Instructables
Picture of Catproof Your Yard
I wanted to be able to let my cats out into our fenced back yard without worrying about them jumping over the fence or other cats getting in. My wife saw a system for sale on the Internet but I made my own for 1/4 of the price. Here's how I did it.
 
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Step 1: The Theory Behind the Fence

Picture of The Theory Behind the Fence
In theory, cats will not climb a reverse overhang or jump out and over something when they can see straight down. I found the first part to be true so far, but my neighbor's cat definitely disproved the second part. The unwanted visitor managed to get in my yard, but he could not get out until I let him out and has not been back since.

By attaching plastic mesh garden fencing to my wooden fence, I have been able to keep my cats in and the neighbor cats out (for the most part).

Step 2: Supplies Needed

Picture of Supplies Needed
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Green Zip Ties (Fred Meyer) 4 for every garden post.
4' Vinyl coated garden posts (Lowes) Count the number of 4x4 posts that are holding up your fence and buy that many.
40" Green garden fencing (Lowes) This comes in 25' rolls, buy the same length as the fence you are going to attach it to.
2' of 2x4 boards (scrap boards will do)
1' of 2x2 board (also scrap)
1/2" Plastic leg tips (Home Depot) One for every garden post.
Level
Hacksaw or Saber Saw With Metal Cutting Blade
1/2" Electric Drill
1/2" Drill bit
Electric or Manual Staple Gun with 1/2" or 9/16" staples
Tape Measure
Chalk Line

Optional
Drill press
Chop saw or Radial Arm Saw

Zeekthehammer2 months ago

thats a great idea if you want to let your indoor "in heat" cats out side for a wander but don't want them knocked up. If anyone is wanting to keep cats out of their flower beds you only need to place water bottles and chilli peppers in and around the perimeter as they do not like the water bottles for some reason as well as when they lick their paws the chilli peppers piss them off too so they won't return. I learned the trick from my Thai Grandmother Pon.

Ryanbighead5 years ago
Whats the reason for not wanting the cats out of the yard?
Jabberwocky246 (author)  Ryanbighead5 years ago
1. Life expectancy for cats that are allowed to roam free is about 1/2 that of indoor cats. 2. Cars vs cats. Cars win. 3. One of my cats already has feline HIV from an escape a few years ago and I don't want to pay to treat any more diseases.

A few more reasons to add: (4) Cats hunt, which can lead to them getting intestinal parasites. Also in many areas, outdoor cats hunting the indigenous fauna is a serious problem for the local ecosystem (for example, New Zealand).

milesnorth made it!3 months ago

My son and I followed your instruct-able (sort of :-) It was a great starting point anyway. We live in Chugiak, Alaska and our cats would be bird food if left to roam outside. (Had a beautiful bald eagle 15 feet up a tree outside our door this winter). Our pics are not great, but thanks for the ideas. Our cats are pretty impressed :-)

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milesnorth5 months ago

Very nice informtion. THANKS. Been trying to pull together ideas for doing just this. This was just the ticket! Very cool.

runey711 year ago
I did this to try and keep my cats from escaping the back yard. I made my own brackets rather than buy them pre-made. For close to 2 years they never escaped. Then my youngest one started getting out. Took forever but thanks to a motion sensor webcam I set I finally found out how she was escaping. Turns out cats will indeed climb a reverse overhang. I had my brackets at a 45 degree angle. When I looked at the, ridiculously priced, commercial brackets I realised they were at a much sharper angle. Meaning the cat would be almost upside down when trying to climb over. So when making your own brackets make sure you have them at the correct angle and you should have some nice and secure cats.
caarntedd3 years ago
I thought this was going to show how to keep cats out of my yard.
dude just do it on the other side? it might not have to be that big... if you already have a fence that is
Ha Ha! I was joking. I hate cats.
yeah, you're totally set: just put it up on the outside and use electric wire!
Jabberwocky246 (author)  caarntedd3 years ago
As noted, I did have one cat that was brave enough to jump over the fencing to get into the yard. However, once inside he could not get back out until my wife let him out. He was so freaked out he never came back.
Rbecca4 years ago
I am currently working on an outdoor cat fence, too, but rather than buying and cutting garden stakes, I am using flagpole brackets (the small ones used for classroom flags). I installed a bracket on each fence post, inserted a 1/2" X 36" wooden dowel into the bracket, and attached lightweight garden netting along the top side of the dowels. I stapled the garden netting to the fence at intervals. The brackets provide a uniform angle and it looks good. You can place them near the top of a five foot fence and no one runs into them. Here is the website where I found this method. There are also instructions for chain link fencing.
http://www.feralcat.com/fence.html
What a cool thing for our cats!
Rbecca,
I have done something similar to what you have done, except I have a problem with trees inside my yard and close to the fence (3 of them).

