Outdoor cat enclosures are gaining popularity. Modern times have brought us the cat window patio (often referred to as a Catio), outdoor pet containment systems, and a myriad of do-it-yourself structures for fluffy to roam within. The problem with all of these solutions to feline depression and lack of outdoor stimulation is the price tag and complex construction and assembly.
What if you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on something to contain your cat? What if you’re not the best with a hammer and nails? The following guide will have your kitty outside enjoying the sunshine and green grass safely for as little as $50. Even better, this enclosure is easy to assemble.
Necessity is the mother of invention. All you need are as many 7-foot-tall garden stakes as you need for your intended area, a roll of wildlife netting, a bag of U-frame wire stakes, and some zip ties. The garden stakes will act as your fence posts, and the wildlife netting will be your barrier material. Zip ties and U stakes will secure the netting to your garden stakes and the ground.
Most people plan their cat fence near their house and use a window with a cat flap to access the enclosure. Be creative and don’t be afraid to try your own ideas if a window or pet door doesn’t work for you.
To plan your enclosure, draw out where you will place your garden stakes. Many people start their first garden stake at a corner of their house. Thicker stakes are preferred, but the standard size will work just fine. Space them about 6 to 8 feet apart until you have closed off the area. Drive each garden stake down about one foot into the ground.
Wildlife netting typically comes in rolls that measure around 7 feet tall by 100 feet long. Take your wildlife netting and carefully attach the end of the roll to your first garden stake with zip ties. Space your zip ties about 6 inches apart. Unroll the wildlife netting to your next garden stake and secure it the same way. Moor the bottom of the wildlife netting with the U stake. Push it into the ground until it is secure. Place your U stakes about 1 foot apart. Do this until you have completely enclosed the space.
You may prefer to construct a door for you to enter and exit the newly fenced area with lawn equipment, but this may not be necessary if your enclosure is small. It’s easy to bend the netting close to the ground and step right over it. For small areas, a weed eater would take care of any patches of grass you need to trim. If you need to mow, you may consider constructing a door. Since the weed eaters could easily shred the netting, you may want to find a pet-safe weed killer to apply to the perimeter of the fence.
The enclosure is meant to be bouncy and pliable because cats will not climb on things that don’t feel relatively sturdy. Those who have used this cat enclosure report that their cats paw at the wildlife netting but can’t get their feet off the ground to climb because the mesh gathers and wobbles, and this instability dissuades most cats. It’s also a bit too tall for a cat to jump over.
Limitations to this style of fencing are that it will not hold up to snow, so if you are in a part of the world where you receive a lot of snow and ice, you may consider other options, or keep this fence up for only a portion of the year. Some people have reported that their fence has held up to every element but snow, but the fence should be checked regularly in case other animals disturb it.
Overall, this fence could do the trick if you are on a budget and you want to give your cat a place to enjoy some fresh air. This fence may also be appealing to those who have a cat that isn’t fond of litter boxes and prefers to eliminate on grass or soil. Add your own ideas to this simple construction and make it your own. This cheap, do-it-yourself enclosure is an excellent way to provide safe outdoor fun and mental stimulation for cats of all ages.