Cats love the outdoors, but too often the outdoors isn't safe for cats. An outdoor enclosure allows your cats to visit the outdoors but protects them from its dangers. PVC pipe is easy to work with, handles exposure to the elements well, and is sturdy and inexpensive, all of which make it a great material for constructing your cat enclosure. PVC cat enclosures can be scaled for indoor use, too, in case you need to separate a new cat from the other household cats or restrain a cat with an injury.
Measure the space available for your cat enclosure. Your enclosure can be 60 cm, 1.2 m, 1.8 m or 2.4 m (2, 4, 6 or 8 feet) in each direction, but should be no less than 60 cm (2 feet) and no more than 2.4 m (8 feet) in height, width or depth. If you intend to construct an enclosure larger than 2.4 m (8 feet), select larger PVC pipe or another construction material.
Make a plan for your enclosure. The main external structure will be an open cube with a brace running from edge to edge every 60 cm (2 feet) vertically and horizontally, except within the doorway. The doorway should be a rectangle 60 cm (2 feet) wide running from floor to ceiling. Plan to construct each side panel separately, clamping the panels together at the corners. Add one internal horizontal shelf-support rail running from the front to the back of the cage at a height of 60 cm (2 feet) and at 1.8 m (6 feet), and add one internal horizontal shelf-support rail running from left to right at a height of 1.2 m (4 feet).
Calculate the amount of PVC pipe needed for one door, four wall panels with braces, one ceiling panel with braces, and internal shelf-support rails. Determine the amount of plywood needed for each shelf. Buy PVC pipe, pipe fittings, plywood, metal hardware cloth and other hardware.
Construct each of three solid walls. Frame each wall using 60 cm (2 feet) sections of PVC pipe connected with T-shape connectors. Use T-shape connectors and X-shape connectors as needed. Attach braces every 60 cm (2 feet). Glue corners with PVC pipe adhesive.
Construct the fourth wall to include a hole for the enclosure door. Frame one rectangular door, sized to fit within the door hole, from PVC pipe and four L-shape connectors. Glue the corners with PVC pipe adhesive.
Connect the walls, forming a cube with an open top and bottom. Use kennel clamps to secure the walls to each other. Add brace bars across the top to form the enclosure's ceiling and add internal shelf-support rails.
Cut plywood to create shelves. Prime and paint or seal the wood, then connect each shelf to one side brace and one internal shelf-support rail using U-shape pipe brackets and screws. Cut metal hardware cloth to fit each open area of each wall and ceiling, and to fit within the door, and attach it to the frame using plastic ties.
Attach the door to one side of the door frame using kennel clamps. Ensure that the door can swing freely within the frame. Secure the other side of the door using hooks and eyebolts or kennel latches.
Add a plywood base, if desired. You may opt to set the cage directly on the floor inside or ground outside, or set the case on a plywood platform base. Attach caster wheels to a plywood platform base to easily roll the enclosure.
Do not glue any fittings other than corner pieces until you have tested your design. You can opt to leave all vertical connections unglued so that you can break down your cage if you need to move or store it.
Things you need
- 2.5 cm (1 inch) PVC pipe
- PVC pipe adhesive
- PVC pipe cutter
- 60 cm (24 inch) wide plastic hardware cloth
- Kennel clamps
- U-shape pipe brackets
- Plastic ties
- 1 or 2 hooks and eyes, or kennel latches
- 4 caster wheels (optional)