Tucked into a backyard deep in Southwest Portland is an outdoor oasis of every cat’s wildest dreams. Fresh-flowing water tinkles softly from small fountains, cat-safe ferns + zebra grass bend in the summer breeze, and a tall cactus skeleton waits to be climbed.
Welcome to Rick + Debbie Orozco’s backyard catio, which you can visit yourself next month.
What’s a catio, you ask? It’s technically an outdoor enclosure for felines — but if you ask Rick and Debbie, they’ll tell you how it can be so much more. They built their catio from scratch for their cats Otto, Cosmo + Nanala. The octagonal structure attaches to their house via fully enclosed wire tunnels and features a dedicated kitty restroom called the “bac de litière.” Their catio also provides a communal space for humans to enjoy, with patio furniture, bamboo screens for privacy and shade, and market lights for evening ambience.
Rick + Debbie’s catio is part of the upcoming 10th Annual Catio Tour. The one-day self-guided tour features 10 distinct outdoor cat enclosures across Portland, showcasing a range of designs and budgets to fit any need.
The tour is the result of a rather interesting but purrfect partnership between the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) + Portland Audubon. It was created to inspire cat owners to build or buy an outdoor enclosure to protect their pets from things like busy streets + predators, while simultaneously protecting wildlife from cats.
“[The tour] is about meeting people where they are and encouraging people to keep considering the health and wellbeing of their cat and our natural landscape at the same time,” said FCCO Executive Director Karen Kraus. “This is Catio Capital — we know of 900 catios in the Portland metro area, so it’s working.”