Picture of Cat Enclosure
My parents recently got a third cat, and it became too much of a hassle to keep track of them outside so I decided to make an outdoor cat enclosure. This instructable will take you through all the necessary steps to create mine or your own cat enclosure. The cage is made up of a schedule-40 pvc frame,  plastic chicken wire (poultry fencing?), and some composite wood platforms.

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Step 1: Make A Plan

Start off by deciding how much space you have in the yard and how much your cats are going to want. Keep in mind that the pipe is cheap and that fancy fittings like the three way joints are what will rack up. I chose my dimensions, 7X5X3, because my cats love to climb and the length and width facilitated three levels of platforms that would fit in the shade.

here was my shopping list:

1.)  12 - 10 foot schedule-40 1/2'' PVC¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dpvc%2B3-way%2B1%252F2&facetInfo=
2.)  4 - 3-way fittings (most stores have the third direction tapped but Lowes had the right ones in my town)¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dpvc%2B3-way%2B1%252F2&facetInfo=
3.) 24 - T fittings¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dpvc%2Bt%2B1%252F2&facetInfo=
4.) 36'' X 50' plastic poultry netting¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dpoultry&facetInfo=
5.) ZIP TIES (100 - 150 will be plenty, cheap at dollar tree)

Got it all for $80.00

You might also need:

1.) a pipe cutter
2.) a marker
3.) tape measure
Falcongirl9 months ago
@api001 Change the sizes so it's 6.5'L, 42"H, 42"D. Then you could line it with 48" pet screen and hold it on with PVC snap clamps. Probably not the cheapest of solutions, considering the cost of the pet screen, but it'd be cat proof. Cheaper would be plain mosquito netting held on the same way.
Jared_Reabow9 months ago
who doesn't le their cat roam outside, seriously, a cat it a part wild animal.locking them indoors and in cages is like locking a dog in a cage 24/7
Actually, cats are not wild animals. They have been domesticated for thousands of years. They live longer, healthier lives when inside and they tend to be extremely content with indoor lives. Having volunteered with an animal rescue for a few years I HATE it when people let their cats run loose (ditto for dogs). I've seen the results. Usuallly outdoor cats aren't even neutered, which results in large numbers of feral kittens who suffer from and die from easily preventable diseases, like URI. It is horrible, absolutely horrible to see how much "wild" cats suffer. They are not designed to survive on their own. On occasion one does, but it is a harsh and horrible life. it is inexcusable and irresponsible to let cats run loose.
Many people do not let their cats out. Bad for the cats, bad for wildlife, When cats are let out they become an invasive species in that environment and damage the bird population.

Letting cats out is not responsible citizenship,
Cats allowed to roam freely outside are more likely to encounter dangerous situations (fights, dogs, busy streets) that can injure or even kill them. They also are more likely to get fleas, ticks, and diseases, even if they have immunizations (which many outdoor cats don't). It has been proven that indoor cats are much healthier and live longer. And domestic cats are not "wild animal". Using the outdoor "cage" is a way of allowing them outdoors to enjoy the grass & some semblance of freedom while still keeping them safe. And cats sleep much of the time anyway so it's not a hardship on them.
I used to think the same thing.. and still do.. but after a neighbor figured letting his pitbull run free was also cool.. I changed my mind. Well, that and the fact his stupid dog attacked my cat and tore her almost in half. 3 grand later... she lived... and is stil alive, but she is an indoor cat now...
People who don't want their cat to get by a car, that's who.
roystonlodge9 months ago
Such a good idea. I've wanted to take my cat up to the cottage, but I'm always afraid he'll wander off and get into a scuffle with the abundant wildlife. This may be a solution.
HandyMan19599 months ago
Did you do anything with the platforms to weather resist them?
gam cad (author)  HandyMan19599 months ago
A layer of primer and paint as well as some Rust-Oleum never-wet. Then they are wrapped in outdoor carpet.
kaelby9 months ago
Looks like the easiest cat run I've seen and damn cheap. We've had a indoor cat who spent the first year outside so she'd really like to go out there (kept in because she's got short legs and always got stuck in next door picking fights with there dog and catching birds everyday:S). We've never had the time or money to make a run, but this would be perfect! She hates it in the summer when we're all outside and she cries to be out with us :(
kaelby kaelby9 months ago
Ok, turns out pvc piping and the fittings are much harder to come by and more expensive in the uk :( will keep looking
pattiemelt kaelby9 months ago
You can also use electrical conduit - there is a thinwall variety available in the US that might also be available in the UK. It's a little heavier, but not much, & more durable than PVC.
kaelby pattiemelt9 months ago
I will check that out thanks. I did find 21.5mm pvc overflow pipe and connections on a local plumbing supply centre website, I guess that would work?
pattiemelt kaelby9 months ago
That would work. It's a little larger diameter than specified, but that shouldn't matter.
bözden9 months ago
Free the cats please...
lesizz bözden9 months ago
Wrong! Letting cats run free is BAD for the cats, they encounter many dangers to their health and safety. Also they are a threat to the bird population. In many places it's illegal to let cats run free.
Keep the cats away from cars, please.
dropkick9 months ago
I have one concern and I hope it won't affect you.

Years ago I built a sprinkler out of Schedule 40 PVC pipe. I hooked 80 feet of it together with a pulsating sprinkler head every 20 feet, and then attached to to the top of my side fence. I was able to water almost my entire yard with one go. It was wonderful.

