Blissing out outdoors with indoor cats: cat enclosure reviews (part 2)

Phil kicks back on our cat deck

Part 2 of 2. See Part 1 here.

In Part 1, I shared the joys of our own “cat deck” experience and a checklist of considerations for choosing the right enclosure for your situation.

There are so many great options we don’t hear about very often. Here are the ones I’ll walk you through below:

  • Cat mini-enclosure (portable)
  • Window box hangout (DIY kit)
  • Enclosure attachment to existing fence or railing (what we use)
  • Stand alone cat fence
  • Large 360 degree enclosure off window or door
  • Cat fence in front of existing fence

$ – $$ Cat mini-enclosure (portable “jungle gym”)

We had a KittyWalk like this- but shorter length.

We originally used use a portable KittyWalk, backing it up to a cat door once in a while. Amazingly, our cats went nuts for this small, simple enclosure!

We were delighted at how pleased they were just to spend some time in the fresh air, doze on the hammocks, watch butterflies, track Mr. Squirrel, or catch the sound of a blue jay lighting down in the garden.

They rarely wanted to come in – we had to use bribes to get them back in the house.

There are smaller KittyWalks too. You may be surprised, as we were, how much our cats enjoyed being outside even though it was in such a small space.

The portable enclosures are ideal to use with a cat door because carrying your cat to and from the enclosure may introduce too much stress and risk in some cases.

$-$$ Window hangout (DIY kit)

Credit: CatTerrace.com

No yard or balcony?

My friend Sharon has a custom window-box balcony enclosure for her cat. Her cat loves the experience so much she’ll go out there year round – even in snowy winter.

I found affordable “cat open-air window box” kits with some nice photos at CatTerrace.com.

The kit includes window access parts, video, and instructions for only $30! Additional parts you’ll need to get at a hardware store will total $75-$125.

$$ Enclosure attachment to existing fence or railing (what we use)

Credit: Purrfect Fence

When I was researching this for our home, these were my top three choices:

  • Purrfect Fence. This company has the most high-end designs – they are the Apple computer of cat fences. Impressive.
  • Affordable Cat Fence: Great affordable attachment for existing fences. Very nice, helpful family-owned company.
  • Cat Fence-in system:  This is the one we used. It seems equal to Affordable Cat Fence, but a tiny bit more expensive. The only reason we I chose it over Affordable Cat Fence was that they had clear, visual online instructions that put my mind at ease. Other than that, it was just a coin toss between them.
In this video of our deck I share a tip our handy builder came up with for the gate situation.

$$$ Stand alone cat fence

I believe putting up a well-designed standalone cat fence is even easier than attaching an enclosure to existing fence.  See what I mean in this video from Purrfect Fence.

 

Cat Fence-in also provides nice standalone cat fence options!

$$$ Large 360 degree enclosure off window or door

If you want the top enclosed, Habitat Haven has some amazing options you can install off of a window. They can also be installed off of a door.

Credit: HabitatHaven.com

 

I am impressed with this Canadian company, HabitatHaven.com, and the quality they offer. They will create something custom for you if you like.

$$$ Cat fence in front of existing fence

Credit: Purrfect Fence

If your existing fence has a lot of holes or if attaching an enclosure is too tricky for some reason, you could just set up one of the full stand-alone cat fences against your existing one, like the photo here shows.

You can use either Purrfect Fence or Cat Fence-in to do this.

Your experience and questions

Questions? I’ll answer in the comments below.

Answers? If you have created a cat enclosure system, I would love to hear about your experience.

 

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6 Responses to Blissing out outdoors with indoor cats: cat enclosure reviews (part 2)

  1. Kater October 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    searching cat enclosures on http://www.youtube.com and http://www.instructables.com is a great resource, too.

  2. Julie June 16, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Liz, thanks so much for sharing this idea – we love it! We found some less expensive fencing through invisible-deer-fence.com. You can purchase a roll of the standard polypropylene deer fence for about $100. My husband found some metal poles at Home Depot and used a pipe bender to bend the top. It cost us about $200, vs. $900 for the official kit. We also found a clear cat door from fancypaws.com to install in the storm door so they can go in and out (we replaced the bottom panel of the door with Lexan). Kasper seems to know what’s up – he’s been watching and waiting patiently for Mark to finish so he can go outside. We’re very excited our three cats will soon be able to get fresh air and sunshine.

    • Liz-cat June 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

      Julie, I just love this! Was there a gate you had to build around? That can be tricky.

  3. Jackie June 8, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Hi Liz,

    Great article! Do you have any suggestions for apartment dwellers like myself who have no balconies? Any type of window enclosure you would recommend?

    • Liz-cat June 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

      Thanks Jackie! About cat enclosures for apartment dwellers without balconies…I admit that’s tough one because you would need permission from the landlord to install something. You might convince them it’s a value-add, or to let you install and then remove when you leave, but these things are going to cost money. The only option I know of for this situation is the Cat Terrace, mentioned above: .

      I know how you feel – I was in many apartment situations with cats.

    • Liz-cat June 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

      Jackie, I forgot to mention – there’s always the enclosure-free option of training your kitty to walk outside with a “kitty holster” jacket leash instead, which will cost you almost nothing but a whole lotta patience: http://www.kittyholster.com/ That’s the one Jackson Galaxy recommends.

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