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10 DIY Cat Run Plans You Can Make Today (with Pictures)

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

cat patio

Every cat owner wants the best for their feline fur babies, and that includes having a safe outdoor cat enclosure for their cats to run around. You can buy kits for this purpose, but did you know you could make them yourself? That’s right! If you’re a DIYer, then you’ve come to the right place.

Every cat deserves to breathe in the fresh air, watch birds go to and fro, observe squirrels run and play, all while being in the safety of an outdoor cat run. In this article, we’ll take a look at some ideas and plans that are easily laid out so you can be on your way to building a cat run for your feline kiddo. Keep in mind that some of these plans are a little more advanced, while others are more simplistic.

Whatever your skill level, we’ll provide the necessary information to help you determine the best route for your specific skill set and needs. From large runs, “catios,” to window enclosures, we’ve rounded out the top 10 plans. Read on to learn more!

Top 10 DIY Cat Run Plans

1. Catio from My Outdoor Plans

Materials 40 pieces of 2 x 2 lumbar (cedar), screws, hinges, latch, hardware cloth, wood glue, and stain/paint
Tools Hammer, tape measure, framing square, level, miter saw, drill machinery, screwdriver, sander, safety gloves, and safety glasses
Difficulty Level Moderate to advanced

This catio from My Outdoor Plans offers a step-by-step guide to building an 8’ x 8’ catio enclosure. The instructions are easy to follow, and the entire enclosure can be built on a weekend, of course, depending on your DIYer skills.

This enclosure can be built as a stand-alone structure, or it can attach to your home if you have a cat door or window that your cat can exit from to go inside the structure. You’ll have peace of mind with this enclosure, as your cat will be totally secured outdoors, so you don’t have to worry.

Please note, however, that you will need plenty of lumber and various-sized screws for the project. We recommend ensuring you have all the necessary materials before beginning, and if you follow the diagrams, it should be relatively easy to build.


2. DIY Cat Enclosure from Tee Diddly Dee

Materials 53, 2 x 3, a roll of chicken wire (tall), a box of 3-inch screws, some 1x 6, hinges, latch, scrap plywood, railroad ties, tree branches, cat door
Tools Chop saw, skill saw, hand drill, staple gun, and compressor for staple gun
Difficulty Level Beginner to moderate

Tee Diddly Dee’s cat enclosure is a fun enclosure that you can make your own (or better said, your cat’s own). You can make this enclosure smaller if you don’t have the space for the specifications above, and because it’s made out of individual panels, it’s easy to move if you decide you want it in a different location.

For the 2 x 3s, cedar or redwood are terrific options for water-resistant cat enclosures and will last many years to come. Pressure-treated wood works well, too, and is more affordable. When it’s finished, this catio will measure 21’ L x 8’ 6” W x 8’ 4’ H.


3. Easy DIY Cat Enclosure by Cuckoo4desgin

Materials Galvanized mesh, galvanized screws, pressure-treated wood, cedar planks, variety of galvanized deck hardware, brackets, nails, wood stain, staples, pet door
Tools Power drill, staple gun, nail compressor, saw, measuring tape
Difficulty Level Moderate

This DIY cat enclosure is a neat idea using wire and planks. You don’t necessarily have to follow these instructions to a tee; you can build it to your own specifications using this general idea, or you can follow the instructions exactly.

As long as you have the tools needed, this enclosure should be pretty easy to do, especially if you’re a DIYer.


4. Cat Window Box from Kori at Home

Materials Roofing felt underlay, roof shingles, 1¼” galvanized roofing nails, wood
Tools Hammer, tape measure, gloves, safety goggles
Difficulty Level Beginner to moderate

This window box from Kori at Home requires fewer materials and tools than the previously mentioned cat enclosures, but the reason is for the simplicity. If you’re looking for a small enclosure for your kitty to access from a window, this could be a good option for the new DIYer.

The shingles add a nice decorative touch that will look great against your home, and it will protect your kitty from any inclement weather. The website shows images and explains how to build this cat window box in great detail.


5. Catio from The Conscious Cat


Materials Wire mesh, cedar planks, roofing material, nails, screws, staples
Tools Circular saw, hammer, tape measure, staple gun, wood stain
Difficulty Level Moderate

The Conscious Cat shows you how to build the 4’ x 8’ Haven from Catio Spaces. We wanted to include this plan because, sometimes, things don’t go according to plan, and The Conscious Cat explains how to overcome any snags you may encounter.

