Nfld. & Labrador

A patio for your cat? Yep, 'catios' are a thing

A Corner Brook family has built the ultimate outdoor patio for their pet cats — and they're calling it a 'catio."

Corner Brook couple turns weekend project into spacious hangout for 2 pet cats

Corner Brook husband and wife Ian and Amy Graham took advantage of the long Canada Day weekend and built their own catio, a fully enclosed space outside for their cats. (Gary Moore/CBC)

'Catios' are just what they sound like — patios built with cats in mind. And like all good cat stories, they're popping up all over the internet.

Catios are built to give indoor cats a safe place to laze around outside, without having to be attached to a leash. 

That's what Corner Brook couple Ian and Amy Graham had in mind for their 10-year-old cats, Smokey and the Bandit, who haven't been allowed outside alone since the family moved to a busy downtown neighbourhood a few years back. 

"It's nice to have. I mean, they go in and out constantly all day," says Ian Graham, who built the catio with his wife over the Canada Day long weekend.

"We did a couple of scribbles on the ol' pad and pencil, and came up with a design and basically picked up what we thought we needed for supplies."

The Grahams' two cats can enter their catio through this magnetic door lodged in the window. (Gary Moore/CBC)

And those doodles worked out quite well for the weekend warriors, who are pleased with the amount of time Smokey and the Bandit now spend outside. 

Catwalk

The pair of pets access the catio from inside the house, through a small magnetic cat door that rests within the frame of a window. That door leads to a small enclosure surrounded by metal fencing, which provides plenty of daylight and fresh air. 

Hidden underneath a massive tree in the couple's yard is a long tunnel — or catwalk — which leads to the main enclosure of the outdoor cat space. The former house cats now have plenty of room to safely laze outside all summer long.

Smokey and the Bandit have been spending a lot of time lounging in their new catio. (Gary Moore/CBC)

"We've got a tunnel, we have a tent, we have a scratching post and some ramps. And we actually hid in some little rats as well, so they don't have to bring in the live ones," Amy Graham described.  

The couple got the idea from Ian's sister, Jeri, who suggested building the catio after she saw that the pair were walking their cats on a harness. 

"I was like, 'What's a catio?' And then I went in and Googled it, and it's a thing," Amy Graham said. 

And the couple aren't the only ones appreciating their handiwork. They say their two cats seem to appreciate the space as well.

"Even the other morning when it was pouring down rain, I was like, 'Oh my God, are they trapped?' And we went out and they were just napping in the rain. They were so happy to just be outside," Amy Graham said. 

Catio lanterns

While the catio is fully built and the cats seem to enjoy it, the couple plan to continue work on the structure. The Grahams said they even hope to add some catio lanterns to the space.  

When winter comes, the couple said the catio can be easily disassembled and stored inside.

About the Author

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.