Instructables
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
http://www.lowes.com/pd_23966-1814-PVC+04005++0600_0__?productId=3133079&Ntt=pvc+3-way+1%2F2&pl=1¤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)
http://www.lowes.com/pd_315498-1815-413005RMC_0__?productId=3344666&Ntt=pvc+3-way+1%2F2&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dpvc%2B3-way%2B1%252F2&facetInfo=
3.) 24 - T fittings
http://www.lowes.com/pd_26051-1814-PVC+02400C+0600HC_0__?productId=3514896&Ntt=pvc+t+1%2F2&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dpvc%2Bt%2B1%252F2&facetInfo=
4.) 36'' X 50' plastic poultry netting   
http://www.lowes.com/pd_157764-13113-090786_0__?productId=3457516&Ntt=poultry&pl=1¤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
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crank_girl6 months ago

In the UK it's really frowned upon to keep cats indoors. None of the rehoming charities will consider letting a person adopt a cat if it is to be kept indoors, unless there are really compelling health reasons, ie flv. The general feeling being that if you live in an environment where it is unsuitable to allow a cat outside then you simply don't get a cat. Quality of life, mental and emotional wellbeing, are just as important as a cat's physical health.

Yeah and in the US they think it is ok to declaw their cats - doesn't mean it is right. So long as you have plenty to keep them stimulated and have running space a cat will be perfectly happy as an indoor plus it is safer for them and they live longer. People are getting less tolerant of cats so can cause harm, they get run over by cars & get illnesses by fighting other cats. In Australia the majority of shelters do the opposite of the UK and will only rehome if the cat is going to be indoor.

Thank you for posting! I take care of farm/barn cats who were born & raised in the wild. They have virtually no desire to be indoors, and the only other option is going to the shelter to eventually be put down since they aren't "adoptable." This will allow me to introduce them to our acreage/sanctuary while they adjust to this location, instead of them being euthanized. For the record, they will ALL be spayed or neutered.
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

As a veterinarian who tried to save so many outdoor kitties--or cremate their remains--I heartily disagree with leaving your cats roam outdoors. I used to before I knew better. Leukemia and cars claimed the lives of some of my dearest pets. Yes, they love to roam, but cars, disease, entrapment, cruel sadists who intentionally hurt cats or use them to train fighting dogs are very real dangers. In many areas--even urban areas--coyotes can be a real threat. They kill many outdoor kitties in San Diego as part of their normal hunting patterns. Build a kitty habitat. Save yourself some huge veterinary bills. Cats live longer, healthier lives in your indoor environment. Make it fun for them inside and out. And get them neutered for the sake of the offspring that will be killed in a shelter and the people who have to kill them.

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.

Very well explained! People need to be informed. Disease AND accidents AND death by coyotes. People need to be informed.

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.
water rat1 month ago

I wonder how I could modify this for my pet rats? I would love to build an enclosure I could go into to play with them, as they are rescues from abusive situations & are much happier in their own turf.

bözden1 year ago
Free the cats please...
Keep the cats away from cars, please.

It should be the other way around. Keep the cars away from cats, please. I have seen more drivers speed up their cars and intentionally run over cats. I should know it has happened to 2 of mine who was outside with me and chased a bird which cats do and was coming back home and that was when they were hit at different times in front of me.

LesB bözden1 year 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.
Falcongirl1 year 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.
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.
Did you do anything with the platforms to weather resist them?
gam cad (author)  HandyMan19591 year ago
A layer of primer and paint as well as some Rust-Oleum never-wet. Then they are wrapped in outdoor carpet.
kaelby1 year 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 kaelby1 year ago
Ok, turns out pvc piping and the fittings are much harder to come by and more expensive in the uk :( will keep looking
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.
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?
That would work. It's a little larger diameter than specified, but that shouldn't matter.
dropkick1 year 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).
skinnyjake1 year ago
Poor cats
gam cad (author)  skinnyjake1 year 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.
kathkins1 year 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!
api0011 year 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,
~ap
klewis101 year 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)  klewis101 year 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.
kmbrmom1 year 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?
gpay101 year ago
I imagine this would work for pups and small dogs as well. very ingenious !
gam cad (author)  gpay101 year ago
Yep! I have a miniature dachshund that shares it with the cats and he seems to like it.
j0lt1 year 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!
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