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18 DIY Outdoor Cat Enclosure Plans You Can Make Today (With Pictures)

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Cat sitting inside a DIY enclosure

Every cat would love to spend at least some of their time in the great outdoors, but such experiences can be dangerous. There are cars, people, poisons, and other animals out there to worry about. Also, people usually don’t like their neighbors’ cats pooping in their yards and lying on their outdoor furniture and cars.

So, what do you do when your cat wants to go outside but you want to protect them from all those outdoor elements? Build a DIY outdoor cat enclosure for your kitty to spend time in. There are many cool DIY plans available on the internet, so you should not have a problem finding one that fits your skill level and the shape of the space you can build the cat enclosure in. To help you figure out how to build a catio with ease, we’ve compiled 18 DIY outdoor cat enclosures that you can make today.

The Top 18 DIY Outdoor Cat Enclosure Plans

1. DIY Outdoor Adventure Cat Enclosure

Materials: Pine boards, plywood, deck screws, fence panels, plastic roof panels, outdoor carpet, black paint, cat door
Tools: Screwdriver, hammer, saw, drill, wire cutter, tape measure, staple gun, paint brushes
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This is a large outdoor cat enclosure that can hold up well to the outdoor elements no matter what time of the year it happens to be. The enclosure has a sturdy roof, breathable walls, a handy door, and carpeting that will help keep your kitty comfortable while spending time in the enclosure. While the plans come with paint color suggestions, you can make the enclosure any color you want. There is plenty of room inside this free catio plan for bedding, a cat gym, a scratching post, and other accessories.


2. DIY Outdoor PVC Catio

Materials: Poly webbing, hook and loop cable straps, PVC pipes, PVC clamps, garden fencing, plastic roof panels
Tools: PVC cutter, cable ties, door hinge, hammer
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This is a DIY cat enclosure designed to be easy to make yet sturdy and long-lasting. It is made with PVC pipe, which is bendable but strong, and the entire project should cost less than $300. It will take you about a day to complete once you have gathered all the necessary materials and tools. You can make the enclosure as short or as tall as you would like, to best accommodate your cat’s preferences.


3. DIY Stand-Alone Outdoor Cat Enclosure

Materials: PVC pipes, PVC connectors
Tools: Various, depending on the design
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Klever Cages presents a variety of stand-alone PVC cat enclosures that can be customized any way that you like and moved all around your property whenever the need or want arises. The plans require PVC pipes and connectors and maybe a few other materials and tools, depending on exactly how you want to build your enclosure. Use the pictures on the plan page for inspiration, and create your own unique design.


4. DIY Wooden Outdoor Cat Enclosure

Materials: Cedar shelves, flooring, roofing, wire
Tools: Hammer, screwdriver, wire cutters
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Cat Spaces offers a variety of different DIY outdoor enclosure plans for cats to choose from. While not free, the plans are affordable and full of helpful information and tips that can be used to ensure success with your own outdoor enclosure product. You will also get access to tips for acclimating your cat to their new enclosure and how to enrich the outdoor enclosure for activity and stimulation.


5. DIY Window Catio

Materials: 2×3 inch grid wire fencing, metal corner beads, 1 roll wire
Tools: Wire cutters
Difficulty Level: Easy

This catio is designed to expand from a window in your home so your kitty can go in and out through the window anytime they want to. You can use fencing that matches the color of your home so the catio blends in with the surroundings. This set of plans does not include a roof, but one could easily be added if you want your cat to be able to get outside even when it is raining.


6. DIY Wood and Fence Cat Enclosure

Materials: 2×3 lumber, plywood, chicken wire, screw, gate latch, railroad ties, L-brackets
Tools: Chop saw, skill saw, hand drill, staple gun, air compressor
Difficulty Level: Difficult

This is a huge outdoor cat enclosure that will take a great deal of work to build, but once complete, the enclosure should hold up for many years. If you live with multiple cats, this is the perfect set of enclosure plans to consider working with because several kitties can enjoy time inside without feeling cramped. The enclosure can be built over bushes and other types of foliage, on a flat space of grass, or even over a concrete slab.


7. DIY Basic Catio and Accessories

Materials: 2×3 lumber, screen, or fencing
Tools: Varies depending on specific design
Difficulty Level: Easy to difficult

This catio design can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. It’s put together with lumber and screen or fencing to enclose the structure. What’s unique about this tutorial is that it outlines all the accessories that should be introduced to the catio to make it a space that your cat will thoroughly enjoy spending time in.


8. DIY Woodworking Cat Enclosure

Materials: 2×2 lumber, screws, hinges, hardware cloth, wood glue, screen or fencing, paint
Tools: Hammer, square, level, miter saw, drill, screwdriver, sander, tape measure
Difficulty Level: Moderate

These free catio plans for this DIY outdoor enclosure allow for plenty of room to be creative. You don’t have to make one specific shape or size but can use the plans as a guide for creating your own custom unit. Your woodworking skill level should be moderate if you want to attempt to construct this particular outdoor cat enclosure, though.


