Catio Showcase

June 16th, 2010 Catio Living Moderncat Style in Phoenix, Arizona


I started this blog a while ago, when I was designing my own catio, as a way to gather my research in one place. Now that the finishing touches are complete, I figured I should show you the results, plus the topic of catio design is gaining national recognition with a recent article in the New York Times.


My 1100 sq ft condo in Central Phoenix came with a nice back patio that was already walled in, however, the wall was easily scalable so it was off limits for my cats until I could enclose it. My good friend Mike was the real force behind the catio. He helped me design and build the structure by extending the roof and creating metal mesh panels to connect the concrete block walls to the roof line.  Here are some before and after photos:


You can see the old rotting patio cover and the bougainvillea plants that had to go.


We used sturdy metal roofing material over a solid wood frame. The metal mesh for the side panels came from a local metal supply store. We had it powder coated for durability. Mike made sure there are absolutely no escape holes.


I added climbing shelves and an enclosed litter box area at one end with a sisal wrapped scratching post that extends all the way to the ceiling. This is a popular feature. The more agile cats can climb all the way up the pole to the top shelf.


I’ve filled the catio with all sorts of products that my cats love, like a two-story cat condo from Modern Cat Designs, The Cat’s Trapeze (hanging in the middle), a Litter Pod (used for lounging instead of litter), a Scratch N Slumber comfort center, and various scratchers and other toys. There’s also a rattan lounge chair from Ikea and a bistro table and two chairs so I can join the cats on the catio.


Having a catio is a dream come true for both me and the cats. They love to be able to get fresh air and watch the birds, and I love that they are safe from harm. We plan to enjoy this catio for many years.


20 Responses to “Catio Living Moderncat Style in Phoenix, Arizona”

  1. Ingrid King Says:

    If this isn’t kitty paradise, I don’t know what is!

  2. Liz Remus Says:

    This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jenny Says:

    i wanna live on your catio

  4. Catalina Says:

    I am completely smitten with your gorgeous black kitty!

  5. jenny Says:

    Did you buy or make the sisal wrapped scratching pole? If you made it, can you provide more detail about how you did it? I think my cats would really use something like that. Thanks! And congrats on the NYT coverage and the fantastic catio!

  6. Breanne Says:

    Ooooh! I love it! Where did you get those ledges??? I’ve been looking for nice climbing ledges/shelves for my cat that will also look nice with the furniture I have and those would be perfect, elegant and sturdy.

  7. jmuhj Says:

    Kate, this is FANTASTIC! What a gorgeous catio, and what happy, happy cats! Really nice idea to put a table and chairs in there, too. LOVE your tile selections! ;)

  8. Claire Says:

    What stunning cats!

  9. Barbara Says:

    I am so glad the New York Times included you in the article on catios….in fact I think you coined that term or was it a case of morphic resonance where it occurred to several folks at once?

    Anyway I am so glad to finally see your stylish catio and thanks for including Best Friends Animal Sanctuary as an example of how to provide safe, fun outdoor enclosures for kitties. I hope more people will be inspired now to send you photos of what they have done for their cats.

    For anyone who doesn’t know Kate was one of our “uber volunteers” for The Great Kitty Rescue of 2007 and adopted 2 of these poor waifs who had been trapped in institutionalized hoarding. She made scads of wonderful comfy pads for these cats to have in their cages when they went on mobile adoptions and I could tell the cats had almost as much fashion sense as Kate does!

  10. moderncat Says:

    I made the sisal pole myself, since it had to be custom sized to fit. I used a round lodge pole from Hope Depot and anchored it to the ceiling and the top of the shelf that it sits on with metal L-brackets. The sisal is wrapped over the brackets to conceal them and the brackets are under the carpet tiles that are on the shelf. I used a hot glue gun to secure the sisal to the pole. It was pretty time consuming, but worth it!

  11. Yvette Says:

    Great job kate, your catio is awesome!

  12. Dan Says:

    Soooo cool! I really love the last little grey guy:)

  13. Ann Says:

    What a lovely story and look at catio cat heaven. Thanks for sharing this. Animals bring joy to our lives, and the least we can do is extend some back to them.

  14. Anny Says:

    Our kitties have you to thank for their balcony catio (ocean view included). How great did your catio turn out? Love it! I know Bella and Diego would love to come for a play date.

  15. Sarah Says:

    Who makes the pretty cardboard scratcher with the red ball on top?

  16. SerenityFL Says:

    My cats have seen the photos of your catio and are quite impressed with it.

    They are not, however, currently impressed with me. In fact, I am getting evil glares as they wonder why I don’t have a catio for them.

    I fear for my life. I may never sleep again.

  17. Robert Wayne Says:

    I’d like to build something along those same lines. I have a back patio to my house that my cats, Buddy in particular, would love as a catio. Buddy sits in the window for hours and always meows to go outside whenever anybody opens the door. Sometimes I’ll let him out, but I always watch to make sure he doesn’t climb the fence and take off. I’d love to be able to let Buddy sit outside without worrying about him taking off.

  18. admin Says:


    I actually make those cardboard scratchers! They are available through my Etsy shop:


  19. Linda Says:

    Catios have made it to the Jay Leno show!

  20. elle Says:

    It’s great that you did that and it’s wonderful for the cats, but did you have to get rid of those amazing flowering bushes?!!! I can’t imagine how anyone could kill such gorgeous plants! Wasn’t there a way to incorporate them into the design? That was a mistake.

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