Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Cat Enclosures

If you have a feline companion, you know that, although they're domesticated, there are some cat instincts that humans can never tame.

To help your cat live its most enjoyable and healthy life, provide it with an outdoor enclosed space where it can safely relax, play, and absorb sensory details. A huge variety of outdoor cat enclosures are listed at

Benefits of an Outdoor Enclosed Space

The hard reality is that many cats who are allowed to roam outside don't live as long as indoor pets. There are risks involved in letting your pet roam free.

Other predatory animals like foxes, coyotes, and even predatory birds might attack your pet. Interactions with feral cats can lead to the transmission of diseases. Not only is this unhealthy for your pet, but many of these diseases can pass onto humans, endangering your family. It can also threaten your financial stability with expensive vet bills.

Cats also pose a threat to many smaller creatures like squirrels, birds, bunnies, and chipmunks, so by providing an enclosed space, you're also helping preserve the diversity of wildlife in your area.

Believe it or not, not all of your neighbors love your cat. Pets can trespass on or destroy others' property causing neighborhood conflict. An outdoor cat enclosure will let your cat enjoy the rugged outdoors while also providing a boundary of respect for your neighbors.

An cat enclosure provides a well-ventilated space for an extra litter box. Having an indoor cat also means combating the odor-producing waste in the litter box. With an outdoor area, your cat can have access to another space in your home, and you have one less litter box to contend with.

Large Outdoor Cat Enclosure with Door
Large Outdoor Cat Enclosure with Door

Who Should Get an Outdoor Cat Enclosure?

If you've noticed that your cat spends a lot of time on your windowsill, staring longingly at the birds outside, you may want to consider providing outdoor space for your cat to enjoy.

Perhaps you've noticed your feline companion exhibits destructive behavior, ripping at your curtains or knocking knick-knacks off your shelves. This may indicate that your cat needs exercise to burn off some energy and stimulation to engage their instincts.

If you decide that you'd like a cat enclosure, invest in dependable flea and tick medication. The enclosure may prevent other predators from getting at your cat, and it may prevent your cat from attacking smaller creatures, but bugs can still get on your cat from inside the enclosure.

What are the Different Types of Enclosures?

There are few unique enclosures, each suited to your cat, lifestyle, and budget.

Window box enclosures are very popular because they make it easy for the cat to get in and out. Set up next to a window that opens, and your cat can choose whether it wants to be in or out at any given time.

Portable cat enclosures may resemble tents or playpens, and let you move the enclosure to wherever you'd like it. The benefits of this type of enclosure are that it's easy to clean, easy to set up, and easy to move so they are suitable for taking on family vacations, camping trips, and picnics.

Foldable Outdoor Cat Enclosure in Blue
Foldable Outdoor Cat Enclosure in Blue

Stand-alone enclosures are usually made of more sturdy material, like wood or metal, and high-grade wire mesh. These enclosures are generally not portable, but they typically provide a lot of space for your cat to explore.

Cat enclosures may also have tiers at different heights so your cats can hone their instincts to jump and climb. Some are constructed with both an indoor and an outdoor area, so your pet can choose whether it wants to be in or out of the elements.

High Outdoor Cat Enclosure in Green
High Outdoor Cat Enclosure in Green

Other Features to Consider

The main aspects you should consider when choosing the style of cat enclosure that would suit your feline best include size, safety, accessibility, portability, and durability.

  • Size - This mainly depends on your living situation and how many cats you have. If you have more than one cat companion, you should opt for a bigger enclosure to give them all space to enjoy. Experts recommend that each cat have at least 2 sq. ft. of floor space.

    If you plan on also putting some other items into the enclosure, like a litter box, water bowl, or toys, make sure there's ample room for all of the additions. Finally, measure your outdoor space's dimensions before purchasing an enclosure to ensure that it fits safely.

Large Outdoor Cat Enclosure Cage in Grey
Large Outdoor Cat Enclosure Cage in Grey
  • Safety - You want your outdoor cat enclosure to contain your cat to guard them against harm and illness, but if your enclosure doesn't have the proper fasteners or is made from low-quality materials, your cat could escape.

    Check the hasps or fasteners of the enclosure carefully and make sure that the walls are either solid or made from durable PVC or wire mesh.

  • Accessibility - To ensure that your pet doesn't escape while taking them in and out of the enclosure, consider how accessible this new area will be. If your pet doesn't come to you when you call them, you will have to get your cat quickly and efficiently. If you can't fit into the enclosure to get your cat, you may be able to remove them from the enclosure safely.

    Some models come with attachments to connect the enclosure to a cat flap or window. This allows your pet to come and go as they please.

    You know your cat best, so consider their personality when assessing different enclosures. Do you think your pet would enjoy multiple heights, each with a sitting area? Is your cat more active, and so would enjoy the challenge of tunnels?
Outdoor Cat Enclosure Long Tube
Outdoor Cat Enclosure Long Tube
  • Portability - You need to consider whether you will be moving your enclosure once you set it up.

    Some choices, like those of metal or wood enclosures, generally aren't moved once constructed. Others are designed specifically so you can take your cat to new places, like camping.

  • Durability - Always keep in mind that the pet who will be spending the most time in this enclosure comes with a sharp set of claws and teeth. Ensure the enclosure you choose will stand up to the designs of a determined pet with very sharp claws.

The Last Word

If you're looking to provide your feline companion with extra stimulation and exercise in an enclosed cat area, consider a few key aspects. Your choice should reflect your living space, your cat's preferences, and your budget. Additionally, you need to consider the permanence of the structure, accessibility, safety, and durability.

If you have a pet that is always staring out the window or that often makes a break for an open door, you may want to provide an enclosed area that will keep your cat healthy, happy and protected.

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