07 September 2015
Eight years ago, my family adopted a rescue cat. It had gone through some traumatic experiences, so it didn't really like people. We tried everything to help it feel safe and allow it to adjust. Nothing worked. In fact, the more we tried to help, the more negatively the cat responded, and introducing anything new was an instant and total disaster.
Meanwhile, I had been talking with my parents about building a catio, which is an enclosed, outside area (often connected to the house) for cats. We'd had some issues with coyotes, and the cats were killing birds, lizards, snakes, and other wild animals. The rescue cat was one of the main concerns about having a catio though. He hated being inside, and about the only thing he seemed to enjoy was roaming around. Finally, my mom decided to build a catio (it wasn't actually connected to the house, so it was more like a kennel for cats).
When the catio reached completion, we all cringed to think about the rescue cat's reaction. We figured it would be a daily fight to keep him there, but he stunned us all. He loves it and feels safe there. For the first time, he doesn't run for cover when people are around. He's so comfortable there that even when the door of the catio is left open, he doesn't think about leaving. It's his special place.
The catio provides everything our cats need. It is sheltered, they get food and water, and it has wire runs for them to explore and use for exercise. Above all, they are safe, and having them there keeps the wildlife safe as well. We have seen so many more animals around the house, and it has been nice just to appreciate the beautiful birds instead of worrying about the cats killing them.
I can't say enough about the benefits of the catio, but when it comes to how it has helped our rescue cat, I am almost speechless.