Categories: catio

A catio improves a cat’s personality

A catio can improve a cat’s personality. This is my opinion and I’ll explain why. I remember visiting and staying at the home of Helmi Flick years ago. She is one of America’s best-known cat photographers. Her photos illustrate the cat breeds on this site and are all over the internet nowadays because copyright has been ignored on the internet.

A catio improves a cat’s personality

Like many Americans she keeps her cats inside at all times. She has a garden but the cats don’t visit it. There’s a large patio sliding door which leads out to the garden and one day she opened it leaving a large space for the cats to walk through and they just looked out at the garden and didn’t move an inch. It was as if there was a glass barrier between them and the garden.

Obviously there was no physical barrier stopping them visiting Helmi’s large garden which they would have enjoyed but there was a mental barrier. When you keep a cat indoors all the time they see the outdoors as something which is an unknown and potentially frightening. The domestic cat exercises caution when venturing out into an unknown space. Arguably, full-time indoor cats can become timid because their life is closed, cosseted and quiet. They don’t have the usual encounters which train a cat to be confident. They lack the usual stimulation from nature. Perhaps more confident cats would have walked through that space into the garden.

Timidity in a cat is a personality trait which is not as attractive as confidence I would argue. Although there has to be a balance between the two, confident cats are more likely to be interactive and enjoy life more fully. In general people prefer confident cats.

Building a catio, as this lady says in the video, has made her Maine Coon more confident. He has shed some of his timidity and she notices that he is enjoying life more. Her catio is quite small but allows a domestic cat to feel the wind through his whiskers, to smell the air. A domestic cat can get a lot of enjoyment out of nature’s smells. They are stimulating. And then there are nature’s sounds. They can all be enjoyed more intensely in a catio.

Nice video – nice catio

Note: When you play the video you will need to turn the sound on by clicking the sound icon at bottom right.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I would love to discuss kitten imprinting on humans. I fostered 3 orphaned kittens starting when they where about 4 days old. When their eyes opened I was the first thing they saw and their primary caregiver. I ended up keeping one of the kittens. Imprinting has definitely taken place. I would love to tell you our story and how my boy is today. He just turned a year old. I have studied imprinting in foals, but you are spot on that it's never heard of in cats.

    • Tara, thanks for commenting. I would be delighted to hear your story. It is an interesting subject. Please either leave another comment or email me at: and I'll publish it asap.

      • I thought that imprinting happens in any animal (birds, lizards, fish too) that attends to its young by feeding them, protecting, teaching sociability for band or herd dwelers, teaching hunting et al.

        Imprinting is nature's answer to the immediate problem of the helpless new born. How can an infant recognise those who give succour and safety when they have no memories yet? Once recognition is established, then memories can be formed and imprinting has done its job.

        Konrad Lorenz was the behaviourist who first described it fully. He used a clutch of goose eggs, hatched them and became their parent. He isn'tvery favoured these days due to him being in the Nazi military. He is one of the grandpappy of behaviourism.

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