There’s been a building boom in the Portland area that may have escaped your notice: Cat patios — “catios” — and other screened enclosures to keep frisky felines safe outside are scratching out space in backyards.
The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon has mapped 880 catios in the metro area, and executive director Karen Kraus says the numbers are growing.
More people are pledging to protect cats and wildlife with help from the Cats Safe at Home campaign, which aims to stop free-roaming felines from getting into trouble and housebound cats from getting bored.
Catios keep felines away from dangerous dogs and other animals, and hazards like cars, while also allowing them to run, snooze in the sun and play out hunting instincts with toys, rather than chasing birds and other wildlife.
The screened spaces can be elaborate, freestanding structures outfitted with sunbathing perches, ramps and spiral staircases or a series of inexpensive wire cubes.
Want to see a catio with a cat’s-eye view of a tiny picnic table built for squirrels to eat peanuts?
The 10th Annual Catio Tour will showcase 10 distinct lairs, grouped in two areas of metro Portland, from 10 am-2 pm on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Meet the homeowners, see cats in action and take home the 2022 Guidebook with catio design details.
Tickets (catssafeathome.org/catio-tour-1) are $15 to join the self-paced tour in person or $15 to view video tours created with 360-degree images interspersed with owner interviews.
The limited $100 VIP Package also includes time in a luxury catio not on the main tour, a pre-event gathering, plus a tour T-shirt and goodie bag.
Funds from the Catio Tour support the Cats Safe at Home campaign, a collaboration between the Portland Audubon and the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, and other organizations devoted to protecting animals.
As the founding city of the Catio Tour in 2013, Portland can rightfully claim the title of Catio Capital, says Kraus.
“The event has been replicated across the globe,” she says.
A catio can be any size, from a simple window box, screened-in balcony or detached metal-and-wooden structure. Existing patios can be transformed into catios simply by enclosing them with screen or wire.
If you don’t want to build cat condo, you can buy one assembled or a kit. The Catio Tour will have a portable version on display.
Just like you, cats like ventilation and their Cat TV (aka a view of the outdoors). Add toys, a litter box and monitor the weather: You might need a fan in the summer or a heater in the winter.
Some people use biodegradable, non-dyed, natural pine pellets in litter boxes to avoid any toxicities with the kitties.
Litter Robot, an automatic, self-cleaning litter box designed by an exacting engineer, has been purchased by more than 750,000 cat parents who no longer scoop.