I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day and came across a picture of a friend I grew up with building something on his deck. There was a lot of wood frames and screens. I thought he might be turning the deck into a porch until I read the caption his wife used. "Putting the new catio together!"

I'm no dummy. I surmised that 'catio' was a combination for the words cat and patio, and this was something for them to...I don't know...do cat things on the deck without the worry of them going off somewhere they shouldn't. I thought she made the word up, but it turns out she didn't. It's a thing. Google it.

This is what their catio looks like finished, but it doesn't look like their cats Mookie and Luna really trust it yet. To me it looks like a chicken coop with a nice rug.

Angie Matero

Growing up we had a cat that went out all the time and would be gone for days. She'd hunt for food and was known to walk for miles. We actually gave her to another home at one point 12 miles away only to find her on our front steps two months later. Clearly she had only one home, so she stayed and lived to be 23 years old.

But today, outdoor cats are not nearly as common. Our cat was lucky, but the dangers of predators, cars and diseases have always been a threat. More cat owners...er...cat parents...want their cats to be safer and keep them indoors. Cats have instinct though, and the look, sound and smell of fresh air is hard for them to resist. So, the catio was born.

And of course there's a website that will teach you everything you need to know about building your own catio. catiospaces.com. You can go the DIY route or they'll sell you one you can put together.

Just when I thought there was nothing left to make cats happier, here comes the catio. Do you have one? Share it with us on our Facebook page.