The UK is known as a nation that loves it pets; however, while most of us would do anything for them, some believe the latest trend is taking things a little too far.
What is a catio?
Originally developed in the US, the idea of a catio for your cat has found its way to the UK. Outside structures built specifically for your cat are becoming more and more popular for many reasons. Some pet owners are fearful of their precious moggy being hit by a car and would prefer them to stay indoors; however, indoor cats can easily become bored if they are not given enough stimulation, which could increase the risk of behavioural problems. A catio is the perfect balance between the two, enabling you to keep your cat safe whilst giving them the opportunity to explore the outside world, albeit in a much smaller setting.
The RSPCA recommends outside enclosures for cats, especially for those who live in a busy area with potentially deadly traffic. Alice Potter, a cat welfare expert for the RSPCA, also believes that they benefit indoor cats due to the change in environment. Catios are a good idea if you have a cat with a medical issue or disability and is unable to go outside. Staying indoors may cause stress and obesity due to the levels of inactivity, so the change in scenery can do them good.
Some companies that are hired to build outdoor structures have reported a significant increase in the demand for catios, including an increase from 10 per cent of their business to 70 per cent! Some cat owners request small spaces that allow their cat to sit out in the sun, whilst others commission large outdoor runs. Some even include miniature gardens to attract bugs; benches; and structures reminiscent of the children’s wooden climbing frames available from suppliers such as http://www.niclimbingframes.com/.
Cats are natural hunters. Whilst a catio may not enable them to catch birds and small mammals, they can still come face to face with insects. South Essex Wildlife Hospital has called on cat owners to take responsibility for the suffering their cat may be causing to wildlife. A catio may be the perfect solution.
What do you think? Are catios a good idea or a step too far?