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.) 8 - 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

Step 2: Make the Frame

Start off the build by creating the shell of the enclosure to get all the sides the correct length.
When cutting PVC you want to endeavor to get a straight cut, if you might not be to confident have plenty of sandpaper.
A note for when you are measuring, fittings add length to the pipe. To get the correct length on the pipe you have to measure to center. 
Which means you have to put the fitting on and measure your cut to the center of the fitting (most come with helpful notches).
However I knew that the 1/2'' fittings added 1/4'' per pipe so I measure accordingly (i.e. for the seven foot segments there are two fittings on either side, 3-way, so I cut them a 1/2'' short (1/4  + 1/4).

If you want to follow my plan this is what to cut.

1.) 4 X 6' 11.5'' 
2.) 4 X 2' 11.5''
3.) 4 X 5' 11.5''

Step 3: Support and Platforms

Next take it all apart and start cutting down the frame so the supports for the platforms can be inserted.
I apologize for the lack of pictures here, it started raining and lost focus.

So first you have to take the frame apart of course, the idea for this step is to take your long frame pieces and essentially cut space out for the fittings. My plan called for the length of the pin to be split up into fourths. To do that, take the measuring tape and mark off each 1 3/4' however I did it with fittings on the side (measuring from the center) to ensure the cuts wouldn't be off by a 1/4'' each time. With these marks in place, mark a line a 1/4'' left and right of each segment to allow the T fittings to not add length to the enclosure. once cutting the first pipe down you can use a piece as a template and just cut to match instead of measuring and marking three more times.

After the cutting this is what you should have:

16 X 20.5 inches

Step 4: Support and Platforms 2

After putting together the frame again (add T's to the smaller segments to get four 7' pieces) hopefully you can see where six more 5' ( 4' 11.5'') poles can fit in, they will be used now to hold some cross bars for the platforms. It is a similar process as the 7' pieces. Take them out, cut out a space for the T fitting and put it back in.

My plan called for three platforms spliting the distance from the ground, 0', and the highest the cats would want to be (away from the ceiling) 4'. With some wonderful math we get a platform every 4/3'. The platform is supported by 4 of the 5' poles which I will call legs. 

sooooo since each leg doesn't need a 3 spots cut out for each platform (they are like stairs) they don't need to be cut into equal portions like was done along the length.

Here is the cuts leg by leg:
1.) The first leg will be left as it is (to be used as a door later)
2.) The second leg will support half the bottom platform, cut a 1 1/3' piece but don't forget the 1/4'' less for the fitting, and then take 1/4'' off the longer (3 2/3') piece.
3.) The third leg uses the same bottom as the second, next take a 1 1/3' piece off the longer scrap (minus 1/2'' for the fitting on bottom AND top) and then take off a 1/4'' for the longer top piece.
4.) The fourth leg is pretty much the second leg but upside down! so just make four of the third leg.
5.) The fifth leg is the second but upside down, I cut this to match the fourth's top column but just making four of the second leg should hypothetically work.

To finish off the cross supports, take out one of the 3' frame pieces and use it to measure off six more of them, cut and put it together by now it should be feeling pretty sturdy but if you want to add in some more support go for it. I even considered using 45 degree fittings to add in some super strong triangles but it wasn't worth the extra cost as compared to just more straight across.

Step 5: Install Platforms and Wrap It in Chicken Wire

My mother went pretty crazy on the platforms for this. She painted them for weatherproofing purposes (the minimum you should do) and then covered them in some outdoor carpet. To make some, just cut out some rectangles from a board of scrap composite we had laying around. Make sure the width is correct to lay on both cross supports, and screw them into the PVC once they were completed (paint and carpet).

For the plastic chicken wire covering, just take the roll of wire on the long side and toss it over the top to the other side, pull it taught and zip tie it all down. The long side will take two goes (and possibly a little 1.5' piece in the middle to close it off), after that all you will have to do are the small sides. On one side cut a flap out (a square without the bottom cut (I only cut one column strip free, it can be seen below)) which you can use to put the cats in, afterwards you can use many things to hold it up, I would recommend bungee ties.

Step 6: Finished!!

Don't forget to cut off the zip tie ends, and then move it to where ever you want it. To hold it down - don't worry the cats shouldn't be able to tip it - there are many ways. I used a flower pot stake and a tent stake to pin it down in four places. 

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    61 Discussions


    2 years ago

    how does the net hold up i was going to use 72 inch by 100 foot 14 gauge 1 inch by 2 inch mesh galvanized welded wire

    because I'm worried that the cat might chew through the plastic netting as she like to chew on fish string i found her chewing on that i took it way from her as thinking that not good for her. im going to make a 12 feet wide x 20 feet front to back with extra panel 3 feet behind the front panel for extra door so that i can go inside and not worried that the cat get out on the street open the first door close it then open the next door if she get out its ok she still in the cat condo. cat condo is what i like to call it and i might add some run in later around the top side panels of the cat condo so she can go up high and look around


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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

    7 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Cats are not wild they are domesticated animals. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is 3-5 years. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 15-20 years. As an icu/ER licensed veterinary technician, I see the horrible condition cats come in when they get hit by cars, or abused, or are so sick too much damage has been done and they can't be saved. It's a cruel world out there. Cats are domesticated and should be kept inside unless under direct supervision.

    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.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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...


    3 years ago

    Can it be attached to the side of a house? We want our kitties to access their enclosure through a window.


    3 years ago

    Hi Looks great, how much does it weigh (to move to cut the lawn)? Do you use tent pegs to secure it to the ground? Thanks very much.

    1 reply
    gam cadkajredo

    Reply 3 years ago

    Tent stakes work great if the hook will get around the diameter of the tubing. Also, I don't try to pick it up on my own since the size makes it a little unwieldy, but it's light enough to easily drag across grass.


    3 years ago

    Ty! I've been wanting to do this for a while!


    3 years ago

    that is so c


    3 years ago

    just a thought, couldn't you use slip sling tee fittings instead of cutting down and inserting "T" fittings to add your supports for the platforms?


    4 years ago

    Thanks very much. Im going to give this a go.

    Fantastic job with this how-to! Simple, straight-forward, humorous, lovely! Thanks!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I built one after reading your instructable, thank you and my cats thank you too.

    After building I found all the fittings that one could use to make this construction more easy and clean. The fittings are called furniture grade PVC fitting which is specifically used for construction projects like this.

    This fitting

    would ave been very useful to strengthen the structure after building it without having to cut the pipes.

    The top penthouse is a challenge for the cats to get to so only the most adventurous one will get there. The first day the cats were a little scared but after a few days now they beg every day to go to the playpen.

    I used the same chicken mesh under the carpet and used outdoor carpet so there will be no moisture trapped underneath to form mold. For the top most deck I cut out a old plastic table that was in the backyard waiting to be recycled. Will be adding some toy challenges for the cats slowly.

    Here is a small list links to get fittings



    4 years ago

    You say you only need 4 3 way fittings but I count 8 is that not right