The Catio (Cat Patio) Is a Must for Modern Cat Ladies and Gents

The catio trend, introduced in The New York Times, is sure to explode in New York because we're all suckers for a good neologism. The same people who live in Nolita, Soho, or Tribeca, wear jeggings, and request Pomtinis at bars will not be able to resist a properly enclosed catio.

The catio, the latest in how to spoil your pet, has many forms that are all screened in to prevent felines from escaping. There's the DIY balcony catio in which those lucky enough to have an existing balcony rig it with PVC pipes and netting to prevent cats from escaping; tunnel style, in which metal fencing encloses a long catwalk (if you will); over the window, in which an outdoor cage structure protrudes from an open window; and the all-out McDonald's PlayPlace-style funhouse for cats who are spoiled rotten. See the Times slideshow here.

If your cat's looking a bit sluggish and could use some R&R in the sun, the Times even included a list to help you build one yourself. Now, put on some jorts and get to work.

What You Need to Build a 'Catio'

Cat owners who want to create a safe outdoor space for their cats have several options.

• Do-It-Yourself: equipment like PVC piping, heavy mesh nets and chicken wire is available at Home Depot and other supply stores. Various Web sites offer photos, construction tips and other pointers.

• A Web site called just4cats.com sells a book with detailed drawings and instructions on building a cat enclosure, for $25 plus $5 shipping. The site also has an attractive gallery of its customers' installations.

Kittywalk Systems sells modular cat enclosures that can be used individually or combined into elaborate cat playgrounds (think of them as Habitrail for cats). Among the freestanding models are a 6-foot-tall teepee ($399.95) that can be set up on a balcony or deck and a 5-foot-tall "penthouse" with enough hammocks for three cats ($179.95).

Habitat Haven is a Canadian company that sells predesigned do-it-yourself cat enclosure kits. It also offers supplies and advice on making custom enclosures.

SafeKitty is a mom-and-pop company in Buxton, Me., that sells off-the-shelf and custom-made enclosures, starting at $449 for a standard 6-by-6-by-6-foot box. The pieces are made with white cedar from the Maine woods.

Petco sells a stand-alone outdoor enclosure called the ABO Gear Happy Habitat Cat Tent. It is 3 feet high, 74 inches long and 63 inches wide, and costs $41.97 when ordered online.

Doctors Foster and Smith, a pet supply company, sells a no-frills 5-foot collapsible tube called the Fun Run Outdoor Cat Enclosure for $39.99.


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