Outdoor Cat Enclosures – Getting Cats Outdoors Safely

Watching my cats stare out the window inspired me to write an article about how to get your cat outdoors safely using an outdoor cat enclosure. Let’s face it, cats love to be outdoors but there are so many dangers out there for them. In the city, traffic is a major issue and in rural areas there are many predators looking for a meal. There are also some benefits of cats going outdoors, so which is more important?

cat looking out window at squirrel with text overlay: Outdoor cat enclosures Getting cats outdoors safely

Outdoor Dangers*

  • Cars
  • Dogs and other predators
  • Poisonslooking out window
  • Inter-cat aggression
  • Communicable diseases
  • Theft
  • Inter-neighbor disputes
  • Wildlife predation
  • Skin cancer (especially in white cats)
  • UV light-related corneal lesions
  • Parasitism

Outdoor Benefits*

  • A lower risk of obesity and its related diseases (arthritis, diabetes, heart disease…)
  • A greater opportunity to exhibit natural behaviors and the myriad psycho-social benefits that confers
  • Fewer inappropriate elimination issues
  • Less inter-cat aggression among household members
  • Less litterbox cleaning (if any)

Outdoor Cat Enclosures

In my opinion, and I’m not alone on this, the dangers far outweigh the benefits, so outdoor cat enclosures seem to me to be the perfect compromise. Being an advocate of “indoor only” cats, I embarked on some research for enclosures for cats. There are some “prefab” enclosures that are great for small spaces, but I was amazed at the variety, creativity and beauty of some of the enclosures custom built by or for cat owners. They range from very simple spaces for cats only, to beautiful, functional spaces shared by humans.

outdoor cat enclosure

Outdoor cat enclosure

They are limited only by your imagination and the space you are willing to allocate to them.


Tunnels, on the ground or in the air, can be used to join multiple areas.

outdoor-cat-enclosure tunnel

There is cat fencing that you can use to enclose an area or an entire yard.

outdoor cat fencing

If you have an outdoor cat enclosure, please share it with us in the comments. If you are thinking of building an enclosure, click here for lots of samples and inspiration.

I live in a condominium where there are lots of rules so, as much as I’d like to enclose my patio, it is not an option. I will be looking into some of the prefab enclosures, so stay tuned to see what I do with that.

* From PedMD

Some updated, newly added links:
The Animal Rescue Site Ultimate Catio How-to Guide
Catio Showcase
Dream Catio from Catster

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cat sunning chair on screened porch with text overlay: Outdoor cat enclosures Getting cats outdoors safely


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  1. I’ve seen some really cool outdoor enclosures. I wish I lived somewhere that this would work.

  2. Have a Siamese cat that is declawed but insists on sneaking outside when door is open.. Need to keep her safe from other mean animals.. Want to build a cat sanctuaury for them

  3. Pingback: If My Cats Had a Bucket List - Savvy Pet Care

  4. When I move I’m hoping to be able to have a catio. I would love for my girls to enjoy the sunshine outside safely.

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