9. DIY Catio From This Old House


Materials: Lumber, fasteners, screens, roofing
Tools: Hammer, staple gun, level, saw, drill, circular saw, chisel, tape measure
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This oblong outdoor cat enclosure by This Old House is designed to attach to your house right around a window. You will build an anchor frame on your home around the window and then build the actual enclosure on the ground. The hardest part of the project is hoisting the finished enclosure up onto the frame attached to the side of your house.


10. DIY Collapsible Cat Enclosure

Materials:  2×2 lumber, screen or fencing, metal roofing, screws, nails
Tools: Hammer, screwdriver, tape measure
Difficulty Level: Moderate

If you want to be able to pack up your cat’s outdoor enclosure and move it to different areas of your property for variety in scenery and experience, these are the DIY outdoor cat enclosure plans for you. Each wall of this free catio plan is made of separate panels that fold down like an accordion, so all the pieces can be easily moved to another location or even stored away when necessary.


11. DIY Cat Enclosure and Tunnel

Materials: 2×2 lumber, 2×4 lumber, fencing, wire
Tools: Hammer, screwdriver, level, tape measure
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This is an impressive DIY cat enclosure that is built next to the house and attached to a “tunnel” that connects to a window so cats can safely enter and exit the enclosure. The ground is prepared with a substrate to create a foundation, and each wall of the enclosure is built one at a time before being erected and connected to one another.


12. DIY Backyard Cat Enclosure

Materials: Lumber, screen, wire, iron fencing
Tools: Hammer, screwdriver, level, saw, tape measure
Difficulty Level: Difficult

This DIY backyard cat enclosure is expansive and allows for multiple cats to explore several areas of the yard while outside. Complete with tunnels, tubes, patios, and exercise yards, this enclosure is more of an amusement park than a simple place to nap. You will need a moderately large yard to pull off all the features of this cat enclosure plan, but a few of them can be incorporated into smaller yards.


13. DIY Cat House Enclosure

Materials:  2×2 lumber, 4-foot fencing, corrugated roofing
Tools: Staple gun, wire cutter
Difficulty Level: Easy

This is an easy cat enclosure plan that you should be able to accomplish even with no woodworking or crafting experience. The enclosure requires basic materials that you can find at any home improvement store. This YouTube video explains all the details and shows you how to put together this cat enclosure step by step.


14. Easy DIY Exterior Cat Enclosure

Materials: Pressure-treated wood, cedar planks, galvanized mesh, galvanized screws
Tools: Power drill, staple gun, nail gun, air compressor
Difficulty Level: Easy

This is a dual-purpose cat enclosure that does not take much time, effort, or money to create. A tunnel is built off a window in the home and then continues along a fence until it reaches a small, enclosed play yard. Your cat can stroll through the tunnel and relax anywhere to sunbathe, as the tunnel is an open design.


15. Cool DIY Outdoor Cat Tunnel

Materials: 4×6 deck boards, 2×4 lumber, 6-foot fencing board
Tools: Variety of power tools
Difficulty Level: Moderate

With just a few materials and tools, you can make homemade cat tunnels for your furry family member to run around in when they want to spend time outdoors. These plans are designed to work with an existing fence, but you could use plywood or other types of lumber to create a faux fence to use as the base of your cat tunnels.


16. DIY IKEA Shelf Catio

Materials: 2 IKEA shelves, 1×3 lumber, chicken wire, door hinges, door bolts, doorknob
Tools: Staple gun, wire cutter, power drill
Difficulty Level: Easy

This is an excellent hack using IKEA shelves that results in a super cute, compact, and effective outdoor exercise enclosure for your cat. You just need a few materials, like chicken wire and door hinges, to complete this DIY project. The enclosure is not large but offers plenty of space for one cat to climb, jump, and snooze.


17. DIY Window Cat Patio

Materials: Plywood,1/4-inch wooden dowels, plexiglass, 1×3 pine, cat door, caulking, wood glue, screws, paint
Tools: Saw, screwdriver, paintbrush, weather stripping, duct tape
Difficulty Level: Moderate

If you live in an apartment building or have limited yard space, you can always use these DIY catio plans to learn how to build a catio for your kitty to hang out in that extends from one of your windows. You don’t need any complicated tools, and the necessary materials are readily available on the market. This catio is weatherproof, so your cat can enjoy their outdoor space all year long.


18. DIY Outdoor Cat Jungle Gym

Materials: Plywood, 2×2 lumber, mesh, chicken wire, screws, nails
Tools: Saw, screwdriver, hammer, tape measure, level
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Cats love to run and play, so when thinking about how to build a catio, consider creating a custom jungle gym that they can enjoy outside without fear of accidents or injuries. Part tunnel, part enclosed pen, and part treehouse, this interesting design can be customized how you see fit based on things like the layout of your yard and the kinds of natural features that you want to incorporate into the enclosure.

Wrapping Things Up

Whether you live on 5 acres, have a small home and property, or reside in an apartment building, you are sure to find a DIY outdoor cat enclosure plan that is right for you and your cat. Keep in mind that many of these plans can be customized, so you don’t have to follow them exactly and you can improvise when it comes to things like materials.

See also: How to Cat-Proof a Balcony – 10 Possible Ways


Featured Image Credit: Julieshoots, Pixabay

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