Weekend catio tour highlights pet safety

Islanders interested in building safe outdoor spaces for their pets will have the opportunity to see several different designs on a catio tour this Saturday.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include a variety of catios around the island. The term “catio” is derived from “cat” and “patio,” but organizers are quick to say that the enclosures can benefit many types of pets: cats, dogs and birds, among them.

Vashon Island Pet Protectors (VIPP) is one of the hosts, along with the Vashon-Maury Audubon Society, Vashon Nature Center and Catio Spaces of Seattle. VIPP President Geoff Fletcher said the island pet rescue organization has been considering offering such a tour for a while to help educate pet owners about options.

“It is a terrific opportunity to see things they can do to keep cats safe,” Fletcher said, about Saturday’s event.

He noted that the island has many cat predators — including cars — and said that catios are a good way to let cats enjoy being outdoors and at the same time keep them, and the birds they sometimes prey on, safe. Fletcher added that in recent years, VIPP has seen a notable increase in the number of missing cats, who have never returned home.

There are five catio hosts on the tour, showcasing 12 catios. Promotional materials for the event say the styles range from frugal to fabulous and include large screened-in enclosures to window boxes.

Tickets for the tour are $10 and can be purchased online through VIPP’s website or at BrownPaperTickets.com.