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Building Outdoor Cat Enclosures

Do you wish there was a safe, easy, and thrifty way for your pets to enjoy the fine weather? How about an easy up and easy down small kennel? All you need are temporary fence posts, rabbit wire, and zip-ties to make your own cat and critter kennel. Temporary fence posts can easily be sunk into ground that has few rocks using only your feet or a mallet. Temporary fence posts are made for construction areas to quickly, easily and cheaply put up fences.

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They cost around $5 each and have places to hook wire to. You will need 4 - 6 of them depending on the size of your safety kennel. All supplies can be bought in the fencing area of Home Depot. Hardware cloth, rabbit or chicken wire can be cut with simple metal shears (I bought mine at a $1 store), or if you're going to be keeping an eye on your pet, you can use plastic hardware cloth that can be cut with scissors. The hardware cloth costs between $12 and $20 per roll depending on how large of a pet kennel you want to build. Don't forget with cats and other critters you'll need to buy enough to make a cover so they won't jump out. Simply place the fence posts in to the ground, then zip-tie the rabbit wire all around them and on top.

You can build this in under an hour and when autumn comes around, you can take it down in minutes. Everything rolls up and fits into a small space and you'll see no damage to the grass from the temp fence posts. If you want a more durable small-pet kennel, you can instead build it out of wire closet shelves. They come in 12 inch, 15 inch, and 20 inch widths. Home Depot will cut them to any length you need.

I zip-tied two 15 inch wide shelves together to make the roof of Smokey's outdoor kennel and it hooks to his cat door so he can go outside and bird watch any time he pleases. The cool thing is, if I ever take it apart, I can always use the wire shelves out in the garage! Don't forget to add an easy access door. Mine simply ties shut with a piece of nylon rope. Make sure to add a partial roof for shade and provide water. Your pet will have hours of fun especially if you provide a bird feeder close by, so your pet can watch the birds!

By Cyinda from near Seattle, WA

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5 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I have two indoor cats that like to go outside in nice weather. When we let them out to roam in the fenced backyard, my husband and I supervise them. We have some large gaps in places and last time we were out, one cat jumped the fence. They haven't been out since.



So, I'd like to build some sort of "kitty run" for them. I was thinking of making an enclosure out of chicken wire with the wire going over the top so they can't jump out. Has anyone done anything like that? Can anyone think of different materials to use? Thanks!

Kathy from South Dakota

Answers

May 8, 20080 found this helpful

I had two indoor cats several years ago. When I wanted to let them outside I took two very long leashes and attached the handle parts together so that the clip ends were at the outside ends. Then, I'd clip a cat to each end of the one very large leash. The leash was long, so they had freedom to roam; however, since cats do not cooperate, they couldn't get very far very fast. I know it sounds kind of funny, but it worked for us and our cats got to be outside for a brief period of time.

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By sodagirl (Guest Post)
May 8, 20080 found this helpful

I think you're idea with the chicken wire would work great, just be sure to make it large enough so they can explore and play, maybe some large branches or something they can climb and scratch on, maybe somewhere that you could have a kitty door that leads out to it so they could come and go as they please, they'll love it I'm sure!

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May 9, 20080 found this helpful

Here's 2 different tips I submitted to the folks at ThriftyFun last week for 2 different ways to build a cat run or outdoor pet pen. Maybe you'll see them in an up & coming post!

