catio interior with cat walking on ledge

Grab Your Hammer! These Catio Kits Are Purrfect for the DIY Cat Owner 

Because cats deserve to enjoy the great outdoors, too.
By Ciera Velarde
May 06, 2021
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You're most likely familiar with the special vocabulary of words used by animal lovers (think: boop, floof, toe beans, teef). But just when you think you're fluent in the vernacular of pet owners, you come across a new term that instantly confuses you. Enter: catios. No, it's not a cat rodeo like I initially thought it was-although how fun would that be?!

What Is a Catio?

A portmanteau of "cat" and "patio," a catio is an outdoor enclosure meant to keep cats safe as they play in your backyard. They can be as simple as a small box that extends out of your window or an elaborate construction of tunnels, bridges, and cages. Many cat owners build catios themselves so they can customize the catios to be as small or as expansive as they'd like.

Is It Safe To Let My Cat Outdoors?

Have you ever caught your cat staring longingly out your window, soaking in the sun? Cats have a natural instinct to roam through the great outdoors, and while outdoor cats are more active than indoor cats, they are exposed to much more environmental risk. Therefore, catios are a brilliant way to let your cat get some fresh air and vitamin D while still keeping them safe from predators and natural elements.

The Best Catio Kits to Build Yourself

If you're super handy and can dream up a blueprint of a catio on your own, we applaud you! But if you're someone who needs a bit more guidance before setting out on your DIY catio adventure, we suggest investing in a catio kit that comes with all the parts and instructions to guide you to success. That's why we gathered our seven favorite catio kits for feline-loving builders at any skill level.

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room with a view catio
Credit: Courtesy of Habitat Haven

Habitat Haven's A Room With a View Catio Kit

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As the leading manufacturer of safe, outdoor pet enclosures, Habitat Haven has a wide variety of pre-designed catio kits that come with pre-cut wood, wiring, and doors so you can construct the catio yourself. You can either get a small window enclosure, or a more complex design that can cover your entire backyard. Our favorite is the A Room With a View design, which can connect to your window and provides five levels of shelves for your cat to pounce around on.

Shop Now: A Room With a View Catio Kit, $1,443; habitathaven.com

Outdoor cat house
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Aivituvin Outdoor Cat House

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This catio comes with a waterproof roof, which will keep your cat safe from the elements as they move around in the enclosure. The three-tiered catio can also be built on wheels, making it easy to move around your outdoor area. Reviewers say that the pieces are very clearly marked and it comes with all the necessary hardware to construct it, but that it's much easier (and faster) to assemble it with two people.

Shop Now: Aivituvin Outdoor Cat House, $275; amazon.com

Large wooden outdoor cat enclosure
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

COZIWOW Large Wooden Outdoor Catio

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Great for a multi-cat household, this roomy catio kit provides plenty of shelves and square footage for your cats to jump, pounce, and lounge around on. The pinewood frame is treated with a pet-friendly, non-toxic sealant to keep it looking brand new even after months out in the elements. It'll definitely take you a full afternoon to construct this catio, but the safe, outdoor environment for your cats will be well worth it.

Shop Now: COZIWOW Large Wooden Outdoor Catio, $260; amazon.com

Large wooden catio
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

COZIWOW Outside Cat Cage

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If you're looking for a smaller catio kit, this three-tiered enclosed cage is a cozy and easy-to-build option that keeps your cat closer to the ground. It features a weatherproof asphalt roof to keep the rain from seeping in, and if you step away for a second, you can lock the door to keep your cat from escaping. With a step-by-step installation manual and pre-drilled holes, the two-person assembly job should be a breeze.

Shop Now: COZIWOW Outside Cat Cage, $200; amazon.com

Cat house outdoor run
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Sandinrayli Cat House

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Now THIS is the grande dame of catios! Whether your cat likes to escape the sun by chilling under the shaded enclosure or get some exercise in by running up and down the ramp, this mega enclosure provides plenty of space for up to four cats to comfortably run around. Reviewers say although the kit comes with all the necessary parts to assemble it, the instructions are just pictures (like IKEA!) so if you're looking for a fun and rewarding challenge, this is it!

Shop Now: Sandinrayli Cat House, $286; amazon.com

Wooden outdoor cat house
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

Trixie Wooden Outdoor Cat House

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Catios usually take hours to assemble, but this kit can be assembled in less than an hour when you have two people. The parts come in partially assembled sections, so you're basically just putting together the four sides, shelves, the bottom, and the roof. That's working smarter, not harder! Standing at almost six feet tall when constructed, this catio will encourage your cat to embrace their climbing instincts.

Shop Now: Trixie Wooden Outdoor Cat House, $490; homedepot.com

catio and tunnel plans
Credit: Courtesy of Catio Spaces

Oasis Catio & Tunnel Plans from Catio Spaces

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Now, if you'd rather make this a true DIY project and construct it by hand, but you need a wee bit of guidance, consider buying some pre-made blueprints and instructions. Catio Spaces offers two different plans for a cat "oasis" that feature a tunnel and a cage. Purchase and download the plans as a PDF, and it'll let you know the tools and materials you'll need to buy from the home improvement store. Thanks to the well-written instructions, you'll get to embrace your creative side with the confidence you're constructing a sturdy and secure enclosure for your cats.

Shop Now: Oasis Catio & Tunnel Plans, $70; catiospaces.com