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Inspiring spaces for happy chirpy cats

Want to build a catio but don't
know where to start? Here is a gallery of
inspiration to get you on the right
pathway to your cat's heart!

Inspiration for building your first catio

Last updated August 1st, 2020

We look forward to Spring each year, which brings with it, the promise of beautiful colorful blooms and a very happy clowder of chirpy kitties. Each will find their own zen space, their little niche in the shade or the sun. With ramps and climbing platforms to play in and romp about and a plentiful supply of fresh catnip from the hanging baskets, no kitty can complain of boredom. There is also space for the humans to enjoy this enclosed kitty garden of tranquility with their furry companions if they wish. Would you like to wake up with the birds and have your morning cuppa with kitties? Yes, please! Would you like some tips on how to begin building your catio? Read my previous post on Building your Cats’ dream Catio.

  • cat hanging out in catioOllie's favourite pose, always one paw hanging down in true thug life fashion. This guy can give a lesson or two on how to really own your space, but needs some lecturing on time sharing.
  • Mr jack the cat, in tunnelWe like to keep the grass longer than usual in the tunnel for that wild jungle experience.
  • Catio exteriorAn L-shaped tunnel links to the main catio via a small door on the inside. We flip the tunnel each week for a different view for kitties.
  • cat finds hanging catnip basketWhat's that warm familiar scent, mmm? Oh it's catnip! Sarabi discovers the fresh catnip hanging baskets
  • Silver vineSilver vine Kolomikta Polygama on the left which cats love, and sunflowers to the right to provide shade.
  • Earl Grey, The KingEarl Grey our 15 year old cat loves to bird watch from the highest condo. Here he appears to be in sun meditation mode.
  • Two tabby catsGeorge and Mr Jack look at something in the tunnel.
  • outdoor catio fountainA fountain adds a touch of tranquility. Swedish ivy on top provides the most heavenly peppery lemon scent, while the chartreuse Creeping Jenny below is perfect in a flowing fountain.
  • Kitty in condoMove along now son, seat's taken.
  • catio breakfast with the kittiesBrunch in the catio, yes, the hoomans are welcome too. A bistro set for two completes the setting.
  • cat platform in catioEvery cat that sits on this platform gets the cat 'goofies'. It's the goof platform.
  • catnip basket in catioScout discovers her all-you-can-eat catnip buffet on the super highway
  • bengal cat, SarabiSarabi the graceful old Bengal lady who still jumps like a youngster.
  • cat on super highway in catioMajestic Earl Grey surveys from the super higway
  • Catio exterior, zinnia flowersA silver vine, Actinidia Kolomikta, growing on the left is also a cat attractant. The giant zinnias have not reached their full height of five feet.
  • Sarabi the BengalSarabi relaxing on the super highway, the highest platform in the catio.

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About the author

The Lady Cat

Whiskers make me smile.
Coffee is good for you.
And cats are for life.
Helping cats live enriched lives with their people.
(Yasaar Nakchbendi)


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  • Thank you Rachel! The hoomans are the lucky ones because these kitties are paying it forward with their love and entertainment each and everyday 🙂

  • ooh, you grow your own silver vine?? I looked into that a while ago and couldn’t find a single source to get a plant from.

    • Hi Connie,
      Yes we have grown our own and the cats love it! The silver vine that is usually hailed as the best and most sought after is Actinidia Polygama but we couldn’t find that particular one at our nursery. So the one we have planted, which is the same genus but called Actinidia Kolomikta, is just as potent! When Spring starts, all the cats are attracted to the silver vine corner, batting at the twigs, seemingly in a state of complete euphoria 🙂
      We planted it in the summer of 2014 and pleased to say they are really fast growers and very hardy, lasting through our harsh Montreal winters (we are in hardiness zone 5). If you do find it in your local nursery, they will probably be the species appropriate for your hardiness zone. Have you tried finding it online perhaps? let me know!

    • Thank you! Well, I hope someday you can build one for your kitty. They really do appreciate the extra space outside. We had to build our’s on the large side because as you can imagine, nine cats are competing for space here 🙂 So they each choose their little nook or they have their own ‘time-share’ schedule 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  • Love ur catio! Wish i could build one just like it,but unfortunately our yard isn’t very big. Im thinking about just screening in our back porch and making them one there,but not sure if my landlord would approve :/. Do u own your home or rent? Cuz im curious if i can make one even tho we rent.

    • Thank you Samantha for checking out the gallery! We do own our home so that makes it easier. But screening in your porch is definitely an option and I’ve seen many people do it. I’m sure your landlord would be open to that since the screen itself can be removed and it’s not too obtrusive. In fact, promote the idea to your landlord that cats who do have access to a outdoor space, no matter how small, provides a stimulating environment for cats which prevents boredom, and this means less potential for destructive or unwanted behaviours setting in 😉 Good luck!

  • I have been visiting your website and follow Chirpy Cats on FB. I love your catio!! We are currently converting our playset to a catio for our five cats. In some places we used pet safe screen on parts of the catio. Your catio fence is 2″ x 4″. Do you worry about bugs, i.e. bees or mosquitos stinging your cats? On that note, do you have flea collars or use some type of flea repellant on your cats? Our project has taken nearly all summer and I am so anxious to finish so that the cats can enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your catio and pics!

    • Thanks for dropping by and following us on FB. That’s rather cool, converting a playset to a catio, awesome! I’m sure your cats are going to love it! We were just as anxious to get ours done the first time, but we ended up doing it in three stages. First came the basic structure with ramps, then the plants, thirdly the tunnels. Be warned, once you get the catio bug, you will keep coming up with new ideas to ‘fine tune’ it 🙂 So this year we added more tunnels and escape routes.

      Regarding mosquitos, we do have those, but the cats seem to take care of them i.e hunting them and squishing them! Also, catnip and lemongrass are natural mosquitos and flea repellents so it’s a good idea to plant these in abundance. The cats also love the lemongrass.
      They have never been stung by bees as they mostly leave the bees alone.
      We don’t use any collars or flea repellent at all and they have never had any problem with fleas. I’m not sure if it is just my yard that happens to not harbour any flea eggs. Outdoor cats that I have had in the past I have treated with one single dose of Advantage flea treatment for cats. And this worked like a charm to keep those nasties away. So definitely I would treat your cats if fleas are generally a problem in your area.

      Worth noting that it would also be a good idea to plant the following natural flea repelling plants in pots around your catio: Chamomile, Sage, lemongrass, catnip, all variety of mints (including catmint), lavender and rosemary. I have personally planted all of these in our catio and they’re all non-toxic to cats. For more on cat safe plants, visit my post about cat friendly plants

      Good luck with the new catio project 🙂

      • Thank you for your response. The plant ideas are great. My cats have always been indoor although I have let them run around on our huge concrete patio, which they love. The playset though is located in the grass instead of on pavement so I’ll have to watch them; I may have to treat cats with flea treatment. I can only hope that our catio gets to looking like yours one day! Thanks again, 😀

  • Your Catio is just what I envision for my fur kids! Incorporating the garden is purrfect! I’ve been browsing site searching for photos of the Catio PRE garden to show my builder? Could you direct me to that? Please and TY❤️

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