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In Honor Of National Catio Day

March 15 2024

Fluffy’s favorite day may be March 15th, which is National Catio Day! A lot of our feline patients have their own catios, which are cat cages. In this post, a local Clinton, UT veterinarian provides some details about Fluffy’s personal space.

Catios: What Are They?

The word “catio” comes from the words “cat” and “patio.” The plan is to give Fluffy a confined area that still has some outdoor features. This gives your feline buddy a safe place to do the things she loves, like taking naps, watching birds and mice (and sometimes making noises like clacking doors), relaxing in the sun, meditating, and judging you.

Why Make A Catio?

Giving your furry buddy a spot where she can enjoy a view while getting some fresh air is great for her, and will definitely get that motor going … while keeping her safe.

Fluffy can relax in the sun for hours, taking naps and relaxing, watching the wildlife in the area, and daydreaming about hunting. That stimulation and comfort are very important for your cute pet’s mental and emotional health.

What Should I Put On A Catio?

Given the choice, Fluffy would probably want walls of cat shelves that go all the way around, catwalks, cat wheels, and a fish pond with fish in it. You don’t have to go that crazy, though. 

Here are a few less outrageous options:

  • Consider setting up a comfortable window seat. 
  • Kitty furniture! A cat tower is also a great choice.  
  • Fluffy loves birdwatching, so you may want to hang a bird feeder in her line of sight. (Of course, this is only a good idea if your feline friend stays inside. If not, you might be leading the poor birds to their death!)
  • This is also a great place to put plants. Just make sure you only choose pet-safe ones.

Why Should I Keep My Cat Inside?

Our feline pals like to explore, and they like keeping an eye on their territory. Fluffy also likes to roll around in driveways, leave pawprints on clean cars, and drop dead animals on her owners’ doorsteps. 

To be fair, kitties do benefit from exercise and stimulation, both of which they get outdoors. Unfortunately, those adventures can be very dangerous for a curious little cat. Kitties that are free to roam are at risk from many different things. Some of these hazards include traffic, the weather, chemicals, wild animals, diseases, and even other cats. Fluffy could also get stuck somewhere, like in a shed next door. Kitties that go out are also at risk of contracting parasites. Your cute pet could also get lost, hurt, or even killed!

It’s also important to note that grounding Fluffy also helps keep local wildlife safe. Every year, kitties kill billions of small animals. As animal lovers, we really should all do what we can to help the many species that are in danger of going extinct. 

What’s the Difference Between A Catio and Cat Enclosure?

Cat enclosures are set up outside of the house. your furry buddy will get to experience the outdoors, but will still be protected by some sort of barrier, normally mesh, chicken wire, screens, or something similar.

If you have a fairly adventurous furball and a place to put a cat cage, this is a terrific alternative. Cat enclosures don’t necessarily mean making structural changes to your house. A lot of people set them up so that their cats can use a window to get in and out. 

  • When building a kitty enclosure, there are a few things to keep in mind. For instance, you may want to consider installing a cat door. This will let you control Fluffy’s access, so you can keep her safe inside at night or when the weather is bad, and let her go outside when it’s nice.
  • Cat enclosures do need some kind of base. The ground might need to be leveled out a bit.
  • Have fun decorating! This is a great place for outdoor rugs and air plants!
  • Make sure to incorporate some shade or a cover.
  • Making sure Fluffy stays free of parasites is important! Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can all get into a cat enclosure. Keep up with your feline buddy’s parasite control! (This applies to all cats, even ones that stay inside.) 
  • If you would like to use mesh or fencing, choose something composed of galvanized or vinyl-coated wire.
  • Snakes are a concern in this part of the country. You may also need to make the enclosure snake proof.

What Kinds Of Plants Can I Grow In My Catio?

Plants are an important part of any catio. Calathea Zebra plants, Money Tree plants, Rubber Tree plants, Cast Iron plants, Snake plants, Prayer plants, and Spider plants are all safe options. Other suitable choices include the Boston fern, the Bird’s Nest fern, and the Kimberly Queen fern. For flowers, African violets, roses, hibiscus, and impatiens are all safe to grow. You can even include herbs, such as dill, basil, valerian, echinacea, thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary, or cilantro. 

Potted trees are also popular options. You can choose from Areca palms, Ponytail palms, and Parlor palms. Just avoid Sago palms, which are toxic to both dogs and cats.

Visit this link to learn more about safe and unsafe plant options on the ASPCA site.

Keep your kitty’s safety in mind when arranging the plants as well. Place big, heavy pots on the ground. Don’t put plants on flimsy stands. If your cat tries to chew or paw at a hanging leaf, she could knock the plant over or pull it over on herself!

What Plants Aren’t Safe For Catios?

You should also know what to exclude. The first thing on that list is the lily. These pretty flowers are extremely dangerous for our feline friends. Even just drinking the water could be life-threatening for your kitty! 

The Peace lily, the Asiatic lily, the Day lily, the Japanese Show lily, the Rubrum lily, the Tiger lily, the Wood lily, and many hybrids are all very dangerous to your furry pal. Lily of the Valley is also unsafe for cats, even though it’s not a real lily. 

Lilies aren’t the only concern. Eucalyptus, tulips, daffodils, oleanders, philodendrons, and Devil’s Ivy, which is also known as pothos, taro vine, or golden pothos, are some other plants that can be very dangerous. 

If you are not sure if something is safe or not, err on the side of caution and pick something else.

Are Cats Content In Catios?

A lot of cats love them! We can’t publicly ask our feline patients what they think, but we suspect that, if we could, most of them would say yes.

What Place Is Best For My Catio?

Anywhere you want! A porch or patio with screens or walls around it is a great choice, but those aren’t the only possibilities. You can also use a loft, a sunroom, an extra room, or any sunny spot!

Why Do We Spoil Cats So Much? 

You have to admit, it’s pretty cute how Fluffy can get us to pet her and spoil her. Whether it’s that cute face, loving cuddles, charming meows, or silly antics, these cute little fur balls really just make us smile and fill our lives with love and happiness.

Do you want to know more about taking care of or the health of your cat? Call us right ‘meow’! As your Clinton, UT animal hospital, we are happy to help!

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