The only way I know how to keep my cats in my yard is to provide a physical barrier.
If the cats are going to have freedom to be in the yard, cat proof fencing, a Catio or some form of cat containment system is the only way to keep them safe and sound.
Our elderly cat needed to be kept within the confines of our yard, for his safety. He showed that he was very determined to ‘escape’, despite what we thought was an escape proof DIY facility. One of our first modifications was not to the fence but to the front porch. Our cat was clearly punching above his weight and age regarding escaping. We are definitely wiser now.
This article explains the best and most effective options.
How To Keep My Cats In My Yard
Cat Proof Fencing
Cat proof the yard with fencing to keep the cat in. Modify existing fencing.
Buy, DIY or get someone else to build a purpose built cat enclosure commonly called a Catio.
Cat Enclosure – Permanent Or Temporary
Purchase a cat enclosure that is ready made and just needs to be installed or adapted to fit at your house.
Cat Proof Fencing
You may already have a fenced yard and if so you’re in luck. There are various ways to modify existing fencing to turn your fence into a cat fence. You will need to factor in the cost of the fencing modifications and the amount of fencing you have. Obviously a smaller yard will be easier to manage.
If your yard is large, fencing part of the yard may work. This may or may not be practical for your situation. All yards are different. I am offering suggestions that will work for some but not for others.
Oscillot Cat Containment System
The Oscillot Cat Containment System can be used on any fence that is a minimum of 6 ft high. The system uses spinning paddles installed on the top of the fence. The cat is not able to gain traction because when a paw its a paddle the paddle spins.
Here are some determined attempts by 5 different cats to escape their Oscillot protected yard. I have to give these cats their due. In normal circumstances and with nothing to prevent them going over the top of the fence, they would be gone.
What about your fence? Everyone’s fence is different. There is no one scenario for having success with Oscillot.
Look at all the different fence variations below and on the site to see what I mean. It is suitable for metal, timber, masonry, vinyl and composite fencing.
Coyote Roller Kit
This is another roller system to keep your cats in and other predators or small animals out. Depending on the size of your yard, it can be a costly exercise. However if you have a small balcony or courtyard, this would be an ideal cat fence solution to keep your cat safe. It can also be dismantled used elsewhere.
PVC pipe installed on the top of a fence is going to make it very difficult, if not impossible for cats to get over the fence. The combination of the shape of the pipe being round and the smooth finish means that the cat cannot get a grip on the pipe to haul himself up and over the top.
It is a simple but brilliant idea. Of course there are always those parts of the yard where this won’t work so we need to be thinking one step ahead. Some of these other good ideas will be listed further on in this article.
PVC pipe can be attached on the top of the fence or near the top on your side of the fence. On the top is preferable however installing the pipe on your side of the fence eliminates the need to have interaction with neighbors if that is a problem. Note: If the neighbors cats entering your yard are a problem the PVC pipe will need to be on top of the fence.
The video below shows how simple this is to put into practice. Instead of PVC pipe being used, the presenter has used downpipe. The beauty of this is that it can be painted if desired.
What is the most suitable size pipe? Three inch PVC pipe is the most suitable size however you are not limited to that size. You may already have a supply of PVC pipe suitable to construct this barrier and will just need to buy some brackets.
PVC pipe is cheap and it is fairly easy to cut to size to suit your requirements. Always use gloves and take precautions.
Do you want the pipe to roll? You can do this but it will take considerably more effort. It can be done and the video below explains how. Don’t bother watching unless you think that the rolling method is the way to go. You will need a few handyman skills.
Do you already have a fence? This is a cat fence conversion kit that turns your existing fence into a cat containment system, using netting and metal brackets.
This kit is suitable for any structures that are over 5 ft. It is easy to install. Gates can be converted also. Make sure that you look for any gaps that the cat could climb through. Think like your kitty!
