that time outdoors, he probably never really slept. He’s making up for lost time. He gets like it’s his job and slowly getting used to the household noises. He hasn’t met the other 4 footed family members yet. Baby steps. I want him to feel safe. 

Many thanks so much for your suggestions and all your help.

Fat Tony & Janis”

And an update in January:

“FT is doing really well. Still enjoying his condo living. He’s very clean. We’ve started letting him out with the other cats. Of course, they’re the ones with the issues. He seems happy to have friends. Slow and steady, he’ll get there and so will they.”

Janis and Fat Tony,

Thank you so much for the updates and Janis, thank you for caring about this beautiful boy!


Another catio!

A reader contacted me and sent this message along with some photos and permission to post.

” I used your website for inspiration, and I’m grateful. I created a wonderful escape for my two cats- one who is blind and the other who has only one eye. They have been indoor cats their whole lives (10 years) and ALWAYS want to get outside. We have to limit their freedom, due to the obvious dangers. The window sill with a screen is just NOT fair. This new catio is just the right amount of space- even in the cold weather, even at night, even in the rain, our boys have been enjoying it every day. I’d love to share photos. please let me know how.

I live in CT, US.
I bought the wire storage shelves, a box for 6 cubes from Kmart – cheapest  I could find (still exist)
I used all your tricks and tips.
I agreed that the cats don’t need any height, so, on the ground level, it’s just two panels high.  (two because, when sitting, my cats are 17″ inches tall, and a panel is only 14″ high.
I used some old roofing material on the steps and on the “sun bed” so their feet don’t fall through the steps.  Figured it was waterproof, and, won’t mold, and should withstand the elements.
I was worried about it taking their weight (each cat is 14 pounds) but there seems to be no problem. And even the tallest part, at 5 panels, is not wobbly or anything.”


How awesome is this? Their blind kitties can now safely enjoy the outdoor area and fresh air and sun! Thank you for sharing Cjet!


Donna’s Catio!

This post is from my friends at the Community Cat Coalition and is copied from Facebook. This is a beautiful catio and I was given permission to use the photos here for more ideas on building your own safe space for your cats. From the CCC page:


“Catios – they’re not just for summer you know!

When we featured Donna and her lovely family of ex-free roaming cats last spring, we mentioned her almost completed catio (her story here, though only 3 of her 4 babies were mentioned – a gross oversight, since her senior boy Jupiter also started out as a free roamer!) Well, that catio was completed in time for some summer sunning by her pampered pets, and did they ever love it! 4 happy cats safely inside but not feeling trapped or confined – they have the world at their paw-tips. And as fall rolls in, they may not go out in the rain – but there are lots of days of no rain, and imagine the fun of playing in the snow for a bit! 🙂

Donna designed and built her own catio – she’s a woman with an eye for design, and having seen the catio in person we can guarantee it is sturdy! The netting is a plastic deer fencing, tough but super easy to work with. Take a look, and look also on Dawn M’s catioblog – there are great tips for making your own catio there.

Catios – the perfect solution for all. The cats are happy – even those who were outdoor cats seem to relax and enjoy life inside, when they can have this taste of the great outdoors. The owners are happy – their cats are safe, not exposed to disease, predators, cars, poisons, ill-intentioned humans… safe cats, and healthier – less vet bills! The neighbors are happy – no cats pooping in their gardens, no cats fighting in the middle of the night, no cats walking on their cars… Animal Control is happy – fewer complaints to monitor, and the cats are safe. In fact – is there anyone who ISN’T happy about Catios? Make one today – you won’t be sorry!”

Portable Catio idea

My friends at the Community Cat Coalition posted this idea yesterday. 

“EZ Catio

*Note: If you put your cursor over the video, a pause and play button will pop up.

We often hear people say that they’d love a catio, but they just don’t have the time to make one. Or, they are renting and aren’t allowed to build anything permanent. Sometimes it is the cost or the difficulty in transporting materials in a car. Guess what, this 5 X 5 X 5 foot catio can be assembled in 45 minutes and you can take it apart and roll it up for next year in less than 15 minutes. Small and easy to carry, you can take it with you and easily store in a closet in the off season. Okay, it isn’t pretty until you dress it up, but it is fast and easy and your cats won’t care if it was inexpensive. The example in this post was about $100 to build, but you can do it for a lot less by cutting longer poles to size or by sharing deer fencing with a cat friend. 


–12 – 1 inch X 5 feet PVC Pipe. (* $3 each at our local hardware store.)  
–8 – 1 inch Side Outlet Elbow Joint PVC ( $2.18 each at our local hardware store.) 
–100 – Zip Ties ($5 for the pack.)
–35 feet of 6 foot deer fencing. (About $35 if you share a high strength 100 foot roll ($100) with a friend. Much less if you use the deer netting instead.) 
*It is MUCH cheaper if you buy 10 foot or longer PVC pipes and cut them in half. I went the fast and easy route on this example.
You can purchase deer netting and deer fencing at feed stores, on or at big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. It generally comes in 100 X 6 foot rolls. You will only need 35 feet for this project. Buy the 1/34 inch heavy duty version for young cats, escape artists or unsocialized cats. They cost about $100 – $120 for a 100 foot roll. Deer netting also comes in 100 X 6 foot rolls with a smaller mesh for around $45 – $55. These vary greatly in strength and durability, so don’t buy this type online unless you know it is a heavier guage. Some sold as deer netting are actually just bird netting. Buy the durable version that you can’t tear by hand. You can substitute bird netting for mellow or supervised cats, but I don’t recommend it for active cats, unsupervised cats, cats who chew plastic or in areas with outdoor predators or rodents who could potentially chew through it. 
This is just a an easy sample. You can upgrade it any time by purchasing additional poles or connectors. Google PVC catio to see other examples. For different connector options, check out these links. Share your pics in the links below.
​Message us for printable directions in PDF format. We will post on directions our website later. Send us pics if you make one or have other fast and easy catio ideas to share.