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Is your sweet kitty yearning for a bit more fresh air? Or persistently picking at your window screens? You can give them a real treat with a portable catio that provides a safe enclosure in the great outdoors. Portable catios are a good way to find out how your cat feels about a catio before you invest in a more permanent structure. They’re also ideal if you’re renting and can’t build a custom catio for your porch or balcony.
The Catio Solution
There is absolutely no question that cats are safer when kept indoors. That said, many cats are cranky and restless if they can’t get out regularly. And, being cats, they certainly let you know about it.
A quick and easy compromise to keep everyone happy is a secure catio, far from traffic, predators, and toxic plants. And while custom catio solutions can be pricey, many portable catios are quite affordable. A portable catio is a great way to train your cat to the catio lifestyle—plus you’ll get some design ideas for when you’re ready to give your cat a more elaborate, permanent structure.
Furnishing Your Portable Catio
While the outdoors itself is entertaining, it’s a good idea to furnish any catio, portable or permanent, with these basics:
- A bowl of water (and maybe some dry food)
- A soft bed or cushion to rest on
- Toys to keep your cat entertained
- A litter box (kept on the lowest level, far away from their water and bed)
- Shade. It can get extremely warm outdoors, even in a well-ventilated catio. If heat is an issue, try setting up the catio on a shaded balcony or under a tree.
The 8 Best Portable Catios
We’ve put together a list of catios ranging from lightweight fabric playpens to wood-frame structures that require tools to assemble and disassemble. Don’t worry that some of these catios are shown being modeled with small dogs (or even rabbits)! These are definitely cross-species structures.
This basic portable catio is one of the most affordable we’ve seen in this style. It’s has a good bit of room for your cat to luxuriate—plus a good-size entryway so you can add cat beds or cat trees of your own.Shop on Amazon
This tent-style portable catio sets up quickly on your deck, lawn, balcony, or patio. It includes a small shade tarp for sun protection. The base of the tent is 74 inches by 63 inches, and it’s 36 inches high at the center—which should be plenty of room for your kitty and a corner litter box.Shop on Amazon
This basic portable enclosure is ultra-light and easy to fold for transport. There are a few models of Kittywalk catios, and this one is intended to be set up on a porch, patio, or deck. If you’ve got plenty of yard, check out the lawn version, with stakes that anchor it securely in grass or garden areas.Shop on Amazon
If you’re looking for an elaborate portable catio that you can still take down and relocate, the Grand Prix is your pick! The base is 86 by 70 inches and the flag-topped tower is a full 5 feet high, giving your cat plenty of climbing space.Shop on Amazon
Light (just seven pounds) and airy, this spacious portable catio is made of tough polyester mesh. It’s is easy to set up and anchors to the lawn using the stakes provided. It has zippered doors at both ends of the tunnel.Shop on Chewy
If you are looking for a temporary but spacious portable catio for a domestic cat, consider an inexpensive, soft-sided pet playpen. Choose one that has room for a small litter box and plenty of space for your cat to move about. This nylon EliteField playpen comes in several sizes (and colors) suitable for cats and has great reviews—at least from people whose cats are not “escape artists.” This little catio folds up neatly for storage or travel—and the floor is washable!Shop on Chewy
This mid-size catio (roughly 6 feet wide, 3 feet deep, and 6 feet tall) has six platforms for your cat (or cats) to explore. An asphalt roof keeps your kitty dry in bad weather and provides a bit of shade. The large door lets you pop inside to visit.Shop on Amazon
This airy portable catio offers a mid-size entry door (so you too could duck in if you wanted to) and lots of room for your kitty to explore. We like the wood trim that reinforces the structure and provides some attractive detail; its dimensions are 68.9 by 76.77 by 37.4.Shop on Wayfair