Cat + Patio = Catio
Outdoor enclosures for cats, now refered to as a catio, have become quite popular recently. It's a fantastic way to give cats some outdoor space while remaining safe and protected. This works particularly well for cats who remain indoors most of their lives. They can soak up the sun, smell the fresh air, watch birds and insects and generally enjoy the outdoors. You know catios are a rising trend when articles appear in the New York Times about it. Check out the musings here:
"Catio" Enclosures Protect Cats Outside (courtesy New York Times, 2010)
If you have a small deck or patio, it's easy to staple up screening to enclose the area. Sometimes even a screen box around a window is enough access for a cat. My catio is small but the cats have direct access to it through the living room window. Other catios may require human assistance for cats to enter. My catio only took a few hours to complete the construction, having purchased some wire fencing and lumber from Marine Home Center. Anyone with basic carpentry skills can make a catio. Alternatively, you can order pre-made catios with assembly instructions. The Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals shelter has several catios for our shelter cats to lounge around on. Getting out of their crates and interacting together is very beneficial to their well being. A catio is a life long gift your cats, consider putting one in at your home. Questions on how to build, post below!
(Photos courtesy of New York Times)