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What to Expect on Your Cat's First Day in a Catio: Common Behaviors and How to Address Them

So, you've set up a brand-new catio and are excited to introduce your cat to their new outdoor haven. While this is an exciting time, it's also a period of adjustment for your feline friend. In this guide, we'll explore common behaviors you might observe and offer solutions to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Behavior 1: The High-Shelf Tapper

What to Expect

Some cats are naturally curious and may try to reach the highest point within the catio. You might observe your cat climbing to the top shelf and tapping the roof with their head, possibly looking for an escape route.

How to Address It

The catio is designed to be a secure space, but it's important to guide your cat during their initial exploration. You can gently redirect them away from the top shelf and towards other features of the catio, helping them understand the boundaries of their new environment.

Behavior 2: The Sniffer and Rubber

What to Expect

Cats often use their sense of smell to explore new environments. You may notice your cat sniffing around and rubbing their face against the catio's surfaces.

How to Address It

This is a natural behavior for marking territory. Allow your cat the time they need to sniff and rub to their heart's content.

Behavior 3: The Confused Climber

What to Expect

New shelf layouts can be confusing for cats, and they may even take a tumble if they misjudge a jump.

How to Address It

Consider guiding your cat through the new layout initially. You can also add cushioning below the shelves to soften any accidental falls.

Behavior 4: The Pet Door Phobic

What to Expect

Some cats are initially hesitant or even scared of the pet door flap leading into the catio.

How to Address It

To ease the transition, you can tape the flap open initially. This allows your cat to get used to the new entryway without the intimidation of a moving flap.


The first day in a new catio is a journey of discovery for your cat. Being aware of these common behaviors and knowing how to address them can make the transition smoother for both you and your feline friend.

Looking for more catio insights or ready to upgrade? Check out our custom catio plans at The Catio Company Shop to find the perfect design tailored to your cat's needs.

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