Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Outdoor Cat Enclosure

My fiancé’s dad built a large outdoor enclosure for his two cats to enjoy during the warm weather and they love it! He used simple materials like 2’X4’s, wire mesh, and a large tarp. He kept the design simple and added little extras like a rope-covered post for scratching and an astro-turf like material (that was meant for scratching) but the cats decided to use it as a nice sleeping spot.

There are different perches at different heights and in one corner he built an enclosed box for extra privacy and protection from the elements. There is a spot for a litter box and an area for food and water. There is a large door on the front to allow for easy access and he has planted sunflowers along the outside parameter to help camouflage the enclosure.

With such an enclosure, the cats get to enjoy their “natural” environment. They get to experience the sites, sounds, smells, touch and tastes of nature, while you’re not worrying about their safety or the safety of other animals. Squeezy and Tiger love to lie in the sun, sniff the fresh air, munch on stalks of grass and chase bugs. These kitties couldn’t be happier and all it took was a few simple materials (gathered from local home improvement stores), a little planning, and some elbow grease. I hope this post will help you get some ideas for outdoor enclosures for your kitties. They will thank you for it!


iowahawkeye said...

Thanks for sharing this...i'm curious about how you'll keep the shetler safe from the elements..will this be moved to somewhere dry for the wet/winter months? I'd love to build something like this! thanks

Alley Cat Rescue said...

Thank you for leaving a comment, I hope this helps give you an idea so you can build one yourself. To answer your question, it stays outside permanently. The gentleman paints and stains the wood to protect it and I'm sure he uses a weather-resistant stain. Also, from the pictures, you can see he keeps a tarp over the top to help keep some of it protected from the weather (and to protect the kitties).

Mary said...

I am planning to build a catio for my two cats. However, I want to enclose my catio with pet proof screen over the wire to keep out mosquitoes. My vet said that cats can get heartworm disease just like dogs can and for cats there is no prevention medication. So why don't I ever see anyone's catio covered with screen? Just wondering why no one thinks it is necessary.

Alley Cat Rescue said...

You make a good point about using screen to help protect the cats (and us) from mosquitoes. That is a great idea.

However, I am not sure why your vet told you there is no prevention for heartworms in cats, because there are several types of prevention medications, such as Heartgard, Interceptor and Revolution. These are made for both dogs and cats.

Anonymous said...

Hi, can you please tell me the demensions of this enclosure.

Alley Cat Rescue said...

The enclosure is roughly 6ft by 10ft by 7ft tall.

Dtmheat said...


I'm glad I found this blog. I'm looking to build a cat enclosure very similar to this one but was wondering if you knew or could find out how the enclosure is supported to keep from "tipping" over...is it braced to the ground (and how) or is it completely free standing/portable?
Thanks and great enclosure!

Natalie said...

Thanks for this post!

Ted-N-91740 said...

I know this is an old post. I'm looking to build something for my FIV cat that currently lives in my back bedroom. He is isolated from my non-FIV cats for all of the right reasons. But I would like to make a catio enclosure for him and let him get into it from the bedroom window.
The enclosure featured in this story does not seem to have a passageway for the cats to get back into their house. Or is this their permanent house?
Are the cats transferred via cat carrier perhaps between their enclosure and real house?
I'm looking for ideas.
Thank you

Alley Cat Rescue said...

Hi Ted, the enclosure shown in the blog is a permanent spot for a couple cats that are markers. In the catio is an insulated dog kennel with a heat lamp for winter.
Your idea for access from a bedroom is a good one that we've seen before. Totally doable, and you can get cat doors that will fit in windows at most of the big-box stores. This link has some good pictures, and could be like what you're envisioning. http://jacksongalaxy.com/2012/07/27/catification-janes-diy-cat-run/

Anonymous said...

How do you keep the structure from tipping over? Is it anchored into the ground some way?

Alley Cat Rescue said...

Hi Anonymous from yesterday,

This particular structure is not anchored to the ground. It's been in use for years and has been moved by wind or weather. Only the tarp over the top has become worn and needed replacing.