When fall came I drained it and left it on top of the fence, as I had no way to store it, or even take it down. The next spring I hooked my hose to it and turned it on. Nothing happened. I looked for the problem, and what I found was that the PVC pipe had deteriorated so that the upper portion of it (that had been directly in the weather) would crumble with the slightest pressure.

I don't know what caused this, be it, sunlight, freezing temperatures, aging in the open, or just a bad batch of pipe. I do know that other people have used this pipe to build frames for green houses, chicken coops, chicken tractors, and many other things and I've never heard of anyone else having this problem. Even so I thought I should pass on my concern so you would be aware of a possible future problem.

Hopefully it was just a quirk and you won't have this problem.
Schedule 40 PVC is not UV-resistant so it doesn't last under constant exposure to sunlight. If you want something that will work for an exposed area like that, go over to the Electrical department and get the Schedule 40 PVC electrical conduit. It is available in the same sizes, but is rated for aboveground use since it is UV-protected. It's also gray which blends in with weathered wood (if that is what you have).
skinnyjake9 months ago
Poor cats
gam cad (author)  skinnyjake9 months ago
Well I don't know how everyone else would use an enclosure like this, but I made mine just to let the cats get outside for a couple hours (they are indoor cats). They enjoy the weather and eating grass so it is just a nice safe place for them. It is definitely not big enough for them to live in :( .
+1 especially as they were once allowed to roam free :( That's a tiny space for 3 cats, even my local pet store has a bigger space for kittens half the size...
Safe cats.
kathkins9 months ago
Great job! I wish I had seen this before buying a dog kennel for the kittens and cats I find and rescue. Dog kennel was about $200. I like the cost of your construction much better. Also, I like the idea of using plastic chicken wire. I didn't know they made such stuff. I'll check with Lowes next time I get into town.
I plan on taking down the cyclone fencing that makes up the dog kennel and replacing it with plastic. A much better idea. My only concern is that kittens might be small enough to get through those plastic holes. A few did escape from my kennel through the cyclone fencing before I added real chicken wire.
The plastic will make my cat/kitten enclosure so much lighter. I'll keep the metal frame, just replace the cyclone fencing.
Great work! And thanks.
By the way, for those who worry about cats and kittens being in a small confined space like this, it's far better and safer that they're in there than left out in the wild or near busy streets where they might get run over.
We live in the country and there are predators in the woods around our house, and although we allow our cats (we have 16) to roam around free, the new ones that we haven't had fixed yet and given their shots are fine in this type of enclosure.
We have covered cardboard boxes with holes cut out for them to play in and give them shelter against the rain and to offer them a place to hide whenever they feel like hiding.
Once again, nice work and great idea you have here!
api0019 months ago
So, a question from Texas.
We have a real mosquito problem down here. Can anyone recommend a cat-proof netting mod that would provide suitable protection?

Thanks, y'all,
klewis109 months ago
How did you put your cats in it at first? Raise the whole thing up and put one in, one by one or did you leave a side that can be opened and then secured again?

This is great! I also have 3 cats and I feel so bad that they can't go out and eat grass and watch the birds. I made my awnings using pvc and I have seen furniture made from it also. Thanks for sharing.
gam cad (author)  klewis109 months ago
Well I tried both. For the door, I cut a slit, up and down, a foot long and slid the cats in and out of it. Then used bungee ties (originally carabiners) to hold it back together (it works and is easy to get the cats in). However, lifting the enclosure up is much easier to get them out.
kmbrmom9 months ago
Clever you! Now I have ideas for an indoor cat tower of pvc, which I hadn't considered before (weirdly).

Tipped on its side, this might also make a nifty movable urban chicken enclosure so they can forage for bugs without fear of...cats. I mean if you can keep them in, you can probably keep them out, right?
gpay109 months ago
I imagine this would work for pups and small dogs as well. very ingenious !
gam cad (author)  gpay109 months ago
Yep! I have a miniature dachshund that shares it with the cats and he seems to like it.
j0lt9 months ago
How is it stable on the ground ? Won't it flip over if a cat tries to climb on a side net ?
The bottom PVC sections can be filled with sand for extra weight and stability. Larger diameter PVC can be used on the bottom for even more weight (sand) and stability. I suppose as another option, one could just anchor it with some "tent" stakes made from metal clothes hangers. My two cents. Neat idea, and inexpensive, nice!
gam cad (author)  j0lt9 months ago
The force of the cat climbing up the side is mostly downward and doesn't cause the enclosure to tip. However, since the cats can climb above the center of gravity (about 2.5') it might be possible for them to flip it by jumping into the net. I just weighed it (60 pounds), and it is much to heavy for a cat to knock over. As a testament to that, in the process I almost got stuck inside it :) so it is more stable then its dimensions may imply.
katieibond9 months ago
My son's cat always wants outside when everyone is outside (actually, all times) and this would mean we could be outside and she could too. I love this PVC and thank Instructables for posting.
ThamarBerber9 months ago
Thanks for this 'Ible. Just what I (and my cats) needed.
pnsgal9 months ago
This is great. I am a cat breeder and when kittens are 8 to 12 weeks you really need somewhere to keep them confined but where they can get sunshine. Thanks.
hotstuff57219 months ago
dmhusted9 months ago
Way cool
spyder20219 months ago
You can use chicken wire. Its not sharp so you wont hurt your cats. Plus they wont be able to claw it. Great work, I love using PVC!

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