My DIY catio – an outdoor enclosure for our cats

Posted on Tue, 12 Sep 2023 by KiM

I have been wanting to share the catio we built last summer for a while now but we ended up redoing this whole section of the backyard and with a busy summer this year it took forever but I’m happy to report this area is finally complete!
This is in fact the third iteration of a catio we’ve built back here and it seems third time is a charm. The previous versions were not at all cute and took up way too much space, but were soooo well used by our 2 semi-feral cats Bernie and Frankie that we knew we needed to rebuild it and make it better.
Let me show you the first iteration so you can see how far we’ve come…

My husband whipped this beast up one weekend in 2019 as we started working on the landscaping of our backyard with no real plan. Behind it is a tree that one day appeared in that corner and kept growing and growing until it got to be about 4 stories tall and we realized we should cut it down as it was too close to the house. And the open section right up against the porch stairs next to the catio is what husband had built to store our garbage cans. After a couple years of that we realized it was too bulky and unsightly so we basically removed everything from the edge of the stairs to the fence. After removing the tree, old catio and garbage cover we ended up with a whole corner of the yard free. So it became the catio and barbecue area, and looks soooo much better.

Now the catio is up against the house – it’s size being 10′ wide x 5′ deep x 12′ high. And the cats really love the height in particular because it allows them a great view into the neighbour’s yard so they can spy on their cat and dog.

They can come in and out through a flap/dog door in a kitchen window onto a live edge shelf. There’s a beam there that helps support an old log that they love sharpening their nails on, and they use it to climb from the base up to the window shelf. There’s a couple little tables in there too (one has a hanging cat hammock) and to the right is a box that was built around our AC unit, that has shelves on the front, and astroturf on the top. I added Frankie’s favourite fluffy cat bed on there too and he sleeps in it for hours on end. Above that are 4 shelves, with the bottom 3 being cut at angles so they can climb from one to the other and a hole cut out on the top one to get all the way up. The roof is covered in tinted PVC roof panels and the entire thing is wrapped in black steel wire mesh to keep the critters out. The whole thing sits on the deck we had built back in 2019 for our barbecue. We also installed a door on the porch for us to get in and out of it (with a door we found at Habitat Restore).

Where the garbage bin section next to the porch used to be husband built a bench so we can chill while he grills.

I could not love this space more, and am so pleased things are looking a little more thought out and it’s so much more space saving. Those 2 cats spend almost all summer in that catio (and insist on eating their meals in there) and come winter we cover the whole thing in plastic so they can use it all year. It is by far one of the best projects we’ve ever tackled ourselves. And here’s a few extra photos of Bernie and Frankie living their best catio lives.

kathny says:

Wow, great job! It looks amazing and I’m sure the cats love it! Plus you have that great grilling area, so jealous!

KiM says:

Thanks! This whole corner turned out soooo much better than I could have hoped.


Lucky cats!

KiM says:

They sure are!

Suzanne Melton says:

This is brilliant!

Love that the cats can be “with” you while you’re enjoying the backyard…

Only two cats now?

KiM says:

Thanks! Georgie refuses to use this catio for reasons I can’t figure out, and Mimin is terrified of those the 3 rescued monsters and they all need to be kept separated so Mimin gets the greenhouse.

Russell says:


KiM says:

Thank you!

axie says:

Whoa! I thought the old one was great, this is really wonderful, Kim! And that masterpiece in the cat, love it- bet you had fun designing the interiors!

Hmm… Husband builds fabulous backyard structures AND grills up dinner. Do you rent him out? 🙂

KiM says:

Thank you! 🤣🤣🤣 I’d hire husband out but he’s too expensive 🤣

axie says:

Masterpiece in the cat = masterpiece (art) in the catio- wish I could blame spellcheck 🙂

Annie says:

Heck – I’d happily move into that!!

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