Recently around our office, Staci and Tara have been discussing future blog post topics and designs for the upcoming holidays, so I wanted to get my two cents in before the holiday mayhem begins. Keeping in line with my last post about living with cats and their sometimes destructive behavior towards our furniture, I decided to continue with that theme. This time, however, I’d like to focus on the interior design aspect of catios, which are cat runs and outdoor cat enclosures! (P.S., these spaces can be made to work for small dogs, as well.)
Outdoor cat enclosures, while technically not part of the interior of your house, is a fabulous, safe way for your cat to enjoy nature. While domesticated cats might be fine indoors, watching the outside world dangle squirrels, birds, and falling leaves presents a tempting playground they’ll often want to explore. But we humans know the outside has its fair share of dangers. Letting your cat explore outside freely means letting them face down busy streets, cars, and other animals without protection. Catios and other forms of outdoor cat enclosures are a nice alternative to allowing your cat outside but ensuring their safety. However that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative! Keep these points in mind when creating an enclosure for your cat.
Ideally you want materials that are weather-proof, sturdy, and most importantly will allow your cat to see through it and experience the outside world. Chicken wire is a popular choice that’s versatile and easy to buy, as well as small enough to prevent other animals from entering from the outside. For larger enclosures, metal fencing might be an easier alternative, though be sure to consider roofing! Other materials that can be used include wooden or metal posts to secure the wire, vinyl siding or roofing to protect from weather, and flooring material such as grass or wood.
Design and Spacing
There’s no set rule on how cat enclosures must be designed, aside from making sure it keeps your cat safe and contained inside. Cat enclosures can be a simple tunnel that ranges from a couple of feet to running along the entire length of your house. Other enclosures aim for height or larger spacious set-ups that give cats a free space to explore and lounge. Just keep in mind the restrictions of your space as well as your budget.
Not just for your cat but for you! Most cat enclosures allow cats to go in and out freely through a cat door built in through the wall or window. Cats should be able to access the cat door easily from both inside and out. However, it’s important that you, the human, will be able to get into the cat enclosure if need be.
Cat enclosures are meant to be a space for your feline friends to relax, play, and lounge in, so make sure to build your cat run in a place that they will be comfortable enough to frequent. Avoid loud or heavy traffic areas that might scare your cat when they’re outside. A good thing to consider, as well, is weather concerns such as sunlight, flooding, or potential falling tree limbs.
The enclosure is only the start! Decorating the inside of the cat run with the right stuff is the difference between a good cat enclosure and a great one! For larger enclosures, consider shelves or bridges to allow your cat a space to lounge. Remember—cats love heights! Other things your cat might love are scratching posts and cat grass. Please be sure to verify that any vegetation you select for your cat’s enclosure is safe for them. Check out YourCat for a nifty article on creating a cat-friendly garden, as they list the top 10 plants that are safe for our feline friends!