Cats are supposed to be outdoor animals that can run free and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air – but in some places, it’s not safe or practical to let them outside, so they have to spend their whole lives in the house.
One solution is to build a catio – a cat patio or window box – to allow them to enjoy being outside without any of the dangers. And if you want to try building one, we’ve scoured the web to find plans for you to follow – so here are our top 21 cat window box plans.
1. How to build a catio
If you want to build a stylish and high-quality outdoor space where your cats can relax in safety, this plan will tell you how. There’s an overview of catios, a list of the tools and materials you will need, some extremely useful images to show you what you should be doing and a very detailed step-by-step guide to how to proceed. Admittedly, this is a rather expensive option, but if you are willing to spend a bit more for something that will look great as well as giving your cats somewhere to play, this plan is worth a look.
2. DIY inexpensive outdoor cat house
If you’re looking for something at the opposite end of the price range, this YouTube video shows you how to build a super-simple but impressively spacious catio for around only $80. As the YouTuber explains, she has a housecat that loves to go outside but that gets scared when it leaves the house – and this catio provides the perfect solution.
3. Catios – general principles
This is not so much a single plan for building a catio as a discussion of the general principles. However, if you are interested in building one for your furry friends, this is definitely worth a read. There’s loads of information in there about the kind of things you need to consider when planning your catio, and there are also a couple of great ideas for how to fix up something functional with a minimum of effort and expense. There are also plenty of photos that will help fire your creativity.
4. We built a patio for our cat!
Here’s another great video we found that shows a couple making a catio for their “supervisor” (their cat!). As they explain, some catio designs can get a little out of hand – their goal is simply to provide a way for their cat to go outside and enjoy the benefits of leaving the house. There are some clear plans to follow, and we also love their enthusiasm and charisma – this is just a fun video to watch. Check it out – it might give you some ideas, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy watching it too.
5. Catio ideas
If you’re looking for more catio-related ideas and suggestions, this site will give you plenty to think about. When you picture a catio, you might imagine something small and basic – but these designs will show you what’s really possible. We especially love the idea of a catio that’s large enough for a comfy chair so you can spend quality time outside with your fluffballs. It’s a perfect outdoor space for relaxation – for you and for your cats.
6. DIY modern outdoor cat enclosure
Here’s a fun video for you to watch – it shows two DIYers building a large and extravagant outdoor space for a pet cat. There’s a short section at the beginning where they give you an introduction to the project, and then the rest of the video mostly consists of time-lapse footage of them constructing the catio. It’s interesting to see it taking shape – and there’s a cute bit at the end where the cat tentatively begins exploring the new structure.
7. DIY catio
Cats love being outside, but depending on where you live, it’s not always possible. If your cat roams free, there are so many dangers out in the big wide world, and sometimes you just have to put their safety first. That’s why cat patios are such a great idea – you can give your cat access to sunlight and fresh air but in a controlled and safe environment. That’s what this plan is all about, so if you love your pets and don’t want them to come to any harm, this catio could be the ideal solution.
8. Catio build 2019
If you want to see the kind of large and luxurious catio your pets are sure to love, check out this YouTube video. We’re not sure quite how many cats we can count in there, but it’s at least three. There are also plenty of trees for them to climb and other activities to keep them busy. It’s also big enough to comfortably accommodate a person, so if you want a catio you can share with your furry friends, this video is sure to give you some inspiration.
9. How to build a safe and stylish catio
Here’s another catio plan from a cat owner who worries about the perils of the outside world that include predators, cars, poison, diseases and more. It’s not healthy for cats to stay inside all the time – any more than it is for humans – so if you want to keep your felines happy without exposing them to danger, building something like this could be worth considering. There are lots of catio ideas on this page, including some large and ambitious options. And of course, we love the photos of all the cute kitties too!
10. Catio inspirations
This is not a plan as such – rather, it’s a video of healthy and happy cats outside and enjoying the benefits of catios. If you’re in need of some inspiration, this video is sure to help.
11. How to build your own catio
If you have decided you want to build a catio and you just need a solid, no-nonsense plan to show you how to do it, this could be just what you’re looking for. This plan starts with a general discussion about catios and the kind of things you need to consider before you start building. It then takes you through the whole process, from choosing the materials to actually constructing the thing. Another great resource if you want to learn all about catios – and then try creating one yourself.