QUICK & EZ TEMPORARY KENNEL FOR CATS & CRITTERS: Do you wish there was a safe, easy & thrifty way for your pets to enjoy the fine weather? How about an EZ up & EZ down small kennel? All you need are temporary fence posts, rabbit wire & zip-ties to make your own cat & critter kennel. Temporary fence posts can easily be sunk into ground that has few rocks using only your feet or a mallet. Temporary fence posts are made for construction areas to quickly, easily & cheaply put up fences. They cost around $5 each & have places to hook wire to. You will need 4 - 6 of them depending on the size of your safety kennel. All supplies can be bought in the fencing area of Home Depot. Hardware cloth, rabbit or chicken wire can be cut with simple metal shears (I bought mine at a $1 store) or if you're going to be keeping an eye on your pet, you can use plastic hardware cloth that can be cut with scissors. The hardware cloth costs between $12 & $20 per roll depending on how large of a pet kennel you want to build. Don't forget with cats & other critters to buy enough to make a cover so they won't jump out. Simply place the fence posts in to the ground, then zip-tie the rabbit wire all around them & on top. I bought my nylon zip-ties at the $1store.

You can build this in under an hour & when autumn comes around you can take it down in minutes. Everything rolls up & fits into a small storage space & you'll see no damage to the grass from the temp fence posts. If you want a more durable small-pet kennel, you can instead build it out of wire closet shelves. They come in 12", 15", & 20" widths & Home Depot will cut them to any length you need. I zip-tied two 15" wide shelves together to make the roof of Smokey's outdoor kennel & it hooks to his cat door so he can go outside & bird watch any time he pleases & the cool thing is, if I ever take it apart I can always use the wire shelves out in the garage! Don't forget to add an easy access door. Mine simply ties shut with a piece of nylon rope. Make sure to add a partial roof for shade & provide water & your pet will have hours of fun especially if you provide a bird feeder close by, so your pet can watch the birds!
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* The pet-run I built for Smokey was built entirely out of wire closet shelves & zip ties. I used 4, 15 inch closet shelves, so the cage measures 15 inches high by 4 feet long by 23 inches wide. Just make sure your pet has the room to stand up tall & stretch. I used 2 wires shelves for the roof & one for each side. At the end I used 2 wire grid pieces to make swinging doors. My cat gets all kinds of use out of his cat-run! When I let him out into the backyard I simply open the swinging doors that are on the opposite end as the cat door by untying the nylon string. If you have the extra money, I recommend making the one from wire closet shelves. It can be left outside all year long, but can't be rolled up & stored like the one made from rabbit wire can. Mine is super-sturdy because I zip-tied one side to the porch railing. When you build yours, be sure to make sure you have at least one sturdy side, by either using a tree, part of the porch, garage, shed or poles in the ground along one side. You can buy all kinds of attachments for the Closetmaid wire shelves. I bought a package of end caps for the shelves. That way the cut ends will be covered so theys won't rust. Make sure to glue these on so your pet wont be able to chew on the & choke. I also bought a bag of plastic pieces with a hole on each side. These are made to just fit over the thicker wires the shelves are made from so you can sink a screw into each side of the plastic piece, This way you can sink several screws into your porch or the side of your home or garage, so you'll only need one side made of wire shelves instead of 2 because your garage or porch will be the other side of the pet-run. If you need to add a small litterbox, be sure to make sure it's in the shade, or you'll be able to smell it for miles! The bottom of you cat-run can be as simple as grass, or you can add a pad for your pet to lay down on, but you'll have to bring it in with you pet so it won't get rained on. Or you can put a mat or thin board inside the kennel. Only you know what your animal likes. Mine prefers the grass between his fuzzy toes!

* If you do use the leash method described here, I would recommend a harness instead of a collar. You'll first have to get your cat used to a harness by having them wear it indoors a little at a time or it can drive some cats a bit crazy because it sometimes feels funny to them, but it's safer than a collar & they can't strangle themselves.

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By jean from MI (Guest Post)
May 9, 20080 found this helpful

My husband made one of chicken wire, sides and top, and cut a door in the wall just big enough for my cat to go in and out, with a cover that slid up and could be hooked. He also made a little square house, about the size of a litter box, so the cat could either get into the shade, or lie on the top and sun himself. Scrapper used it all the time. We made sure he was in at night, and the door shut as we lived in the country, and didn't want to take any chances with the wild "critters".

