Everything You Need for A Catio

Are you wondering about everything you need for a catio? Check out this sponsored post to learn more!
Have your cats been trying to escape to the great outdoors? Maybe it's time to build them an outdoor cat enclosure! Here's a list of everything you need for a catio! {ad}
When my husband Alan asked me what I wanted for my birthday in May, I knew what to tell him. After several escape attempts by our spirited Nixie, I wanted to give her a space to explore the outdoors with her cat brother, Milo, but still be safe. I wanted an outdoor cat enclosure, aka, a catio.

Nothing but the best for my furbabies.

I should get an award for the best cat mom ever since I gave up MY birthday present so my kitties could have a space to watch the world go by. I’d been pinning ideas for months, and since Seattle even has a catio tour each summer, I knew I’d be able to find some purrfect ideas for ours.
While lots of the catios we saw while searching Pinterest were ground level, we felt that elevating our catio was safer for our cats. We wanted to keep them up off the ground to lessen the chance of off-leash dogs jumping on the enclosure, as well as making it harder for predators to pester the cats. And of course, it being elevated means the neighbor’s cat can’t make his mark on the inside either. Sorry Pewter.

Happy kitties on their catio {ad}Living in Seattle, an outdoor cat enclosure can be used year round, because we have a pretty temperate climate, so we weren’t worried about the cats not enjoying it fully.

We custom built the catio over the course of several weekends, and then have been adding the finishing touches to make it unique. The sacrifices we make for our cats. 

If you have a catio that is lacking some purrsonal touches, you will want to refer to this checklist. Your feline friends will love you for it.

Do you have everything you need for a catio?

Large Perches
We have two perches that run the length of our patio. We used composite decking for our perches, because it’s easy to clean. It’s wide enough for both cats to lay on it and both be there at the same time. Having two perches not only allows them to be active because they have to jump back and forth, but also allows them to have great view of the yard and neighborhood. The highest perch even allows them to peek inside the kitchen window. Which they love.

Large perches are ideal for an outdoor cat enclosure {ad}

Every patio needs fun decorative lighting and an outdoor cat enclosure is no different. I picked up some fun solar lights at Target in the outdoor section for both the catio and the chicken coop. They look really cute and they really light up our side yard after dusk. I know I know, the lights are really for me, and not them, but it’s all about the ambiance, right?

Solar lights add a specialness to your catio. #LitterOdorRevolution {ad}

A place to sleep
Cats have a knack of ignoring the fancy pet beds we buy them, and sleeping on whatever suits them, whenever they want. My cats are no different. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want Nixie and Milo to have cozy accommodations in their catio should they want them. I took advantage of the outdoor section in Target again, and picked out a red indoor/outdoor cushion for them to lounge on. I think it took less than 30 seconds for Milo to claim it as his own. Poor poor Nixie. As the nights grow cooler, I’ll explore other bed options for them.

Indoor outdoor cushions are perfect for catios! #LitterOdorRevolution

We’re still designing a giant sisal scratching post (we need to figure out how to protect it from the elements) but for now, and handful of kitty toys in the catio will keep them entertained.

Water (and food dishes)
We still feed Nixie and Milo their dry food inside, and their water fountain is also inside but they get canned food on the catio. I confess, I’m lazy and I just give them the cans to eat out of. They don’t seem to mind. They still need water outside though, so I have a special water dish for them to have fresh water. This “Psycho Kitty” ceramic pet dish is one I bought for my dear Prudence cat (RIP) when I was in college. It’s nearly 20 years old. It’s important to use non-plastic pet dishes. It’s easier to keep them clean. Target has a cute selection of pet dishes, or you can explore housewares too.

Make sure your cats have water on their catio. #LitterOdorRevolution {ad}

The Litter Box
I confess, one of my favorite things about our new outdoor cat enclosure is tha the cat box NOT in the house anymore! I’m no longer scooping the cat litter into the toilet every day. (Don’t worry, we use biodegradable litter!)

I needed to find a good solution for keeping the litter box clean when I refresh the cats water. The Litter Genie® Cat Litter Disposal System makes the daily scoop hassle free! Having a litter station set up with Litter Genie® Pail is makes it easy take care of their cat box and reduce odors. I have some steel shelving set up right next to the catio to make box scooping easy. I just open the door, put the catbox on the shelving, scoop it into the Litter Genie® Pail, refresh the litter and I’m done! It’s so simple. Plus, since one Litter Genie® Pail refill contains 7 bags, each bag holding approximately 14 days worth of litter (for one cat) I don’t have the hassle of remembering to take a bag outside to scoop the litter each day.

Everything you need for a catio should include a Litter Genie® Pail #LitterOdorRevolution {ad}The end goal before winter comes is to enclose the cat box within the catio. For now though, we replaced the open air box that was in our bathroom with a covered box that would protect their litter from the elements and give them a little privacy. I’m also considering a little overhang to protect the litter box cleaning area during our rainy days. Aka all of winter.

Litter box maintenance made easy! #LitterOdorRevolution {ad}

Nixie and Milo were so excited about the catio that the first few days they were always outside. For a brief period of time, we were worried they’d never snuggle with us again at bedtime. Thankfully, we were wrong, and our kitties have the best of both worlds. They have their own private porch where they can enjoy the fresh air and the sights of the neighborhood. Their evening naps however, are still on the couch.

Sweet sleeping kitties. #LitterOdorRevolution {ad}Do you have everything you need for a catio? What would you add to this list?

About Kerri Jablonski

Kerri Jablonski AKA The Maven lives in Seattle,WA with her 3 kids (2008, 2010, 2013), husband, cats and backyard chickens. Two of her children have special needs. Kerri enjoys cooking, travel, movies and spending time with her family.


  1. Jenna Wood says:

    I would trade a birthday present for a catio too! Too bad we have a boring HOA that won’t let me build one 🙁 If I did have one though it would have LOTS of scratching and climbing spaces! #client

  2. Hi Kerrie,
    would you be willing to provide specifications for your catio project? I would really like to build this for my two furbabies.

    Marsha Turner

    • Hi Marsha,

      I’d have to talk to my husband as we built it custom for our home. We used Trex decking for the base and perches, and treated cedar for the rest. The mesh is hardware cloth. The roof is corrugated plastic. It’s attached to our house with lag bolts. 🙂 I want to say the whole project cost us between $800-1000. We did not use inexpensive materials however. I don’t know how helpful that is.


  3. Hi Kerri,
    I’m building a catio this Spring for my 2 cats. I live in Central NY and we have 6 months of cold, winter months. I want the catio to go out through the office wall but my husband thinks it’s better to have it go out a window instead. My concern is that during the colder months I’d have to leave a window open or I’d have to close the window on them. The point of the catio is for them to come and go as they please. How is your catio “attached” to your home? Thank you!

    • Hi Brett! We have a cat door cut through our house. Our catio is secured to house with lag bolts. For security reasons, I’d probably stick to a cat door and not the window. I can try and remember to take some more photos if you’d like to show the cat door and how it’s attached. Attachment obviously will depend on your house. Your kitties will LOVE IT. Mine were using it even during our twenty degree weather earlier this month.

      • I’d love some pictures! I think the only way to go is through the outside wall. I think it’d be nice to show my husband how yours is and maybe he’d be more comfortable with it. Thanks again!

      • Sure! I’ll get some. Is it okay if I email them to you? I can show you where it goes from our kitchen too.

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