We’ve finally completed our DIY outdoor cat enclosure – or cat patio – or catio for short!… This followed many long nights of research, walking our cats around on cat leads and LOTS of meowing at the patio doors to go outside and a bit of elbow grease…
For Lyla and Boop, this is a way of getting sunshine and fresh air but at no risk from busy roads, noisy neighbourhood foxes, eating things they shouldn’t or getting stuck in trees (I’m looking at you, Lyla!). The pros and cons are endless but we’re happy with the compromise we’ve made for them both – and they seem happy too.
We have a small garden (7m x 5m) which we’ve recently had patioed (goodbye lawnmowers) with standard 6 feet fences and a car port bordering our property. After painting the fences and assembling and painting the shed – we were ready to go! First of all I fixed some bamboo screening against the car port fence for privacy and also to stop them escaping that way.
Then we set about installing the cat enclosure drainpipe ‘system’. I’ll be honest. We weren’t 100% sure if it would work… but we really wanted to give this a go rather than just using brackets and metres of overhanging wire mesh – which we were worried would look a little bit prisony.
Here are the materials we used (incase you were interested!)
- Electric screwdriver – make sure to drill into the horizontal fence post
- Screws – choose the right length so that they don’t go through to your neighbours’ side if you have a shared fence!
- Saw to cut drainpipes to size
- Staple Gun
- Steel Threaded Rods – small enough to go through the bracket holes – these don’t go all the way through the drainpipe
- Drainpipes – we chose brown ones in the hope they’d blend with the paint!
- Brackets – already twisted so you just need to bend them to your desired angle. Once they’re screwed to the fence you can still bend them slightly to the right position.
- Hex Nuts – placed on either side to keep the rod firmly in place
- Wire Mesh – we opted for the PVC coated mesh to last longer and to reinforce weak spots on the perimeter using the staple gun
The basic idea is that the drainpipes rest on steel rods so that if the cats try to jump up, they’ll spin. I wish I’d recorded Lyla and Boop’s attempts to escape but after those first few occasions, they haven’t even tried again! We haven’t had any problems with other cats either as they seem a bit put off having to jump over the piping.
We opted to go with double rollers as the twisted strap has more than enough space to hang both. It means the lower one can be pushed closer to the fence so the cats can’t get under the first drainpipe, or over the second drainpipe. This is a trial and error thing and very much depends on how much of a houdini your cat would be!
We’ve had to put all of our garden furniture in the middle of the garden as otherwise they could use them as platforms to leap over the fence. And I’ve put a few plants around the corners to lure them away from weak spots! In time I’ll make them some outdoor cat toys but for now, this is where Boop likes to spend his time…
And because I’m a softy, I bought a little cat maisonette for our Lyla so she can even sit outside in the rain.
Let me know what you think and if you have any questions, ask!
(The Cat Whiskerer)