catios
Catios like these aren't just a chance to pamper your princess; they're also a way to keep pets and wildlife alike safe outdoors. The Catio Tour September 8 showcases catios "frugal to fabulous."

We all know cats rule the world (or act like they do). They've got nine lives, all of them cushy. In most homes, they have the run of the place. And if they're outdoor cats as well, they usually roam the neighborhood making more friends than we do.

Did you know some cats also have their own, specially-designed outdoor space, their "catio?" The tour Sunday, September 8, 2013 reveals it all. Sponsored by the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) with the Audobon Society, the first-ever-in-the-country Catio Tour will be your entree into the world of cats who really are livin' the life.

Catios are outdoor areas or enclosures in which cats can frolick and play safely. It may be a structure, homemade or not. It may be a special fence. Whatever the details of the catio, it's a place where cats can get out in the fresh air without predators getting them (or vice versa).

Our urban/suburban life here in Portland often includes not just squirrels or birds but also coyotes; cat fences, gazebos and other safe outside play areas let cats get the stimulation and variety they desire without running into the road or the woods.

The unusual partnership with Audobon came about from that angle; "we're all in this together," as FCCO organizer Linda Hughes puts it. We share our ecosystem not only with other people but with critters, large and small, wild and not. They hope the Catio Tour will inspire people to "keep cats safe at home. It's good for cats, good for wildlife."

Pre-registration (online and otherwise) is encouraged. Reserved spots are filling up quickly, and you'll get a guidebook to catio locations (six are eastside Portland, six westside). The guidebook also includes info on construction of the various catio types. The tour is 12 noon to 4 pm, with a $5 suggested donation.

Dog lovers are encouraged to attend as well. There's room in this world for all of us! And in case the dogs among us feel a bit ignored right now, check out our recent international tour of posh dog digs.

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