Custom outdoor playhouses give felines a safe and enriching environment.
Photographed byCatio Guy and Jeffrey Fiterman
Meet Alan Breslauer, aka the Catio Guy, a visionary creator specializing in crafting exquisite, tailor-made cat enclosures in and around Los Angeles. Nearly two decades ago, his journey into the world of custom cat enclosures began when he faced the challenge of his two feline companions not getting along in his one-bedroom, eighth-floor Westwood apartment, where space was at a premium. The fierce feline confrontations prompted Alan to convert his balcony into a cat play place.
“It was an instant hit with the cats,” he recalls. “The fresh air, warm sunshine, bird-watching opportunities and additional space worked wonders for the cats’ relationship with each other.”
A decade later, after relocating to a Sherman Oaks residence with his wife, Alan constructed a second enclosure. This time, he went all out, incorporating multitiered vertical shelving, ramps, high-bed perches, a floor-to-ceiling climbing pole, and a discreetly concealed litter box. The outcome seamlessly integrated with the home’s aesthetics, garnering admiration from friends, family, the online cat community and the cats themselves.
Overwhelmingly positive response spurred Alan to establish Custom Catios in 2017. Since then, his dedicated team has crafted nearly 400 unique cat patios, affectionately known as “catios,” for families across Los Angeles. Their mission is clear: design stimulating outdoor spaces for cats that captivate cat guardians’ aesthetic sensibilities.
Alan passionately champions the numerous advantages of catios, emphasizing that the most significant benefit is the extended lifespan of cats compared to their indoor/outdoor counterparts. Catios shield beloved feline family members from perilous encounters with predators like coyotes, the hazards of traffic, and exposure to various diseases, parasites, toxins and poisons.
Moreover, catios often provide solutions to indoor-only cats’ challenges, such as obesity, boredom and stress, which can manifest in detrimental behaviors like excessive grooming, isolation, inappropriate chewing or marking, and aggression toward other animals.
These outdoor sanctuaries provide cats with the vital ingredients for their happiness: exercise, fresh air, sunshine and a plethora of stimulation from the sights, sounds and scents of the natural world—including birds, squirrels, bugs and more.
As Alan aptly sums it up, “Catio cats are undoubtedly the happiest cats.”