The indoor cat vs outdoor cat is a hot topic among owners, and the lifestyle you choose for your precious pet can depend on a range of factors, such as your cat’s age, health and personality, and where you live.
Perhaps you live in a city apartment or near a busy road? Perhaps you’re also worried that your pet is missing out on exercise, independence and mental stimulation? Here’s why a catio might be the perfect compromise between an indoor and outdoor lifestyle for your cat.
What’s the big idea?
While many moggies are perfectly happy being an indoor cat, every pet is different. If you regularly find yourself intercepting your cat as they make a dash for the front door or window, or perhaps they’re putting on a few pounds, it could be a sign that they’re lacking the mental and physical benefits that the outdoor world can bring.
Enter the catio.
A play on the words ‘cat’ and ‘patio’, these outdoor enclosure are a wonderful addition to any cat-loving home. They’re increasingly popular in the US, where some states have strict regulations on free-roaming cats.
Often used with a cat flap, catios can vary in size and design, ranging from balcony boxes to more elaborate garden structures that include climbing platforms, shelves and toys. Balcony enclosures for cats are ideal for city abodes, while the free-standing options are great for garden spaces. You can add covers to protect your catio from the Great British weather, too!
5 benefits of catios
A cat that’s both inside and out. While it could arguably be Schrodinger’s cat, it could also be a curious cat that’s enjoying a stimulating outdoor environment while being safely inside your catio enclosure.
So, if you find yourself with a curious kitty that’s itching to get outside, here’s why a catio might be the perfect solution!
- Mental stimulation
These outdoor sanctuaries allow indoor cats to experience the sights, sounds and smells of nature and indulge in instinctive behaviours like climbing, sunbathing and bird-watching.
- Boost your cat’s step count
Obesity is a common health issue for indoor-only cats. Catios will not only help them get the outdoor enrichment they crave but also encourage them to keep up their step count, as they’ll always have the opportunity to pop into the garden/balcony to stretch their paws.
- Safety first
Catios will give you the peace of mind that your feline friend isn’t exposed to potential dangers like traffic, confrontations with other animals or the risk of getting lost. It will also minimise the risk of unwanted animals entering the house.
- A trial run
If you’re thinking about allowing your cat to be an outdoor cat but are unsure, a temporary catio could be a good transition period – you can see how they react to being outside. If you’ve got multiple cats, a temporary catio could also be an option for separating them if one is in season.
- Added independence
These handy havens offer your kitty an additional living space, which can address territorial or boredom issues stemming from a lack of environmental enrichment. Any well-designed catio will include a cat flap, allowing your kitty to have the freedom to come and go as they please. Talking of which…
Cat flaps for catios
When it comes to cat flaps, it’s certainly not a case of ‘one size fits all’. But fear not, Closer Pets have plenty of options to ensure that your trusty companion is fully accommodated, as well as being the right type for the material the door is being fitted to.
Here are some options to consider:
- Microchip cat flaps – Using either your cat’s microchip or an ID tag attached to their collar, this type of cat flap will provide reliable and selective opening for your feline friend. Powered by batteries, they’re simple to install.
- Locking cat flaps – Ideal if you want to keep your cat either indoors or outdoors, the lockable types work using either a microchip, the ID tag you put on your cat’s collar or by manually locking them.
- UPVC door cat flaps – UPVC doors are the most common door type, so the Closer Pets range of cat flaps for UPVC doors is really popular, providing weatherproof access.
- Glass door cat flaps – Designed with glass doors and patio doors (for those balcony cat enclosures) in mind, these are manufactured from tough polymer and include soft closure for minimal noise, plus a four-way locking system for extra security.
So, if you’re wondering which is better – an indoor cat or an outdoor cat – why not have the best of both worlds with a catio? Ultimately, the decision is yours, but if you want them to experience being outdoors without the worry, this could be a good compromise for everyone.
Looking for a cat flap for your catio? Check out our Pet Door Guide, which clearly explains which pet doors go through which materials, so you can choose the perfect one. Once you’ve made your decision, our list of approved installers tells you exactly who you can contact to get it installed with ease.