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Outdoor cat enclosures?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi Guys

My husband and I finally live in a house rather than an apartment and we now have the ability to make an outdoor cat enclosure for the kitties. I think that this would REALLY make Blue super happy. She loves it outside but I just don't trust harnesses

We would like to build one. I just found this site and I would love to get one of these but, boy, are they expensive!!

My plan is to make it at least 3 levels high because we have to put it on our deck and I would like Blue to be able to see over the top of the railing. I would love to be able to let them have access through a cat door all the time but I can't see that happening since we are renting.

I was planning to make it 3 levels high (I just said that ) and I would put a litter box on the bottom level and a pot of cat grass. I also want to make sure there is an area of shade and lots of places where they can sun themselves. I will never put them out there without supervision because they will not be able to get out of there on their own if they get too hot. I will also put a dish of water out there.

I was thinking I would put screen around the enclosure but then bugs won't be able to get in and I think that the cats would love to have some bugs to hunt. So, we got chicken wire. I hope that this works ok. I plan to make sure there are no sharp edges around anywhere where they could scratch themselves on.

Has anyone on here made their own? How did you make it? What did you make it with?

Thanks
post #2 of 15
Hi there! You're in the same position I was in about a month ago. I found out I have some birds of prey in the area so I was desperate to make something for my two. After thinking about it for weeks, I ended up buying from the site you linked to. I just couldn't risk making something that wasn't secure enough to protect them. Although it was expensive, I've had it up for two days now and can say it was TOTALLY worth it. Fortunately I have a cat store near me that has one of their systems up, so I was able to see it before I took the plunge. I can say that you will not be sorry.

Now that I have this, I had thought I might try to make something identical to add on later, but the materials they used are pretty tough to work with. I think you'd have to have professional tools (not something you can buy from a home improvement store) to make these. If you do come up with something, please share. I think with all of the stuff going on for me at my job, I really didn't have the time to build something anyways. I'll share pics of mine once the sun finally comes out.
post #3 of 15
That's a really good idea!

That site is awesome! Thank you for sharing it. I like the idea of the iron bars and the garden look. The black iron bars, if done ornate would make any garden look really nice.
But you're right, that would be pretty expensive.
They did have do it yourself kits. From the looks of it a do it yourself kit wasn't to expensive.
It might be a good idea to contact the site and see about purchasing (just) the manual or a builders guide and then checking into how much buying the stuff to build it separately would be.
Look into things like replacing the iron bars with PVC tubing. Which would be WAY cheaper. But you would also have to keep the safety of the cats in mind when you look for the proper PVC to use.
I know there is a wire mesh that is plastic rather then metal. Simply because the plastic is more animal friendly.
You might be able to get away with a wood, PVC, plastic mesh combo.
Which could save you hundreds of dollars or more.

This one was my favorite.
http://habitathaven.com/gallery/hide-away-LG.gif

We should brain scheme and then we can sell the world our cheaper more cat friendly outdoor enclosures.
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueandfrodo View Post
I would love to be able to let them have access through a cat door all the time but I can't see that happening since we are renting.
Is there a window access to that deck? If so, you could take the screen out of a window and cut a piece of wood to fit into the window when it is open. Then put the cat door in that piece of wood.

I choose to just cat proof most of my backyard since I have two that are outdoor only cats.
post #5 of 15
Eventually we plan on building a screened in porch or gazabo type of enclosure for us - but will also design it for the cats to hang out with us when we choose to take them out.

Have you thought of that idea - to just buy a gazabo and build some extra things in it for the cats?
post #6 of 15
I am glad you are going to enable your cats to get outside.

Just a couple of suggestions. I had made my own years ago, and used chicken wire on the top. I converted a chain link dog enclosure. One day, I went to check and my cats had gotten out through a hole in the wire. Raccoons had chewed through the wire. IMO, chicken wire is too soft.

My husband built a really nice one of cedar. They have access to the house and he used heavy gauge wire, with about 1/2 inch grid. I think it's called hardware cloth. But it's not cloth, it is wire and excellent. Nothing will chew through that.

Everyday, when you let your kitties out, do a visual inspection. Even with the very secure run I have, I have a ritual that I check first. We have bats at night here, and I always make sure there is nothing inside their run.

Good luck!
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Is there a window access to that deck? If so, you could take the screen out of a window and cut a piece of wood to fit into the window when it is open. Then put the cat door in that piece of wood.

I choose to just cat proof most of my backyard since I have two that are outdoor only cats.
This is the one I purchased and I installed it in my bedroom window. I love it because it didn't require any damage or holes to the current window. You just pop it in, tighten it down (self contained) and close the window. It comes with a pin that you can secure your window with (I just slid it in the track instead of drilling it through). It looks really nice too. The side panes are glass, not plastic which surprised me.

http://www.amazon.com/Wide-Window-Sa.../dp/B001EE7XTC

As far as the enclosure goes, I have tunnels going out along the side of the house from the window, running down a long fence (16 feet) and into the 6'x4'x6' enclosure. I used their "create your own" since the pre-made kits didn't fit my needs. You have to do a LOT of measuring and planning first though. But this is totally worth it! The only downside is now I hardly see my little girl anymore. At least she's in cat heaven!
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by farleyv View Post
Raccoons had chewed through the wire. IMO, chicken wire is too soft.

My husband built a really nice one of cedar. They have access to the house and he used heavy gauge wire, with about 1/2 inch grid. I think it's called hardware cloth. But it's not cloth, it is wire and excellent. Nothing will chew through that.
It's a good choice, though a little more expensive as far wire goes. I've used welded wire on my cat proof fencing because it's rigid enough to hold a shape. An adult cat can't get through that, though tiny kittens (which shouldn't be outside anyways) could.
post #9 of 15
Here are pictures of the enclosure I built last summer.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice!! I can't wait to start building.

We do have a window that looks out over the deck, but it is in my husband's music room and the kitties are not allowed in there. Too many things for them to scratch on/knock over.

White cat lover: that is a fantastic enclosure! I would love to do something that big but we just don't have the space at the moment. One day though!

We don't have to worry about raccoons chewing through the chicken wire. We don't have raccoons here in Newfoundland Haha! I don't have to worry about the cats doing anything to the wire either. I have 2 senior kitties who will pretty much just enjoy the sun and bat at the occasional bug

I will post some pictures when we get it done. Thank you again!
post #11 of 15
I have also made an outdoor enclosure on my deck made out of a dog exercise kennel. It's not very big, and I built a secure lid on it - but the kitties like a chance to get outside once in awhile. (Note I bought my dog exercise kennels secondhand so they were cheap)
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
That is a good idea too Thank you.

I think that I will end up with something made from wood and the chicken wire. I will make 3 levels and I am sure that my guys will enjoy it. Once we have more room and I can put the enclosure on the ground rather than the deck I will make it bigger and put more things in there for them to do/play with.

I would LOVE to order from that site that I listed but besides the crazy cost of the enclosure itself I just realized that shipping would be nuts!! I live in Newfoundland, in a remote community, it would be extremely difficult to get something like that to me.
post #13 of 15
I think an enclosure made with wire and regular lumber (2 x 4s) is probably your best bet. Sturdier, and you can make it however you want.
post #14 of 15
Here are some photos of mine:







post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
That is VERY nice, Hissy! It is way bigger than I could do but, WOW!, you did a fantastic job! I bet your cats love it
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