This catio calls for cedar planks, but if you can’t find them, you can use redwood or pressure-treated wood. You may need to recruit help building this catio, but usually, two people can build it easily.


6. Catio from Cat and Caboodle

Materials 6 boxes of wire cube storage, cable ties
Tools Mallet, pliers, wire cutters, gloves
Difficulty Level Beginner

This catio gives you a little more flexibility than the others we’ve mentioned, and this particular one doesn’t require a ton of tools to build.  This is a permanent enclosure; however, if your need to move it for some reason, it dismantles easily.

It’s wind-proof, durable, and light enough for one person to move. It fits on just about any surface, and you can add steps and levels for your cat to lounge on.


7. Catio from Chirpy Cats

Materials Pressure-treated wood, galvanized steel wire (16 gauge), galvanized hex wire netting, brick pavers, or rubber paving stones
Tools Hammer, measuring tape, wire cutters, gloves
Difficulty Level Moderate to advanced

Chirpy Cats offers you more of an idea on how to build the perfect catio for your individual needs, but they all start with the basics. Whether you’re looking to build a catio with a tunnel or a simple run, Chirpy Cats has got you covered. The hardest part here is deciding what type of run you want to build.


8. Catio from This Old House

Materials Cedar lumbar, stainless steel screws, plywood, trim boards, wood glue, roofing material, screens
Tools Ladder, tape measure, pencil, mini paint roller, paintbrush, Miter saw, drill, jigsaw, staple gun, utility knife, tin snips, caulk gun, circular saw, level, clamps, ⅜-inch paddle bit
Difficulty Level Moderate to advanced

If you’re an advanced DIYer, then this window catio will be fun for you to build. This catio looks exceptional for a window catio, and your cat will surely love the freedom to watch the world outside.

There are a ton of tools required for this job, and you may need help with this project. Once it’s complete, you’ll have an attractive addition to your home, and your cat will have a place to call its own. It should take two days to build, and you don’t have to worry about access points because your cat can climb into the run straight from the window.


9. Outdoor Cat Enclosure from Adventurer at Heart

Materials Hardware cloth, 6 cedar fence panels, pine boards of various sizes, plywood sheathing, screws, braces, padlock, swivel safety staple hasp, a roll of outdoor carpet, polycarbonate plastic roof panels, black stain, black spray paint, cat door
Tools Drill, saw, wire cutter, tape measure, staple gun, microfiber cloth (for paint staining)
Difficulty Level Moderate

This outdoor cat enclosure will measure 4’ x 8’ x 6’ upon completion. This enclosure requires quite a bit of material, but in the end, you’ll have an attractive addition to your home that your cat (or cats) will love. Your feline fur baby will have plenty of room to be outside safely, and you can add whatever you like for the inside, such as perches or tree limbs that give your cat kiddos even more of an outdoor adventure feel.


10. My Finished Catio from DIY in PDX

Materials 1” x 1” wire mesh, cedar lumbar (various sizes), 2½” outdoor coated screws, staples, hinges, gate latches, clear corrugated plastic roofing, hardware connectors, door pulls, patio bricks
Tools Hammer, Miter saw, jigsaw, electric drill/screwdriver, measuring tape, wire cutters
Difficulty Level Beginner to Moderate

My Finished Catio gives you an idea from their own inspirations on how to build the perfect catio for your home. This particular design is meant to attach to the side of your porch, but if your home doesn’t have a porch, you can modify it to suit your needs.

This design will give you the basics to customize it however you like. If so inclined, you can add perches or even a hummingbird feeder for your cat’s enjoyment.

Final Thoughts

 Keep in mind that when you decide on a cat run to build, don’t forget access points for you, the human. You’ll need to have the ability to go inside the run to clean or place water and food. All of the plans mentioned allow for your own creativity regarding access points, but don’t exclude them.

In a nutshell, there are plenty of plans to choose from, and if you’re a more advanced DIYer, there are more advanced plans out there that will keep you busy. Whatever route your take, your cat or cats will love their own outdoor space, and you will, too!


Featured Image Credit: SariMe, Shutterstock

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