The Catio Man's Top Five Suggestions for a Killer Catio!
1. Provide a cat door into the catio, so your cat(s) has 24/7 access. Don't create a situation where you have to be their gatekeeper! * I only use pet doors that have a locking mechanism, so if, for any reason, you want to keep them in or out of the catio, you can!
2. Give 'em a view! Cats (even more than humans, I'd say) really appreciate a good view! Cats are content to observe the world from a safe place for hours! Throw in an adjacent bird feeder, and you've squared their enjoyment! * I prioritize creating comfortable space in the best "view sheds." I always include ideal places to hang a bird feeder or two: Kitty TV: They Love It!
3. It doesn't need a lot of floor space! Once you create elevated, safe and comfortable places for cats to hang out, they'll rarely spend time on the ground, unless, of course, a hapless beetle (or such) wanders in! Cats LOVE to watch from above! * All my catios include comfortable platforms at maximum, and various, heights, for the cats' best view and safety.
4. Use the largest mesh fencing you are comfortable with, that safely contains your cats, and keeps out predators. Consider the cats' view over the lifetime of the catio, as opposed to the potential threats. * I use 2" x 3" "garden" fencing. It is made of rust-proof, 18 gauge galvanized steel wire, welded into 2" x 3", and coated with black vinyl. It is the most 'transparent' covering that will contain an adult cat, and keep out all mammalian and avian predators. It does not keep out rattlesnakes, nor will it contain a small kitten!
5. Size is not the most important thing! Bigger is not necessarily better with catios. Even a small window box, that provides access to fresh air, sunshine, breezes, views of outside, etc. is WAY better than just total indoor living. * Your cat(s) deserves the experience of being outdoors. It is their natural state. Yet, they must be protected, simultaneously!