We all know that fresh air, a bit of sun and increased exercise is healthy for our pets. But most of us are also aware that the danger of allowing cats outdoors loose offsets any benefits. Cats allowed outdoors have an average lifespan of only 5 years (vs. 15 for indoor cats) due to being hit by cars, injured or killed by dogs or wildlife, rat poison ingestion, diseases caught by fighting with other cats, and nameless other accidents.
However, your cat can have the best of both worlds! Cat enclosures can offer your companion safe access to outdoor areas. These can be very small, cheap and unobtrusive, or they can be extensive additions to a house. Anyone from apartment dwellers with a window or a balcony to homeowners looking to build a permanent structure can provide their cat with an outdoor access enclosure of some type. Read on for more information, places to buy pre-built, and ideas and plans for your own project!
The basic: cover your screen with a security screen grille (often sold at hardware stores for screen doors to protect the screen) to prevent him from leaning on it and falling out or clawing it to shreds, and provide your cat with a window perch or cat tree, leave the window open for air whenever possible.
- Cat Window Veranda or similar products can be installed in a double-hung window. They resemble a mini-bay window for your cat!
- Window boxes can be created by attaching a small cage (dog crate bought at a pet store or home made cage) securely to the outside of the window frame – of course this will include getting some landlord permission!
- If you have a balcony, deck or patio, try Kittywalk – a portable net system, or other portable systems.
Those with a yard or a larger deck
C&D Cat enclosures
Made from redwood lumber and high quality garden mesh, custom orders accepted.
Modular metal enclosures.
Metal cages and runs can be attached to windows or used on deck/yard.
Enclosures for your home, apartment, even your RV!
Gazebo style freestanding enclosures.
Wooden frames, custom available.
Plans for building your own
Safecat Outdoor enclosure plans
Plans cost $21 and have step by step instructions with list of materials and tools needed -anyone with no experience can build this!
Inspiration, photos and ideas to build your own enclosure
Sally’s Cat House
Sally emailed us to say “Once upon a time I was inspired by the cat enclosures found through links provided at your site, and now that I have completed my own, I would like to give back to you for inclusion in your site for the purpose of inspiring others.” Her project certainly is inspiring and beautiful!
A creative cat enclosure
Check out the “cat runs” inside his house, too!
Community Concern for Cats’ enclosure
Built as an addition to the house
A very handsome wood construction
“Cat Fence” Systems
These attach to an existing fence to prevent the cat from climbing out. This is not an enclosure but a modification to existing fences to help contain cats in the yard. Please note that these do not prevent some predators from entering the yard. These systems often require some testing by the cats who will find various ways to escape until the escape routes are traced and patched up! These systems are good if you live in an area with no predators (like hawks coyotes etc) and only allow the cats out during the day when raccoons and other are less likely to enter the yard, and you are home to monitor your pets.
Complete kit to cat-proof your existing fenced yard.
Do It Yourself Cat Fence
An inexpensive solution.
“The Purr…fect Fence is a freestanding cat enclosure/fencing system. No pre-existing fence is required or recommended for Purr…fect Fence to function properly to for cats in yards, cats in feral colonies, in cat rescues, and in animal shelters. We still recommend that cats are brought into the house at night and always have a way get into the house when they are outside during the day.”