Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital’s Blog
Outside, but Protected: The Secret to Feline Enrichment
Despite the fact that it’s the best choice for long-term health, many cat owners feel guilty keeping their cat indoors. Certainly, indoor-only cats are much less likely to be exposed to injury or illness, but does their health come at the expense of their happiness? Without daily feline enrichment, quality of life can be diminished. However, with a catio or other cat enclosure, your indoor-only pet can have the best of both worlds.
A Prescription for Happiness
Designing and building your cat a place that’s just for them is a great alternative to hanging around the house. Sure, some people train their cat to walk on a leash, but if that’s not for you, a catio is the fastest route to feline enrichment. Consider how intoxicating the fresh air will be to your fluffy friend! They can frolic, roll around, and observe nature without being exposed to predators or territorial animals.
Reinforcing the enclosure will ensure your cat remains safe and secure, all while getting their daily dose of vitamin D. Watching the birds and bugs, smelling the flowers, and exploring their new environment will stimulate their senses, eliminate boredom, and can reduce behavioral problems (if any). In other words, catios are great for both physical and mental health. Win-win!
If you imagine a chicken coop – but one that’s specially designed for cats – you’ve got the basic idea for a catio. It’s an enclosed area surrounded by fencing with steps for climbing, high perches or shelves, bridges, places to curl up, and whatever else you think your cat will enjoy. The sky’s the limit for your furry friend!
Some cat owners use a ground-floor window they can open and close from inside the home. That way, kitty can just jump out into their own outdoor space without having to walk or be carried. It’s convenient, but options like this don’t work for every home.
Alternatively, set up a spot in your backyard where you can take your cat, like this Cat Sanctuary. Ensure they have plenty of fresh water, shady spots, and remove anything that might be harmful. Your cat will really enjoy munching on the grass, listening to the birds, and exploring their new territory. Some people even build a bridge from a freestanding catio up into a tree, all while remaining enclosed (the birds will thank you!).
Lastly, consider planting some catnip inside the catio, provide fun toys, and watch the fun begin!
Not Off the Hook!
Remember, while catios provide excellent feline enrichment, they don’t protect cats from parasites or contagious diseases. Ensure your cat is fully vaccinated beforehand, and if their parasite prevention medication has lapsed, please let us know.
Even though your cat’s space will be secure, it’s also a good idea to have them microchipped.