Outdoor cat enclosures offer the perfect opportunity for active cats to spread their wings. You can relax with a secure enclosure installed, knowing you don’t have to worry about runaways, injuries from cars or other accidents. Giving your cat an enclosure also protects backyard wildlife.
Homemade enclosures and commercially available kits offer a wide variety of choices for the discriminating cat lover (See the May 2007 issue of CAT FANCY magazine). Options abound from small window-side units with platforms just large enough for a nap in the sun to sprawling enclosures big enough to accommodate patio furniture, scratching posts, tree stumps and cat-friendly herb gardens.
Whether you own a home on several acres or rent an apartment, there is an enclosure that’s right for your situation and price range. Here are just a few examples of what’s available.
Wild Whiskers Feline FunhouseRetail Price: $64.99
Not only is this “funhouse” small enough for any yard, you can take it with you to the park, the beach or a friend’s house. The netting provides ample sunshine — the perfect napping spot for your cat. It can be sprayed off and hung out to dry, which makes for easy cleaning. The entire unit folds up into a round carrying case no larger than a Frisbee. It’s ready to go, straight out of the box.
Water, food, shade and litterbox should be essential ingredients to any outdoor environment for cats. Because this enclosure is short on space, providing every one of these ingredients presents a challenge. Do not leave your cat unattended for a long period of time without these essential ingredients.
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C&D Pet Products Standard Cat Enclosure Kit Retail Price: $364.99
This steel wire and redwood constructed enclosure with adjustable platforms is big enough to accommodate more than one cat and a scratching post, toys and all the necessities. The enclosure offers an attractive, easy-to-assemble option with the security of durable, weather resistant materials. It prevents coyotes, Cooper’s hawks and other predators from harming your pets and connects easily to the home to allow easy access to the outdoors.
If this enclosure is attached to the home, make sure the hinged door is secure to prevent a home invasion. Often, criminals will look for doggy doors and open windows leading to cat enclosures as an easy access point.
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SafeCat Outdoor EnclosuresRetail Price: Construction manual – $25 plus $4 shipping and handlingMaterials: $500 to $1,500 (and up)
Picture it … An outdoor cat paradise, complete with tree stumps and branches for climbing, perches for lounging and room enough for patio furniture you can enjoy with your pets. Buy the plans for this luxury enclosure and you’ll have a roadmap to use when constructing the structure. Obtain the specified materials from your local home improvement store and you can completely customize the environment to suit your exact needs.
If you’re not handy, you may want to hire a contractor who can easily follow the comprehensive construction plans in the manual. In a big enclosure like this one, you’ll need to routinely check the fencing and openings to make sure they are secure and escape-proof.
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With an outdoor enclosure fit for every budget and every cat, how could you not pamper your cat with one?
Tom Barthel is a Michigan-based freelance writer specializing in pet care topics and the outdoors. For more information visit his blog.