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National Catio Day: A Purrfect Kitty Holiday

March 15, 2024

Fluffy’s favorite day may be March 15th: it’s National Catio Day! Many of our feline patients have purrsonal catios or cat enclosures. Catio is derived from the words cat and patio. The plan is to provide Fluffy with a sheltered area that mimics the outdoors while still allowing her some freedom. In this article, a local veterinarian discusses Fluffy’s private place.

Why Should I Keep My Feline Friend Indoors?

Kitties are quite adventurous, and they like patrolling their home turf. Fluffy also enjoys rolling around in dusty driveways, leaving pawprints on windshields, and depositing dead animals on her humans’ doorsteps. Unfortunately, these activities present some very serious risks to a curious young furball. 

Cats who are free to roam around face some major hazards. These include the weather, traffic, wild animals, parasites, pollutants, and even other cats. Fluffy could also potentially get trapped somewhere, like in a neighbor’s shed. 

There is also a higher danger of parasites, particularly if your feline companion hunts. Finally, if your cat is not fixed, she may reproduce. With pet overpopulation being a major issue, keeping your kitty in—and getting her fixed—is simply the correct thing to do.

Keep in mind that grounding Fluffy also aids in the preservation of native species. House Cats destroy billions of small animals each year. Given the number of threatened and endangered species, we should all do our part to help them.

Why Should I Create a Catio?

Perhaps the question here is why not? Your furry friend will really enjoy having a place where she can get a taste of nature and enjoy a nice view. A catio gives your beloved buddy the best of both worlds. She’ll be able to enjoy some sunlight and watch birds and squirrels while remaining safe and sound indoors.

You do not need to give up your space. Fluffy wouldn’t mind if you set up some comfortable furniture for yourself. 

What Benefits Do Catios Offer?

They keep Fluffy safe, while offering mental stimulation, enrichment, and purrs! Cats can spend hours sunbathing, napping, and meditating. They also enjoy spying on nearby wildlife and daydreaming about hunting. That space can go a long way toward keeping your feline companion content and entertained. Your pet’s mental and emotional wellness are just as important as her physical well-being.

What Should I Put On A Catio?

Given the option, Fluffy would probably demand wraparound cat shelves, kitty pathways, cat wheels, and a stocked fishpond. However, you don’t have to go to that extreme. We do propose setting up a comfortable window seat. A cat tower, of course, is an excellent solution. However, whether that’s ideal or not will depend on whether your chosen location is exposed to wind or rain at all. You may not want to place a carpet-covered tower where it will get rained on.

Another way to please your feline overlord is to hang a bird feeder in her line of sight. Of course, we only advise this if your feline friend stays indoors. Otherwise, you could be enticing the poor birds to their doom!

If your patio is separate from the rest of your home, consider installing a cat door so Fluffy may freely enter and exit her catio. You can even find doors that sync up with pet microchips, which can increase security.

Where Should I Place My Catio?

Anywhere you want! Although screened or enclosed patios and porches are ideal, they are by no means the only choices. You can also use a sunroom, a spare room, a loft, or a sunny corner!

What Plants Should I Put On A Catio?

No catio is complete without plants! Of course, you may need to bring them indoors for the winter, depending on what you have. That said, here are some suitable options:

Houseplants:

  • Money Tree Plants
  • Rubber Tree Plants
  • Spider Plants
  • Bromeliads
  • Cast Iron Plants
  • Snake Plants
  • Prayer Plants
  • Calathea Zebra Plant 
  • Boston Fern
  • Bird’s Nest Fern
  • Kimberly Queen Fern

Flowers:

  • African Violet
  • Orchids
  • Hibiscus
  • Roses

Herbs:

  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Valerian
  • Cilantro

Potted trees:

  • Areca palms
  • Ponytail palms
  • Rubber Trees
  • Parlor Palms

Avoid Sago palms, as they are extremely toxic to both dogs and cats.

Visit the ASPCA website here for additional information on both safe and unsafe plants. If you aren’t sure whether something is safe or not, hold off and get something you’re sure is okay. 

Keep Fluffy’s safety in mind when planting. Keep large, heavy pots on the floor. Don’t put things on fragile stands since your cat may knock or pull the plant over into herself if she tries to nibble or paw at a trailing leaf.

It’s equally crucial to understand what not to include. 

Lilies are at the top of the list. They are particularly harmful to our feline friends. Even drinking a bit of the water can have serious—and potentially life-threatening—repercussions. This comprises all lilies, including the Peace lily, Asiatic lily, Day lily, Japanese Show lily, Rubrum lily, Tiger lily, and Wood lily, as well as other hybrids. Lily of the Valley, while not a real lily, is still harmful to cats. Some other harmful plants include tulips, daffodils, eucalyptus, Devil’s Ivy (also known as pothos, taro vine, or golden pothos), oleanders, and philodendrons. 

Why Do We Spoil Kitties So Much?

Fluffy has a knack of wrapping us around her paws and making us want to pamper her. Is that a cute face? Those charming meows? Fluffy’s affectionate snuggles and purrs? We’re not sure what it is about these adorable little balls of fur, but we know they make us happy and bring a lot of love and joy into our lives.

Are Catios And Enclosures Different?

Cat enclosures essentially take Fluffy’s catio to the next level. These are actually set up outside the home. Fluffy is still shielded from predators by some kind of barrier, usually mesh, chicken wire, screens, or something comparable.

This is an excellent choice for individuals with adventurous furballs and a place to put a kitty cage. To install an enclosure, you do not need to make structural alterations to your property. Many folks set them up so that their furry buddies can access them through a window. 

You can purchase them, or if you’re handy, you can find blueprints online and build your own. There are several factors to consider here, though.

  • Make sure to incorporate some form of shade or covering.
  • Keep up with Fluffy’s parasite prevention! A cat enclosure will provide little protection against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. (Actually, this applies to all cats, including indoor ones.)
  • If you use mesh or fencing, choose something made of galvanized or vinyl-coated wire.
  • Consider a configuration that allows you to open and close Fluffy’s access door. That way, you can let her out when it’s nice outside while keeping her secure inside at night or in severe weather.
  • A catio requires flat ground and possibly a foundation. You may need to smooth the area out slightly.
  • Go ahead and decorate your catio! This is an excellent area for outdoor rugs!

 Ask your veterinarian for further information on cat enclosures.

Do you have any questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact your animal hospital today!

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