“An indoor cat is more likely to be protected from injury, such as that from road traffic accidents and neighborhood cats, as well as less likely to contract infectious diseases that are passed from cat to cat,” Ellis said. “However, an indoor-only cat may be more likely to experience boredom and frustration from the inability to exhibit hunting behaviors, running and exploring.”
That’s why catios are great, said Fresno, Calif., resident Harvie Schreiber. The two catios that she and her husband built onto their home give their four cats the best of both worlds, she said.
“We have indoor cats only, and we believe they live longer, healthier, safer lives, but we wanted to give them a chance to enjoy the outdoors in a safe way,” she said.
The Schreibers started by turning the small patio off their bedroom into a catio. Heavy-duty wiring was used to enclose the space, which already had a roof.
They added some cat favorites like trees and cardboard boxes, and the area became a favorite spot for their feline family members.
That’s when the Schreibers knew they wanted to build a larger catio, off the main living area in their home and overlooking the backyard pool.
Since it was so visible and centrally located, they wanted the catio to be attractive, as well as functional.
Harvie Schreiber had the entire thing, including the ceiling, painted Tree Frog Green. She hung decorative artwork and included a couch for humans. The catio also includes 7-foot-tall cat condos and tons of toys.
The cats “love being out there and getting the fresh air,” Schreiber said. “Even when it’s horribly hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter, they still want to be out there.”
Tips for building a catio