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May 9, 20080 found this helpful

As I was reading this my only thought was the chicken wire. I know there's wire mesh that looks like window screen but is thick like chicken wire with smaller holes. I would look around and see what the price is for both and then pick.

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By Paula Jo Mebane, NC (Guest Post)
May 9, 20080 found this helpful

We have surrounded our back deck which is an 8x10 - making walls with small holed plastic lattice 4'x8' sheets (you have to special order it from Lowes). They are then fastened together with 1x4's which are also set across the top to be closed in for their top of the deck so the cats "must stay" on their cat deck (which is right off our sliding glass doors where we can keep an eye on them also) they love it and so do we.

I probably haven't explained it well BUT I know my husband (an accountant) figured it out and he isn't even handy with tools. SO if he could do it I am sure your honey can do it too, ha!

Email me with any questions you may have...
dpcarr AT bellsouth.net

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May 9, 20080 found this helpful

Good for you for thinking of their safety instead of just letting them roam. Dogs! Cars! Catfights! Wild animals! Any one of those is enough reason to protect your cats. No doubt you've already prevented surprise breedings, both in and by your cats. Good kitties!

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By Cathy from Townsville, QLD (Guest Post)
May 10, 20080 found this helpful

What about incorporating some of those extendable 'cat tunnels' that are sold now? They are a nylon fabric (I think).

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Read More Answers

Does anyone know how I can make a reasonably easy to make cat enclosure. I am moving and need to have one that can be dismounted and moved every now and then. Also I need to keep my cat amused - I'm running out of ideas.



Sharyl from Adelaide Australia

Answers

By wendee (Guest Post)
October 29, 20050 found this helpful

I'd like some input on this as well! I feel sorry for my kitty home alone all day.. the apartment is basically a big cage. I've considered getting her a companion, another cat, but really can't afford the vet bills etc and many apartments will only allow one pet. I try to play with her as much as I can when I'm home but still feel guilty.

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By Karen Howell (Guest Post)
October 29, 20050 found this helpful

I have a wire dog kennel (48" size is best but a 36" will work). Across the back we put a shelf to give the cat more room and placed the catbox under the shelf with enough room for the cat to get in and out.
Hang some toys from the top and a few balls on the floor to play with. Our cat is handicapped and we have dogs so he is out during the day but when we leave the house and at night he goes back into his kennel. The shelf is where he sleeps. You can often find one of these wire cages at yard sales or thrift stores. Karen

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October 30, 20050 found this helpful

I'm presuming that you mean an outdoor enclosure, and if so, I can help you.

A few years ago one of my cats suddenly went deaf, meaning that I could no longer safely let him outdoors. I visited a fencing shop and bought a roll of mesh wire fencing (the mesh forms two-inch squares), some clips to join the wire, and a tool to close the clips. Then, basically, I made a large, bottomless cube from the mesh, about 6 foot square. My method was to straighten the roll on a large concrete area, then bend it into shape with the help of a plank of wood for sharp, right-angled corners, and use the clips to hold the cube together. To get the 6 foot height I had to cut a second piece which I shaped in the same manner and then clipped securely to the top of the first cube. The wire was thick enough that the cube could now stand on its own. I cut another piece of mesh, and clipped it to the top as a roof.

After this I measured and cut the amount of wire mesh I needed for a door, and cut a slightly smaller hole in one side of the cube with wirecutters. I used the clips as door hinges, and a few pieces of coat hanger wire as latches. I then easily carried the cube to the garden, and attached it to the ground by hammering in tent pegs at regular intervals. The entire process took me only a couple of hours.

The cube can be dismantled at any time by removing the tent pegs and cutting the clips with wire cutters. It can also be added to. I later added a gabled roof to my original cube, and this was then covered in shade cloth. Afterwards I made a second cube which attached to the first with a twenty foot wire mesh tunnel.