I have a U-shaped area and on the left & right sides, first I have to staple some mesh to the fence on the bottom (only because the fence has spaces in between that the cats can easily get through. Then near the top of the fence (5') I have screwed in 5 flagpole holders at intervals. After putting the flagpoles in the holders, I then staple gun more mesh at an angle all the way across and it works. The cats seem to look at it as a ceiling even though they can scale part of the lower mesh.

But I have run across problems with trees along the back fence. I do have some "tree-guards" on the big trees, but my cat can still scale the back fence and somehow get through a gap that may be created in the mesh I put there as a ceiling. Once he gets through he is able to walk across the mesh along the back fence.

This has been an problem on & off since for 6 months there is enough stuff there to prevent him from leaving the yard; then after a time, he may discover a small gap in the mesh that enables him to get through the mesh to the top (like now).

The only way I can see how he is escaping is to stake him out, but he is getting smart about when, where and how I'm watching him and won't do it unless he's sure I'm away from a window. Suddenly he's gone. And he can't come back the way he left because when he wants in, he's at the frbnt of the house waiting for me at the front door to let him in,

I've usually been able to find where the problem is, but I don't see anything yet. He's driing me nutz!
Jabberwocky246 (author)  Rbecca4 years ago
Rbecca, that's a great alternative that I hadn't thought of. I put my cat guard low enough so that it would not be seen from outside of the yard due to my homeowner nazis (I get nastygrams for leaving my garbage can where it is visible from the street). But there is certainly no reason it can't be higher if you don't mind the appearance.
Thanks for the idea.
Thanks! I live in an older neighborhood that seems pretty mellow - lucky.
We just finished the cat fence and released the critters to check it out. Our most adventurous cat - Nemo, started climbing the fence post, stopped - looked up, and jumped back down. I considered that our first success. We will continue to monitor the cats for weak points, but if I was a cat I'd just give up and enjoy being outside.
steve5552 years ago
I am concerned about raccoons coming over the fence and I sure would not want to find a yard full of raccoons and opossums in my back yard in the morning unable to get out. Plus other cats stuck in there. I fear I would start a zoo. But I am in bad need of cat proofing my back yard has I have two cats that were strays and now live with me and I need to keep them contained if possible.

Has anyone heard of raccoons coming over the fence?
pessoa5 years ago
How can this be adapted for a chain link fence?
if yo have awelder you can weld metal posts an hang the mesh off that
Yes this can be adapted for chain link fence. Drill holes in fence posts at angle in one side insert rods attach mesh. When I was in the Air Force we used this same idea for securing areas. 1' sections of fence pipe were hose clamped to link fence between posts and had vibration sensors attached, anyone trying to climb fence was detected and then dispatched to varing degrees.
abadfart4 years ago
very nice i have the same problem  
Cool!!! I love this idea.
NachoMahma5 years ago
. Fantastic iBle. I have a dog that jumps my four foot chain link fence and it should be fairly easy to adapt this to my fence. Thanks!!
Pleaseeeee post your instructions for the gate area! That is where my cats are getting out and back in again. My privacy fence is 6 ft. and some in my family are 6'4. Ducking their heads under the netting is not an option. Thank you for the good ideas about the fence.
awoodcarver6 years ago
Very Good Idea !! what about falling leaves and other junk falling into it ?Can a cats leg fit in the fencing and end up hurt ? If so maybe smaller aviary wire...My wife feeds all the cats around here and I would like to let my old grandma cat out back but hard to do when the food is attracting other cats
Jabberwocky246 (author)  awoodcarver6 years ago
Hi, Unfortunately, you are exactly right about leaves and twigs. The lot behind my house has very large oak trees that do tend to collect in the cat/leaf catcher. There is no danger of cats getting their legs caught in the fencing if they are already in the yard, as they won't climb the reverse overhang. There is a slight possibility of cats getting caught coming into the yard from outside, but there is enough give in the fence that cats do not like walking on it (funny animals, they like firm surfaces). As I mentioned, it's not fool-proof at keeping outside cats from coming in, but once they get in and realize they can't get out, they won't come back! Thank you very much for your comments, all are appreciated.
bumpus6 years ago
ingenious!! now where can i get razor-wire and barbed wire... (i do not condone cruelty to animals)
Scott_Tx6 years ago
I don't see a catapult anywheres? (get it??!!)
keng6 years ago
"Happy Cats!" don't you mean "lol catz"?
When I saw this I was thinking high voltage =)
but its a very neat Idea +1
That also works! Great instructable!