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Building Outdoor Cat Enclosures

Category Cats
Keeping your indoor cat safe and secure and allowing them some outdoor time is easy with a cat enclosure. This is a page about building outdoor cat enclosures.


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By 5 found this helpful
May 14, 2008

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.

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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By 0 found this helpful
October 29, 2005

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


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  ldenclosures.htm
or google "cat enclosure"

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

go to 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, 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

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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By Lynn (Guest Post)
July 24, 20080 found this helpful


I have successfully used black vinyl netting (the kind used to cover fruit trees and berry patches) attached to my chain link fence to prevent my cats from getting out of the enclosure.
I simply hook the netting onto the wire ends that stick up at the top of each panel. I put the netting on the inside as it makes the fence harder to climb and I also once had a cat who stuck her head through one of the open spaces in the fence and just about strangled herself.
I also run netting over the top of the fence area, so just in case they can climb up they'll bump into a netting barrier.
I really think that the netting would work very well for the "slat" fence problem. It's cheap, strong and can easily be replaced.

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By cynthia (Guest Post)
July 27, 20080 found this helpful

The best thing i used in Kentucky was a product made by a deer fencing company Easy to put up in the early spring when the ground is soft. this product gave me the largest fenced in area for my cats. I actually fenced in my whole backyard and installed one of their access gates. Great product but be sure to use the rodent proof chew guard around the bottom or you can get holed your cat will surely find.

Also be sure your access gate is snug. I had one skinny cat who could slip through if it was off at all. I added some hardware cloth to the bottom of the gate and this solved the problem. I also had to lock the gate because of ignorant neighbors. Be sure kitties have access to your house in case of intruders (possums, and coons still found their way in AND into my cat door by the way)

Another note on enclosures, my cats have ALWAYS hated any enclosure I could not go in with them. They knew they were caged.

I now live in an apartment with a shared patio. Not ideal for the long run but it will do for this summer. I bought a screen house like the ones used for camping. 12X12 for around 200 dollars. I cut flaps in the roof that I can roll open if need be. I wrapped the base of the tent around boards and staple gunned them to the tent.

I also put a big planter in the center and lots of potted plants to hide in and explore. They LOVE it but I do not leave them in there unattended. They chase bugs, visit with the neighbors (who love to visit the kitties there) and spy on the dog next door.

We go for outings in the tent when I want to drink coffee & water the plants, catch up on phone calls or enjoy an evening drink with friend. I put solar lanterns inside because with my work schedule we often go out at night. This is not often enough but the tent was a quick option that the landlord had no issue approving because it is totally removable when I move out.

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August 2, 20130 found this helpful

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


August 4, 20130 found this helpful

This is how I did my deck for my cats. I went to the local feed store and bought a large roll of rabbit fencing. the openings are 4 in. by 2 in. I bought a roll that was 48 in. tall. I began on the corner closest to the house and rolled it along the deck rail attaching it with a staple gun every couple of posts. When I got to the farthest corner I cut off the remainder with wire cutters. Because cats can climb fences easily you need to bend the top 10 inches towards you at a 45 degree angle. Cats will look at the inward angle and either not try to climb, or climb and give up when they get to it. I have watched my cats do both. None have ever escaped. The deck is 30 ft. by 12 ft. and it cost me about $50 to do it and it helped a lot to have 2 people. It took us about 20 minutes. Good luck!

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