This Catio Is Like Giving Your Cat His Own National Forest


Some 7 million American households have added pet cats since 2012. What does that mean? Well, for one, crafty humans have invented feline architecture. Are we talking about marble or steel Maine Coons being “The New Gargoyles?” Unfortunately no. But say the word “catio” at your local burrito stand, nail salon, or shrubbery retailer and even people who don’t have cats will probably know what you mean.

Humans have taken the catio to remarkable ends. Catios can be as plain as you please — here’s one made of chain-link fence, for example. They can also be elaborate and extensive, such as this catio that’s essentially a big screened-in deck for cats. Some are of stylish design. Some are connected to houses via elevated walkways. Some hang from windows. We wrote about one catio built on an apartment balcony. Here’s a shot of that one:


Earlier this week a fellow human pointed us to a video of a catio that looks more like an aviary in a natural history museum or some forested labyrinth whose ruler is a longhair creamsicle cat rather than the Minotaur. That creamsicle cat, it turns out, is the video tour guide. His name? Little Lord Fauntleroy.

The human who nudged us is Melissa Allison, who works for real-estate website Zillow, the company that produced the video. She wrote a blog post about it.

This catio in question is unusual in a number of ways. First, it has cat-themed artwork.


Second, it has tree-mounted vertical climbing structures. This element has probably been done before, but still, how rad is that?


The catio has stairs and a walkway — creating extremely vertical territory that many “tree dweller” cats love and need.


The catio is accessible from the house via kitty door. That’s fairly common — but look at the color scheme.


Allison says the catio, located in Seattle, belongs to a woman named Jennifer Hillman. It was part of a catio tour in May — an event that looks like any number of urban garden or home tours we’ve attended, except with catios and cats.

Here’s the video itself. It makes me want to start building the catio I’ve considered for two or three years. (Alas, because El Niño is probably approaching California, groundbreaking might have to wait until the spring.)

Do you have a catio? What did it take to build? Did you pay someone to do it, or was it a DIY project with the help of friends?

About Keith Bowers: This broad-shouldered, bald-headed, leather-clad motorcyclist also has passions for sharp clothing, silver accessories, great writing, the arts, and cats. This career journalist loves painting, sculpting, photographing, and getting on stage. He once was called “a high-powered mutant,” which also describes his cat, Thomas. He is senior editor at Catster.

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