Buying Guide Pet Supplies

Cat Houses, Catios and Enclosures: A Feline Friendly Buying Guide

Your cat is an important member of your family, and we want to give them the best experience while they live with us. Whether they live entirely indoors or spend a couple of hours outdoors, cats enjoy security and a comfortable space to play, nap, and observe their surroundings. While they enjoy the company of your family, they will appreciate having a separate area to call their own.

Cat patios or “catios” are the perfect solution. They can be built indoors, outdoors, or even appended to a home. Whether these are full-fledged patios or stand-alone enclosures, these structures are designed to give cats a sense of adventure, security, and provide safe access to the outside world.

Why Buy a Catio?

Cats are known to sleep anywhere — your lap, bed, couch, and even freshly laundered clothing are all viable options. A cathouse provides a safe and secure place for them to rest. They are not keen to sleep in the open where they might be vulnerable. An enclosed space away from bustling family activities are ideal, allowing the cat to take their normal 16-hour naps throughout the day. 

Cat houses can also be built with multiple levels to provide opportunities for their natural climbing abilities. They will eventually be able to pick up their favorite perch and survey their surroundings. When placed near a window, cats will be entertained for hours as they look at birds and squirrels scurry by.

Most cat houses and cat enclosures are built with scratching posts that are built into their feature, helping cats keep their claws trimmed and engaged in their natural scratching behavior without ruining your personal property. If you have an outdoor cat, a cathouse will also provide shelter from the elements. This is particularly important if you are hosting a friendly feral cat that can accommodate your presence but are keen to hunt outdoors.

What Are the Different Types of Catios?

Indoor catios. Indoor cat enclosures allow your cat to be entertained while also being restrained indoors. There is a myriad of reasons for doing this — indoor cat enclosures can be used to acquaint a new cat to its new household, protect elderly cats from rambunctious kittens, providing access to a cat that may need medicine that likes to hide in an elevated spot; with cages also being used to restrained fearful cats so they can become habituated to living with humans.

Indoor cat enclosures can be a standalone wire cages that are built with platforms, ramps, and flooring that can have kitty litter on it. They are affordable and will keep your cat safe. They are also easy to collapse and move when need be. 

The cat condo is similar to the metal cages but has an open floor plan without the metal brackets. They are resistant to fading, scratching, mildew, and water. 

Outdoor enclosures. Outdoor enclosures are designed to give your cat access to the outdoors whenever they need. They are designed a lot like their indoor counterparts but have features that will allow them to be better insulated. These outdoor cat houses are also waterproof and are designed to withstand the elements. Some may not have waterproofing and are intended to be built under an awning or a roof.

The cat tree. This represents more than just a cathouse, this type of furniture has several levels which may include toys, scratching posts, and holes where cats can wiggle through. They are designed to either be enclosed or have an open frame. Many trees may be small with just a few levels, or some might be so big that they can take up the wall of an entire room.

The Material of The Catio Is Important

The material of your Furniture and enclosures are of utmost importance — you want an enclosure that is built with materials that are easy to clean, are durable, and can withstand scratching. You also want to make sure that any porous materials are laminated. Untreated wood, while beautiful, is not ideal because it might break down due to cats scratching it, creating a choking hazard, as well as absorb the spraying from cats, causing odors.

Catios are designed with plastic, carpeted plywood, plush fabric, canvas, and different types of treated wood. For outdoor enclosures, they are usually made from plastic or treated wood. For the best durability, invest in a catio that uses a combination of wood or plywood.

Sizing. When it comes to the size of your cat enclosures and furniture, you can let your imagination run free. Many standalone, indoor cat enclosures can take up a small corner of your home. But for those who have space, you can have large enclosures that are built with scratching posts, kitty box litters, ramps, archways, and toys built in that can be built indoors but also have parts of it be built outdoors for the cat to have access to the outside world whenever they want. Many homeowners have gone full out, with the ramps that scattered near their ceilings, and entryways that go indoors and outdoors. Ideally, you want a cat enclosure that has several entryways.

Style. While your cat won’t care much about the aesthetics of their enclosure or catio, you have the option of picking a cat house that matches the color scheme or decor of your home. Thankfully you can find cat houses and enclosures in different styles and color schemes. You have the option of picking high-end cat houses that look like a table, or basic plus models that are made from canvas.

What Other Features Should You Look for When Picking a Cat Enclosure

Heating. If you’re going to purchase an outdoor cat enclosure in an area with inclement weather, then ideally you want it to have a built-in heating enclosure where a cat can go to warm up and protect. Depending on the cat house, they may need to be electrically powered, with several houses having built-in insulating materials that do not require an active heating element.

Accessibility. For indoor enclosures, you might need to move the enclosure in a pinch. For easier access, make sure that these are built with wheels so you can easily transport the cat house.

Scratching posts. As with any cat owner, you probably know that cats like to scratch. It stretches their paws, helps to de-shed their claws, and will ensure that their weapons are properly working. You will find also that an enclosure that has a built-in scratching post will deter your cat from destroying your furniture.

Hanging toys. Hanging toys will entertain your cat, and will save time and money. No longer do you need to buy a separate toy for them to be entertained since the cathouse will have several toys built-in. 

Built-in litter tray. If the enclosure is big enough, then a litter tray will be appropriate. While they are not known to defecate in areas where they nap and play, a large enough outdoor catio can have an appropriate litter box.

Costs of Catios and Cat Enclosures

Some of the more basic, wire mesh patios can be several dozen dollars. However, they may not be feature-rich or offer enrichment for your cat. Typically these are only made with a couple of ramps for your cat. Mid-range cat houses can be upwards of $100. These are larger, are usually indoor enclosures, and have a big enough footprint for one or two cats to play it. More expensive cat houses are made with top-quality wood and are elaborate. For outdoor enclosures, they can be several hundred dollars. These are cat enclosures that are the size of a room and are built with perches, ramps, tunnels, toys; with some even having insulated enclosures to protect your cat from inclement weather.

Regardless of its cost, consider where you are going to place the cat house. They can be rather large and take up space in the home. Ideally, indoor enclosures should be placed away from foot traffic, in an inconspicuous corner that allows a cat to survey the surrounding from a safe spot. An outdoor cat house should be positioned in a secluded spot, typically somewhere in the backyard. This will ensure that they have access to birds, squirrels, and small critters that may entertain them while also being away from loud cars, nosy neighbors, and persistent foot traffic. Outdoor enclosures should be against a wall, in a back corner of a fence, or near the entrance of your home’s garage.
From improving and maintaining a cat’s physical and mental health to ensuring your cat’s happiness and safety, there are plenty of reasons why you want to invest in a catio or enclosure. They can be small to accommodate apartment living, or large and luxurious with several floors that have entryways to the outside world. The one that you choose for your feline family members largely depends on your budget and available space. No matter the type of enclosure that you get for your cat, it will significantly impact their health and overall mood.

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