These window box-style catios give your indoor cat a (literal) window to the world.

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Catio with blue frame in front of window
Credit: Courtesy of Cat Topia

Catios—a trendy short word for "cat patio"—are outdoor enclosures where indoor cats can safely spend time in the great outdoors. But why would a cat who's always been inside need to go outside? Lauren Novack, a Certified Behavior Consultant with Behavior Vets of NYC often asks, "Do you want to stay inside all day with nothing to do?" in response to this frequent question. Indoor cats, she insists, are very often bored. "It's our job as pet parents to meet our cat's behavioral needs while shielding them from harm. Catios are a great way to let your cat get some fresh air, feel the sun on their fur, and watch the birds," without exposing them to the dangers of being outdoor cats.

While catios can be large outdoor structures that are basically room-sized screened playpens for cats, you don't have to give your cat the castle of all catios to make him happy. A window catio can be a perfect fit for apartments, lofts, second-floor (or higher) windows, and homes that don't have yard space.

Window box catios can also vary in size and shape, materials, and accoutrements. "Build whatever you can afford to build with as much space as you can provide for them," Novak advises. No matter what, your kitty will appreciate a sunny spot where he can catch some rays, a perch to watch wildlife, and a new space to explore that also provides mental stimulation and enrichment

Check out these ideas for outdoor window catios large and small. Some of them are sure to spark your creativity and get the DIY juices flowing while others might have you calling a pro to get an estimate. Either way, your kitty is sure to be pleased.

1. A Room with a View

Burmese BFFs Percy and Fred don't seem to appreciate the amazing city and shore vistas from their Maroubra, New South Wales, Australia catio.

2. Soaking Up the Rays

Maddie the Maine coon is all about sunning herself in her custom window box catio. She accesses the space from an open window.

3. Romeo, Oh Romeo

This window catio is reminiscent of a Juliet balcony (in that it doesn't extend very far outside the window) and is super charming with its half-round shape. Look closely and you'll see that Jiji and Jude access the solarium via a cat door insert secured in the open window.

4. Aim High

This second-story catio has a metal shed roof and is held in place with brackets that are bolted to the house. Talk about a bird's-eye view!

5. Home Sweet Home

This handsome chap, Peppy, was adopted by his human, Harshil Gupta, in 2020 and is now Gupta's traveling companion. This sun-drenched window box catio is what Gupta calls "Peppy's den," a special place for the kitty to enjoy when the pair is recuperating at home before the next big adventure.

6. Level Up

A window catio by Elwing Works follows the size and shape of a large window and looks, from the exterior, like a box-bay window bump-out. Instead, it is a kitty playground with multiple levels and ramps. We can only imagine how much fun it is to watch the cats from inside the house! Sometimes a smaller outdoor catio like this one is referred to as a "catio-ette."

7. Greenhouse

Oregon's Window Catio Creations has a number of window catio builds under their belts, including this space for Max and Nala. We love the color!

8. Toy Box

You know Boston resident Hazey loves her window box catio—just look at all her toys she's sharing the space with! This city kitty also explores the great outdoors wearing a harness and on a leash.

9. Sky Deck

Jax the Bengal's human built him a clear plexiglass window box catio that reminds us of The Sky Deck on the 103rd floor of Chicago's Willis Tower. Jax doesn't seem to be bothered by heights and the up-down-all-around views must be breathtaking!

10. Sun Seeker

Rowan the cat, lover of sunbeams, soaks up the afternoon rays in his window catio. His downtown Cape Cod loft makes for excellent people watching from his perch high above Commercial Street.

11. Window Catio Tree House

Frankie, Reese, Felvis, and Bobby have an upper-level window catio that feels like it is perched in a tree among limbs and leaves. This quartet is living their best bird-watching lives.

12. Window Box Catio With Climbing Shelves

This narrow but tall window box catio takes advantage of wall space between the home's windows. A cat door installed in the wall (lower left corner) lets two sister kitties access their multi-tier DIY play space any time they like.