DIY Catio

Below you will find a step by step guide on how to build a DIY catio. 


  • Experience Required: Medium
  • Tools Required: Protective gloves, Tape measure, Marker, Utility square, Wire cutters, Hammer, Hacksaw, Drill
  • Materials Required: Cat-proof mesh, Timber battens (like two-by-fours), Staples, Screws, Hinges, Latch


Step 1) Plan Your Design


  • Measure your space and design your DIY catio, considering the following key aspects:
    • Allocate 1-2 square meters of space per cat, emphasizing vertical space.
    • Ensure easy access for your cats through a window, door, or pet flap.
    • If no doorway access exists, plan and construct a door for entry.
    • Choose between a plastic roofing sheet for weather protection, requiring angled construction for drainage, or a simple mesh roof, offering exposure to various weather conditions and parallel to the ground.


Step 2) Measure and Prepare Wood


  • Begin by gathering your treated timber battens and a tape measure.
  • Proceed to measure and mark the pieces necessary for constructing the frames of the enclosure.


Step 3) Cut the Battens


  • Place the battens on a stable horizontal surface for cutting with a hacksaw.
  • Remember to wear protective gear during this task to ensure safety.


Step 4) Assemble the Frames


  • Use a utility square to ensure proper angles.
  • Consider utilizing glue initially for adhesion, in addition to joining the battens with wood screws and a drill.
  • Remember to pre-drill and countersink your connections to achieve a smooth and securely finished outcome.


Step 5) Construct the Frames


  • Follow your design blueprint and Step 4 guidelines to fabricate all necessary wooden frames for construction.
  • Ensure ample openness at the rear of the enclosure to accommodate a door if the catio is designed with doorway access.
  • Allow sufficient space for exterior door installation, if required.
  • Additionally, construct a frame for the roof if opting for an open mesh roof design.


Step 6) Measure and cut mesh


  • Position the wire mesh over the frames.
  • Cut the mesh along the wood, ensuring overlap with the wood to accommodate staples or attachments.


Step 7) Attach mesh to frame


  • Utilize staples, spacing them no more than 15 centimeters apart, and hammer them into the wood to attach the netting to the frames.
  • Ensure the back side remains open to enable unrestricted entry for your pets.


Step 8) Attach back frame to wall


  • Depending on the building materials of the house, varying wall fixings may be necessary for this stage.
  • Ensure the open back of the enclosure aligns flush with the wall and is firmly attached for security.


Step 9) Join the frames


  • Secure the two side frames to the back frame using screws, employing at least 4 points of attachment per side.
  • Ensure that the mesh attachments are oriented outward for proper installation.
  • Remember to pre-drill and countersink your connections to achieve a smooth and secure outcome.


Step 10) Attach the front frame


  • Proceed with attaching the front frame to both sides, as outlined in the previous step.


Step 11) Attach the roof – Open (Mesh)


  • Implement steps 7-8 to install the roof panel and enclose the catio from above.
  • Ensure sufficient shade is available if opting for this roofing style to safeguard your cats from UV rays.


Step 11b) Attach the roof – Closed (Plastic)


  • Fasten a batten onto the rear section of your DIY catio, followed by additional battens arranged perpendicular to it.
  • This arrangement facilitates effective water drainage by creating a suitable slope.
  • Proceed to cut and affix a plastic roofing sheet using roof screws to safeguard against water infiltration into the enclosure.

Step 12) Build door (if applicable)


  • If your catio lacks an interior doorway, it’s necessary to install one.
  • Even if there is existing access, consider incorporating two entry points.
  • Construct the door in line with the structural framework, reinforcing it with diagonal braces for increased durability and mobility.
  • Apply mesh to the exterior to ensure it is cat-proof.


Step 13) Attach door (if applicable)


  • If you are not installing a door, proceed to the next step.
  • Secure three latches to the wooden frame using screws.
  • Additionally, affix another latch to ensure the door remains closed securely.


Step 14) Verify weak areas


  • Ensure your catio is prepared for use.
  • Inspect all sides and connections to confirm proper attachment of frames and mesh.
  • Eliminate any gaps that could serve as potential escape routes for cats.
  • Ensure the back frame aligns smoothly with the wall and is securely fastened.
  • Verify that the door closes securely without any issues.


Step 15) Furnish your finished catio


  • Now is the moment to enrich your furry friends’ outdoor experience while ensuring their safety. Consider incorporating the following to your finished DIY catio:
    • Climbing trees, steps, and ladders
    • Hiding spots, beds, and hammocks
    • DIY scratching posts (find a tutorial here)
    • Feline-friendly plants
    • Toys, and more


Tips and tricks

  • Refrain from leaving food outside to prevent attracting strays and wild animals.
  • Ensure materials used are suitable for outdoor conditions to prevent the growth of mildew and mold.
  • Provide fresh water and a litterbox to enhance comfort for your pets.
  • Avoid using pallets and other materials treated with harmful chemicals.
  • Select materials that are soft, comfortable, and free of splinters and sharp edges.
  • Choose pavement, wood, or grass flooring over gravel or crushed stone.
  • Create circular routes with shelves and climbing trees to facilitate movement, especially for multiple cats.
  • Incorporate plenty of hiding places and shade, while also allowing sunlight into your DIY catio for your felines to soak up some sun.

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