June 7, 2024

How to Build a Catio At Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

Building a catio is a great way to give your house cat a taste of the outdoors while keeping them safe from potential dangers, and it's actually very easy to DIY your own catio at home.

You can set up an enclosed safe haven for your feline friend on your balcony, out on your garden patio, or even extended from a window.

The tools and materials you'll need for the job will be virtually the same regardless of which location you choose, and building a catio yourself will save you money in the long run compared to purchasing a pre-made one.

We've put together a step-by-step guide on how to build a catio at home, along with a list of exactly what you'll need to get started.

plastic netting

Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy a Catio?

Building a catio from scratch works out to be significantly cheaper than buying a pre-made catio, and the cost can vary depending on the size and complexity of your catio design.

Pre-made or pre-built catios can cost anywhere from £200 to over £1,000, and you can build your own for much less – depending on how creative and resourceful you are!

Our Cat Containment netting is only £1.55 per square metre, making it an affordable option for enclosing your catio and giving your cat the freedom to safely enjoy the outdoors. Add on some net fixings and frames, and you can create a catio at a fraction of the cost.

Shop Cat Containment Netting Here

Is it Easy to Build a Catio?

As for how easy it is to actually put together your cat's new outdoor space, the process is very straightforward and doesn't require any special skills or tools.

If you're not much of a DIY-er, we're confident that you'll still be able to follow our step-by-step guide and create a catio your cat will love.

Plus, building a catio is also a great opportunity to get creative and personalise the space for your cat's needs and preferences. If they like to climb, you can incorporate shelves or ramps. If they prefer lounging, add in a comfortable bed or hammock.

In other words, you can completely tailor it to your furry friend, unlike some pre-made catios, which may not be as customisable.

cat behind netting

What You Need to Build an Outdoor Cat Enclosure

Technically, the first step is to gather all the tools and materials you'll need for building your catio. Think about where it is you're planning to build it and make sure you have enough space to work comfortably.

If you're going to extend the catio from a window, you'll need some additional tools like a drill bit for brick and masonry. But for the most part, these are the essentials:

  • Cat netting
  • Cable ties
  • Rope or straining wire
  • Eyebolts
  • Wooden frames/beams
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Scissors or wire cutters
  • Tape measure

What is the Best Netting to Use?

Your choice of netting is important, as it needs to be strong and durable enough to withstand the outdoor conditions and the claws of your cat. A cheap or poor-quality netting will not last long and may pose a risk to your cat's safety.

Our Cat Containment Netting is an excellent choice for building a catio. It is made from high-strength polypropylene with a mesh size of 20mm, which is small enough to prevent any tiny paws from getting caught.

It's also 1mm thick, which gives good visibility through the net but is still strong enough to keep your cat safe and secure.

But what makes this such a popular choice is that we can cut the net to the exact length and width that you need, which saves you from having to deal with excess netting or gaps in coverage, or spending money on extra material that you don't need.

We also stock all the necessary net fixings, like straining wire, eyebolts, and cable ties, so you can get everything you need in one place.

Order Cat Containment Netting

cat containment

How to Build a Catio in 4 Steps

Now, let's get started on building your very own catio. We've broken it down into easy-to-follow steps, but feel free to adapt and modify based on your individual preferences and available space.

Step 1: Create Your Frame

If you're building a catio out on a garden patio or in a large outdoor space, you may want to create a wooden frame to attach the netting onto. This isn't necessary if you're building from a window or on a high-rise balcony.

Timber beams are the best option for creating your frame, as they are sturdy and easy to work with.

A 6ft by 8ft frame would be a good size for a medium-sized catio, but feel free to adjust the dimensions based on how much space you have available. Just make sure you allow for enough vertical space, as cats love to climb and explore.

Take your timber frames and cut them to the desired size. Then, using a hammer or mallet, nail them together at the corners to create your frame.

A basic rectangle or square frame will work just fine, but you can also get creative and add in additional beams for extra support or to create different levels (we'd recommend doing this after the main structure is complete).

Top Tip: You can stain or paint the timber frames to match your home or outdoor decor, or choose a bright and fun colour to make it stand out. This is another great thing about DIY-ing your catio – you can make it completely unique!