12. Catio DIY
This is a video showing how this YouTuber built a basic but effective catio for his friend. It’s a simple project that most people with even rudimentary DIY skills will be able to achieve, so if you’re looking for a project to keep you busy for a weekend, this could be the perfect answer.
13. DIY catio plans and design ideas
Here’s another site with loads of amazing ideas – out favorite is the “Outdoor Oasis Catio with Tunnel Access” – if you have plenty of space outside and want to build something extra-special for your beloved cats, this could be a great project to tackle. There are also lots of other intriguing ideas on there as well as some well-drawn illustrations that are sure to give you lots of ideas about what’s possible. There are even a couple of pdf plans for you to download if you want to try building one yourself.
14. Turning an IKEA bookcase into a catio
We knew we were going to love this video just from seeing the title. For us, the essence of DIY is making something new and useful from old items you probably have lying around at home. Most people have old furniture they no longer need, and instead of throwing it out or using it for firewood, you can do something more useful with it – like turning it into an outdoor area for your cats. And if you want to see how, this video shows you the way.
15. Free catio plans
What we love about this site is how methodical and organized the catio plan is. Not every cat owner is an accomplished DIYer or professional carpenter, but even if you have very little DIY experience, this is a plan you can attempt. There’s a list of the necessary materials and the tools you’ll need, and it gives you an estimate of the amount of time you need to set aside to complete the project. Following that, you’ll find a series of clear diagrams that show you exactly what you need to do. It’s easy to follow and will give great results, so why not have a go?
16. Easy DIY catio
For anyone who doesn’t have the space for a larger catio – or perhaps the time required to build a more lavish one – this simple design could be just the answer you’re looking for. You simply place a cat door in an outer wall and then build the simple frame on the outside of your house. It will cost little, and your cat will love it. Check out the video to see how.
17. How to build a catio DIY plan
This is another extremely useful site for any would-be catio architects. To build the perfect space for your cats’ outdoor recreation, there are lots of things you need to think of – and if you try to do it without help, there are probably one or two things you might forget. However, in this plan, you’ll find tips about protecting your cat from the elements, providing a litter box and giving them plenty of activities to keep them busy. Once you’re ready to start building, there’s also a simple plan for building an inexpensive catio of your own – so your cats will be outside and enjoying the sunshine in no time.
18. How to make a catio for less than $100
This is a YouTube video that takes you through the steps for building an inexpensive catio that will cost you less than $100. The first part shows you the YouTuber making the initial sketches to work out how the project is likely to go. After that, there’s a section giving you the details of the tools and materials she had to buy for the project – if you already have some of the tools she uses, this project will cost you even less to complete. Another point we like was the fact that she says she’s not a carpenter. Not everyone has experience of building stuff like this, but with a little bit of determination, anybody can succeed. So why not have a go too?
19. Build a catio
If you need inspiration for a catio that is best suited to your home, this site gives you several options to choose from. You’ll find downloadable pdf plans for a “regular” catio, an enclosed porch catio and a stand-alone catio with tunnel access option if you want to try something more extravagant. There’s also another plan for enriching your existing catio, something your feline companions will thank you for – in their own special cat-like way. You’ll also find a FAQ section that deals with a range of other catio-related questions, making this site an invaluable resource.
20. DIY catio plan
If you were in any doubt about the benefits of a catio, this blog spells it out for you. Cats need exercise, sunlight and fresh air to remain happy and healthy, but house cats don’t always have that kind of luxury. Instead, they can be grouchy or naughty, and sometimes they can also start putting on weight. Building a catio can help solve all these problems, and this site will give you all the necessary instructions for how to go about it. Check out the results, too. These are sure to be some happy kitties!
21. World’s largest catio
To finish, we just had to include this video we found of what the YouTuber claims is the largest catio in the world. We’re not sure if that’s official, but it’s huge – supposedly over 7,000 square feet! The cats have so much space to roam and play that they hardly feel as though they are living in a cage. It’s such an impressive construction, and we love how it’s designed to give easy access for people, too, so the owners can easily go in and spend time with their animals. Admittedly, this is a lot more than most people will be willing to do for their cats – but at least it shows you the kind of thing that’s possible.
Loads of interesting plans to try out!
We love looking for plans and videos like this because it always reminds us of how much creativity and ingenuity there is out there – and when we see other DIYers posting their projects online, it always inspires us to try.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these plans as much as we have collecting them for you – and we hope you’ve found all the information you need to start building your very own catio.