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Creating a Safe Outdoor Enclosure for Your Cats

Updated on September 14, 2016
Maggie Bonham profile image

Maggie Bonham, or Margaret H. Bonham, is a multiple award-winning pet author and expert. She has written more than 20 books on pets.

Many cat owners would love to see their cats enjoy the great outdoors, however, outside is filled with peril. Cats can stray too far from home and can be hit by traffic, chased and killed by dogs, or injured in other ways. If you do want to give your cat time outdoors it's important to create a safe environment. One way to do so is with cat netting. The netting is soft and unobtrusive and can give your cat a fun and controlled outdoor enclosure.

Tools and Supplies You Need

Cat netting with zippered door
Measuring tape
U-shaped nails
Safety glasses
Wire clamps
Wire ties

Find the Perfect Place

Locate a place for your cat enclosure. The ideal place should be partially enclosed and have walls and a roof such as under a balcony, on a porch, under the eaves, or some other area suitable for hanging cat netting. Some people like to enclose their entire porch or balcony for an excellent kitty haven. The place should be an area that gets both sun and shade -- or part of it can be shaded to keep your cats from getting too warm.

Measuring for the Cat Netting

Measure the area you want to enclose with cat netting. Add an extra inch or two to each side to ensure proper overlap.Too much is better than not enough, as once you cut, you've committed yourself to the size.

Inside or Out?

Do you let your cat go outside?

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Attaching to Wooden Structures

The easiest way to attach the netting is to attach to wooden areas, such as decks, railroad ties, planks and the like. Use U-shaped nails to attach the netting to the wood. Staple guns may work too to attach the netting, but the staples may pull out, especially if you have a cat gymnast.

Installing in Brick or Concrete

If you're installing in brick or concrete, you will have to plan on installing eyebolts into the concrete or brick and threading a wire through it so you can attach the netting to the wire. Drill holes to bolt eyebolts into concrete or brick every 3 feet if the attachment points are brick or concrete. Thread the wire through the eyebolts and clamp them closed with proper wire clamps. Attach cat netting to wire with wire ties and tighten securely.

Add the Door and Shade

Add panel with zippered door in the spot you wish to have your cat entrance and exit. You may have to sew in or weave in the zippered door. If your cat enclosure gets direct sunlight, consider adding something to provide shade, such as a trellis or other item that will help block the sun.

Furnishing Your Cat Enclosure

Once you have your cat enclosure, the next step is to make it inviting. Yes, being outside is inviting, but having some great cat trees, beds, cat gyms, and plants make it much more enjoyable. Try a planter of wheat grass, catnip, catmint and valerian for your kitty. Choose a cat gym that climbs upward with several perches and several cat scratchers. Add a few cushy beds, a litter box, water and food dishes, and your outdoor enclosure will be the cat's meow!

See the references for plans and ideas to make the ideal cat enclosure.


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