Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day Pets

The Catio: A Patio for Cats

Keep your pet safe and happy with a catio. Source:

Here’s an interesting idea for cat owners worried about their kitty eating all the birds in the neighborhood or risking being run over by a car or carried off by a predator every time it leaves the house: the catio, an enclosed cat patio. It’s the height of fashion in New York City and is now gaining popularity in Paris as well. Why not at your home?

Even a balcony can become a catio. Source:

And please, do not confuse “catio” with “cage.” The catio is a large enough enclosure to allow the cat to play, relax in the sun, climb and observe birds (without being able to kill them, however). I’m already assuming your kitty has access to the interior of your home much of the time, so he’s not cramped for space. Now, though, he can enjoy spending untold hours out in the open, yet sheltered from all the dangers that make the free-ranging cats’ lives so short*.

* Life expectancy of a cat allowed to wander: less than 5 years, life expectancy of a cat kept safely confined: up to 18 to 20 years. Source:

Ask your veterinarian for their opinion: you’ll discover they consider a catio is one of the best services you can give your cat.

A cat door leading to the house allows kitty to go in and out as he chooses. Source:

The catio must contain, of course, a shelter from the sun and rain, toys, a litter box (if pussy doesn’t have access to one in the house) and a regularly renewed bowl of water. The ultimate catio is one offering entrance to the home through a cat door, so that your feline can enter and leave as he or she pleases. And put out a pot of cat grass, just to make things purrfect!

With a catio, your cat will be both happy and safe. So what are you waiting for to build one?

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “The Catio: A Patio for Cats

  1. Pingback: An Aviary That Lets Birds In, But Keeps Pests Out – Laidback Gardener

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