Building or buying outdoor cat enclosures can be the perfect solution if you’re concerned about leaving your cat at home all day.
Cats are naturally outdoor creatures so cat owners are left with three options if there’s no-one at home to let them in and out all the time.
You can either make them indoor cats, which can seem unfair, install a cat flap which can mean that other neighborhood cats and burglars could get in, or you could leave your cat outside all day.
This latter option is preferred by most cat owners and to remove any guilt or worry about leaving your pet open to the elements you can build them an outside cat enclosure to keep them safe.
When you start looking at outdoor cat enclosures, you may see many similarities to a rabbit run.
A basic structure should be made of timber and chicken wire to allow maximum ventilation and means that your cat still has access to the sounds and smells of being outside in a controlled environment.
However, there are some key differences:
Multiple levels – your cat likes to use every available space and it’s a rare feline who won’t take the opportunity to jump all over your furniture. Your outdoor enclosure needs to have lots of little ledges or levels for your cat to explore and sleep on.
Size – cats are very particular about where they go to the bathroom and you’ll find small areas where they will dig up the dirt, do their business and cover it back up. If you only have a small enclosure then you’re not giving your cat much space to get away from their picked location.
Ideally your enclosure should be around three meters long and at least one meter wide but try to get as big as your budget and garden will allow.
Shelter – rabbits tend to be happy whatever the weather but most cats absolutely hate getting wet. Your cat enclosure should have at least one spacious shelter which is fitted out with somewhere soft to sleep and your cat’s food and water bowls.
In all likelihood, your cat will spend a lot of time asleep in here as it provides them protection against any would be predators.
Your cat will naturally use the outdoor world as a playground and scratching post and will relish the ability to go anywhere they please. When you’re looking at outdoor cat enclosures, you’ll need to find something that offers the same level of challenge in a much smaller space.
For example, your enclosure could have things dangling down from the ceiling, hidden spaces for treats for your cats to find and numerous scratching posts to help your cat keep their claws in shape.
Each additional feature or challenge can up the price of your cat enclosure, so you can save money by buying a basic model and making the modifications yourself. A length of wire with bottle caps will make an attractive object to hit around and a simple ping pong ball can keep them running around for hours.
You could even add challenge by putting their favorite toys or round objects covered with catnip spray to keep them busy.
If you’re really working on a tight budget, you can find a range of designs for outdoor cat enclosures on the internet. The simplest and cheapest design is an A frame made up of five long lengths of timber arranged in a triangle position.
You then cover the sides with chicken wire and make a few slats to create a shelter at one end.
You can leave the bottom open so your cat can get the feeling of grass and dirt under their feet as well as a choice of places for their bathroom.
Prefer to Buy an Outside Cat Enclosure
KatKabin Outdoor Cat House
Outdoor Cat Run
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