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DIY Outdoor Cat Enclosure Ideas

  • 6 min read

Many cats long to explore the outside world, and going outdoors is a great way to provide your cat with positive stimulation. If your kitty doesn’t mind it, it would be a great activity to take them on a walk with a leash, but, of course, most cats prefer to roam free. Unfortunately, roaming free opens the door to many outside dangers that can pose a threat to your cat, which is why many cat owners look into outdoor enclosure ideas.

If you are worried that your cat will be harmed by other animals or run away when left to their own devices outside, there are solutions that allow them to get the outdoor time they want without turning your hair gray. A well-built cat enclosure can make this happen and bring you the peace of mind you are seeking. Check out the steps below to give you some ideas for making your next outdoor cat enclosure fun and interesting for your cat!

1. Build a Catio

If you want your cat to have the lay of the land and fresh air, an outdoor catio is a fantastic option. When it comes to outdoor cat pen ideas, the options for DIY are endless! So what exactly is a catio? A catio is a cat-safe outdoor enclosure with a roof and different levels to explore. One can also define a catio as a patio for a cat (cat patio)! 

Making a catio yourself is easier than you might expect, especially if you consider yourself to be handy. You can source building materials at a hardware store and construct your very own custom catio anywhere you’d like! This option is a popular one, but keep in mind that materials can be expensive and it might take quite some time to build a DIY catio from scratch.

It’s typically much easier and generally more cost-effective to buy a prefabricated catio kit, like those from Habitat Haven—this saves you the hassle of researching and sourcing durable components as well as measuring and cutting material needed. Every prefabricated catio kit from Habitat Haven will include the exact amount of material needed, assembly instructions, and installation tools, including mounting hardware, specialty pliers, and 3-prong clips.

Window Box Catio

There is a variety of catio types and styles available, with one of the most popular outdoor cat enclosure ideas being a window catio. This is a fantastic option for a small space. When you order a window catio kit from Habitat Haven, your catio pieces will arrive already cut to the length and height you specify during checkout for the best fit around your specific window.

Window catios come partially assembled, and it’s highly recommended that you have at least one extra set of hands to help during installation. The window box catio must first be assembled using the provided pliers and clips to secure the catio walls together and create the window box. Then, it must be held up in place over your window so that it can be secured to the wall around the window – this is where that extra set of hands is particularly helpful!

Once the window box catio is in place and secured, you can add accessories such as cedar flooring, shelving, and canvas awnings or hammocks.

Freestanding Catio

If you want your cat to have more room to roam or need more outdoor cat enclosure ideas, consider incorporating a larger, freestanding catio instead of a window box cat enclosure. Take measurements of the available space so you can specify the dimensions of your custom catio during the ordering process. 

If possible, it’s a good idea to make your outdoor cat pen larger than you may think necessary. By the time you add accessories and shelves, the space looks full.

Constructing a freestanding catio is similar to building a window catio—the parts are just larger. First, you will still want at least one other person there to help. Second, you’ll use the 3-prong clips and pliers to connect the wire panels to make the mesh enclosure. Step-by-step instructions are included to help you get through the installation. 

You can put a freestanding catio on nearly any surface. This type of outdoor cat enclosure can sit on a deck, patio, or even on your lawn. Your cat will love spending time outdoors in a freestanding outdoor cat enclosure!

Shop Catio Enclosures

1. Construct Cat Tunnels

Tunnels are another idea for outdoor cat enclosures that create an interactive and adventurous outdoor experience for your cat.

When it comes to outdoor cat pen ideas, you may be surprised by how versatile cat tunnels are. You can go for straight tunnels across your yard or ones that turn or zig-zag around your landscaping. You’ll have fun coming up with a design!

It’s easy to add a tunnel to one of Habitat Haven’s catios. Just like the enclosures, the tunnels are made of the same sturdy galvanized steel wire that is powder-coated black for added longevity. Each tunnel comes with a cedar floor. You simply cut a hole in the existing enclosure at the connection point and follow the step-by-step instructions that come with the tunnel to attach it.

Make sure to plan and measure for your tunnel before ordering the pieces. Cat tunnels arrive fully assembled with the access points you choose; you just have to make sure to select the right size. If you aren’t sure how long of a tunnel to order for your space, chat with our planning experts. We’re happy to draw up plans and help you decide.

See All Cat Tunnels Cat sitting at a window ledge and looking outside

2. Incorporate Cat Bridges

Another option if you are looking for outdoor cat enclosure ideas is to incorporate cat bridges into your setup. Bridges allow your cat to get up higher and keep an eye out from above. You can also use bridges over areas where you may need some extra overhead room to walk under.

The setup is up to you, but many people like to incorporate cat bridges above doorways and pathways. Cat bridges are available in many lengths and with different access points.

While cat bridges may seem advanced when it comes to outdoor cat pen ideas, they are as easy to install as tunnels. Habitat Haven cat bridges come with two access points, cedar floors, and stairs on either end. You choose the length of the bridge, and it will arrive partially assembled.

You and another person will attach the cat bridge to other components of your system using 3-prong clips and pliers.

Add a Catio Bridge

3. Add Towers and Stairs

If your cat loves to perch and jump, towers and stairs will be a fantastic addition to any DIY cat enclosure. These elements are practical, too. When creating a DIY cat enclosure, towers and stairs make it easier for you to connect one element to another (especially when elevation or height changes are necessary).

There are many sizes and formats available for both towers and stairs, which makes it easier to find the best option for your setup. Adding stairs is especially important if your cat needs to move to different points in the enclosure setup that are of different heights. Don’t have quite enough room for stairs, or need to gain A LOT of extra height quickly? Adding a tower can provide a significant height change in a small amount of space.

Stairs come fully assembled; you just have to attach them to the other parts of your enclosure – same as a tunnel! Adding towers to your setup is also quite easy. Towers are three-sided and have a 6-inch lip that allows you to attach them to a wall or building. You’ll use mounting hardware to secure the tower in place on the wall, then pliers and 3-prong clips allow you to attach the tower to other components of your catio, such as tunnels or bridges.

Browse Towers and Stairs

If your cat is aching to explore the outdoors, these DIY outdoor cat enclosure ideas will help you get started on an outdoor space they will love. If you’re not sure where to start or have some questions about creating your own setup, give us a call. The experts at Habitat Haven are ready to make your cat’s dreams a reality.