Step 2: Attach the Netting to the Frame

Once you have your frame set up, it's time to attach the netting. It'll be helpful to have an extra pair of hands for this step, but it can also be done solo.

Lay out the netting over your frame, making sure there is enough excess net on each side. You want to have at least a foot of overhang on each side so that you can secure it properly.

Once you're sure you've got the netting positioned correctly, attach the eyebolts to the corners and midpoints of your frame.

Next, thread some rope or straining wire through the eyebolts. Use the wire or rope to pull the netting tight and secure it by tying a knot at each anchor point.

For added security, you can also use cable ties to attach the netting to the frame or fix it further into place.

Attaching the Cat Netting to a Balcony

If you're creating a catio on your balcony, you'll need to attach the netting slightly differently. Rather than using a wooden frame, you can attach the netting directly to your balcony railing.

You can use cable ties or wire to loop and secure the netting around the railing or use hooks and fixings to attach it. Extend the net up to the ceiling or overhang to fully enclose the space, using eyebolts and wire to create anchors.

Step 3: Check All Net Attachments & Fixings

An assessment of your handiwork is important, as you don't want any weak links in the structure of your catio. Go around and check all the fixings and attachments, making sure the net is taught and secure.

Make sure there are no loose or dangling cables or ropes, as these can pose a safety hazard for your furry friend.


Step 4: Add in Any Additional Features

Once the basic structure of your catio is complete, it's time to add in any additional features to make it a comfortable and enjoyable space for your cat. This could include:

  • Shelves or ramps for climbing and perching
  • A comfortable bed or cushioned area for lounging
  • Toys and scratching posts for entertainment
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Plants or cat-safe grass for a natural feel

If you're feeling particularly creative, you can add a door or window for easy access from your house, a small cat flap, or even a mini pool for your cat to cool off in on hot days!

To add a door to your catio frame, simply cut a hole in the netting and attach hinges to create a swinging door. Attach a latch or lock for added security.

Finally, Let Your Cat Explore!

Now that your catio is complete, it's time to introduce your pet to their new outdoor space.

Start by placing their food and water bowls inside the catio, so they become familiar with the area. You can also add some of their favourite toys or blankets to make it more inviting.

If your cat is hesitant at first, try placing them inside the catio and stay with them for a while to show them that it's safe and secure. With time, they'll come to love their new outdoor space and the freedom it provides.


Do You Need Planning Permission for a Catio?

Because they aren't considered permanent structures, most catios do not require planning permission.

However, if you happen to be building an extravagant or particularly large catio, it may be worth checking with your local council to make sure you comply with any regulations or rules.

Conclusion: Build a Catio With the Help of Huck Nets

Building a catio at home is not only fun and rewarding, but it's also a great way to give your cat some outdoor time in a safe environment. With the right tools, materials, and our step-by-step guide, you can easily construct a catio that will keep your cat happy and healthy.

At Huck Nets, we have all the necessary netting, fixings, and tools you need to build your very own catio. You can find our Cat Containment Netting and the required fixings available to buy online, with fast and reliable delivery.

Shop Cat Enclosure Nets

If you have any questions or need help with your catio project, please don't hesitate to get in touch! We're always happy to help with any netting-related inquiries.




Are Catios a Good Idea?

Catios are a great idea! They provide a safe and secure outdoor space for your cat to enjoy, whilst also protecting them from potential dangers like traffic, predators, or getting lost.

How Do You Enclose a Balcony for a Cat?

Cat containment or balcony safety netting is the best way to enclose a balcony space for your cat. You can fix the net to the balcony railing and extend it to the ceiling or overhang, creating a fully enclosed space. Use wire or cable ties to secure the netting and make sure there are no loose ends.

What is the Cheapest Way to Cat Proof a Balcony?

Creating a safety barrier with netting is the cheapest way to cat-proof your balcony. Our Cat Containment Netting can be purchased by the metre for just £1.55 per square metre, and you can add on fixings, rope, or wire for an affordable DIY solution.

Is Your Cat Containment Netting Bird-Proof?

Yes, our Cat Containment Netting is bird-proof. The 20mm mesh size is too small for birds to get through, and the thick 1mm netting provides a strong barrier against any curious or pesky visitors.