Cats at the ASPCA in McKean County, Pennsylvania, will soon have outdoor space in which to roam, according to a June 14, 2012 article in The Bradford Era. On June 22, the ASPCA plans to open the outdoor facility, which has a gazebo, a picnic table, and even trees for the cats to climb. One of the organizers, Grant Orris, believes that cats who have time outdoors are happy cats.
The structure that they're building is a huge catio, and is a $12,000 project. They had many people who helped to build the structure, and others donated money to support the cost of the project. Catios are a great way to let your cat enjoy the outdoors without exposing them to the dangers of cars, wild animals, dangerous people, and getting lost.
Conventional wisdom these days says that cats are better off indoors, for all those reasons. Keeping your cat indoors simply keeps her safer, plus there's less worry about parasites and other infections (though you can still bring some parasites and infections inside on your shoes and clothes). But many people still can't bring themselves to keep their cats cooped up inside all the time.
The ASPCA has figured out that the best compromise for their cats is their big catio. The Humane Society agrees that catios, enclosed porches, or screened-in window boxes are a great way to let your cat experience the outdoors without many of the dangers. You'll still have to worry about parasites like fleas, mites, and even worms (mosquitoes can transmit worms), along with bites and stings, but they won't get lost, they won't get hit by a car, and cruel people and wild animals can't get to them.
Nicole Procter, who manages the ASPCA shelter and is also its humane officer, believes the catio will help to eliminate depression in the cats. And Orris thinks this might help to make the cats more adoptable. Currently, the McKean County shelter has over 80 cats and kittens. If nothing else, he believes that other shelters might take their example, and build catios of their own.