Most pet owners know the danger cats face if they go outside. From dogs and coyotes to cars and poison, there are a world of threats once felines are outside the confines of their homes. Most pet owners also know that felines yearn to feel the sun on their faces, grass under their paws and the thrill of pouncing on a jumping grasshopper.
Finding a safe way for your cat to enjoy the great outdoors is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your pet.
If you don't have a large garden (or any garden) to give your cat an outdoor enclosure, something as simple as a window box might be just the answer. This type of enclosure also works for apartment-dwellers. Something as simple as a window box on the outside of the house can give your cat a place to smell fresh air, watch birds and snooze in the sun.
The box can consists of a simple wooden structure built with 2x4s to the width of your window and covered in poultry wiring. The back of the box, which will be against the house to keep the cat from escaping, will not be covered in wiring but will remain open. This will give the cat access to her perch and you access to the box for cleaning and maintenance.
You can support the box with a wooden beam going to the ground beneath it.
Secure the box against the house using L brackets.
Install a pet door in the window to give your cat access.
A simple way to provide your cat with a larger outdoor enclosure is to build an outdoor box, similar to the window box. For a 3 m x 3m (10 feet x 10 feet) enclosure, use 5 x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) boards to create the boxlike structure and cover it in poultry wiring with the exception of the back of the box which will be attached to the house. With a cat enclosure, you must also cover the top of the enclosure with poultry wiring to prevent escape.
When building the box, you'll want to install a simple doorway in the front so that you have access to the kennel for cleaning, maintenance or just spending time with your pet.
Attach the box to the house with L-brackets, choosing an area with an open window for access.
Give the cat access to her play area by installing a pet door in the window.
Adding limbs and shelves gives her places to climb. Beds and baskets can give her safe places to sleep.
Screened porch or deck
Enclosing a deck or porch with cat-safe screening or chicken wire also provides a safe place for your cat to enjoy the outdoors. If you'd prefer to not have wiring on your porch, you can use lattice. Some cat guardians have built additional areas onto their house using the concept of a screened-in porch. They create open-air wired, latticed or screened enclosures for their feline friends by constructing an entire outdoor playroom.
If you have a privacy fence, running wiring around the top of fence can keep the cat from escaping over its top. The design is similar to what you'd see in the big cat enclosures at a zoo. You can use brackets to create a structure out from the top of the fence to which you can attach the wiring. You'll need a couple feet of wiring that redirects the cat back into her garden if she climbs the fence. Chicken wiring also works well for this purpose.