Inside the enclosures I put up shelves at various heights for the cats to sleep on, and also a few large tree branches for them to climb. They had lots of toys in there as well. The cats could safely watch the birds through the wire, and they enjoyed lying on the grass that grew at the bottom. The cubes were so strong that I even added hanging baskets of catmint inside, and pretty flowers on the outside.

The enclosures were big enough for me to get inside for cleaning, or just to keep the cats company. My cats love them. But, best of all, they are very inexpensive to make compared to the cost of commercial cat enclosures.

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By Yellowbird (Guest Post)
October 30, 20050 found this helpful

Buy or make one or more window shelves for her to sit on (and sleep on) during the day. She can watch the squirrels, birds and goings on through the windows. Fasten a carpet scrap on it to make it extra inviting.

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November 21, 20050 found this helpful

Try this link for ideas www.cat-world.com.au/cat-worldenclosures.htm
or google "cat enclosure"

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By lynn (Guest Post)
April 1, 20060 found this helpful

go to www.thecatsden.com. click on the photo galleries, especially under apartments. these units are self-supporting will cover a window and you can remove and take with you. they also do custom sizes.

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May 9, 20060 found this helpful

I think guest Lynn meant www.thecatsden.net/, not .com, for pictures of outdoor enclosures for a cat by Cats Den.

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By Trudi (Guest Post)
December 31, 20070 found this helpful

Hi,
I have always let my cats have access to the outdoors. I'm still in the same place. and have a top deck which leads downstairs to a small square yard. To the left & right of me are others yards. The cats can very easily go into the other yards which never was a problem (except once) because there are "slat" in the sides of the fence that separate the houses. There's ONE street that I don't want the cats to get to, and if they wander laterally enough, say, 10 houses, they will hit that street and be in danger. The street is directly over the back of the fence, but I've never seen any of my cats attempt to go over that part of the fence, because it leads to the street, and is covered with jasmine and trees.

They tend to want to go to the yards. What I want to do (me and my neighbor) - is get either screen material or mesh material to cover the sides of the fence so that they can have 2-3 yards and can't go any further than that. The fences are pretty high anyway, and I've never seen any of my cats try to jump over the fence. They've always just wandered through the slats. I believe that will keep them in the yards. My neighbor think this is a good idea also. What kind of mesh would be best? My cats scratch on my screen door and can't seem to get through it, which is good. The cat door is already there. i want my cats to be safe out there so badly and enjoy the outdoors during the day as my previous cats did. I don't care if it costs $500 to do....I'd just feel better letting them out if I felt 100% safe about it. Thanks, Trudi

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By Trudi (Guest Post)
January 21, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you for all your feedback. I'll be reading the webpages in more detail.
Mainly, my neighbors & I (4 cats) don't want the cats to be able to wander through ALL the other yards which would lead to "the street" where there is traffic. Cats have their bag of tricks though so that they can get anywhere they want to. But I think it's doable if taken seriously and I really am. I wish there was a contractor that did this kind of thing and know how to do it effectively and right....
I'll keep on looking. Meanwhile, I have been walking my cats with a nylon harness and they have accidentally gotten out a few times, but mostly as much love and affection as I give them and I'm home with them most of the time, they seem bored...and I feel guilty about that, but if something happened to either one of them, I don't know if I could forgive myself.

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August 2, 2013

I need suggestions for a cat enclosure for my apartment deck. They just put in brand new decks so "attaching it" would not go over too well. I would like to be able to fully enclose it so I can still got out and sit with them. At first I was going to use screen doors and attach them together with hinges, but then I see many are made using 2 inch wire mesh.

The deck would be wide enough for 2 door panels and one on each side. As you can see, I'm kind of stuck on the door theory, but what about this 2 inch wire mesh and making frames from floor to the deck above me? Okay do-it-yourselfers; let the imaginations begin!

By Lisa S

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July 3, 2019

Making a small indoor/outdoor enclosure for your cat can help make your home a more comfortable place for your pet. Making a catio can be very simple and your cat is sure to love it.

Two cats in an enclosure.

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