Note: It is not beyond some cats to climb up this netting even at an inward facing 45 degrees. They are able to pull themselves over the top. You know your cat the best and their escapability prowess.
A Catio would have to be what every indoor cat dreams of. A Catio is an outdoor enclosed area, usually freestanding and enclosed with mesh or wire. It contains cat paraphernalia like climbing towers, wall shelves, often some greenery and comfortable places to recline.
A DIY Catio can be as large and creative as the maker desires. Cats can spend the day in the Catio, weather permitting and come inside at night. They have the advantage of being outdoors but safe from predators.
Sometimes a Catio has an entrance into the house, through a cat door. This allows the cat to come and go from the Catio however the cat door can also be closed to keep the cat inside. A Catio has a roof to protect from the weather.
This Catio is a DIY kit.
If possible assemble the Catio at the chosen location or at least nearby. They are not easy structures to move when fully assembled. The Catio shown below would work well on a balcony.
A cat enclosure may also be called a Catio. I have made a distinction between Catios and cat enclosures.
Cat enclosures, are usually fully assembled, although there may be some minor assembly.
Cat enclosures are also structures that are easy to move from place to place
This is a cat enclosure that needs some very basic assembly. It is lightweight and can basically go anywhere that you have the space. Move it around to different parts of the yard.
It is a brilliant enclosure and is easy to set up. It is suitable for more than one cat. There is a zipper at the end of each tunnel. Another complete unit can be added if the space is needed. Although this is a temporary enclosure it is roomy. The cat or cats have the opportunity to move around freely and have a reasonable amount of space.
There is over 30 sq ft of space and the tunnel is 62 inches long. It doesn’t need any tools to set up. The floor is not detachable so for those kitties who seem to be able to flatten themselves to escape, this tactic will not work.
The tunnel can be used inside also. Cats love tunnels, well mostly. We can never be too sure from day to day what will work. Tunnel could be IN one day and OUT the next.
Portable cat enclosures. Also used for short periods of time and can be transported to another location.
When using these cat enclosures it is necessary to think about the cat as a small child and take the same safety precautions. This is particularly so if you are in an unfamiliar location. Thee is always that need to be one step ahead and anticipating what might happen. For example, your enclosure may need extra protection from the sun if it is warm. Always provide water.
These playpens are temporary way of keeping cats in the yard. A playpen is useful is when you are doing work in the backyard or having someone else do yard work. It is easy for a gate to be left open, no matter what precautions you have taken.
The two playpens below are temporary solutions only. They don’t replace a cat fence and cats won’t like being inside a playpen for long periods of time.
Outback Jack Kitty Compound Cat Playpen Tent & Tunnel
This is a brilliant enclosure and is easy to set up. It is suitable for more than one cat. There is a zipper at the end of each tunnel. Another complete unit can be added if the space is needed. Although this is a temporary enclosure it is roomy. The cat or cats have the opportunity to move around freely and have a reasonable amount of space.
There is over 30 sq ft of space and the tunnel is 62 inches long. doesn’t need any tools to set up. The floor is not detachable so for those kitties who seem to be able to flatten themselves to escape, this tactic will not work,
The tunnel can be also be used inside. Cats love tunnels, well mostly. We can never be too sure from day to day what will work.
Other Good Ideas
Do you have an area of the yard where none of these things will work? It may be a short section of fence, perhaps a gate or an awkward corner? If our cat sees a space in the containment system he will be off.
Try using polycarbonate roof panelling. It makes an inexpensive barrier.This needs to be cut to size and fixed to the gate, wall etc. Drill some pilot holes and fasten to the structure.
The panelling is smooth so the cat will not be able to get purchase to get over the wall. Make sure that the polycarbonate section is long enough so that the cat can’t simply fly over the top. We know how persistent cats are.
Polycarbonate roof panelling will be unobtrusive in your yard as it is usually clear or light in color..
Another handy use for polycarbonate sheeting. To stop the cat climbing a tree construct a simple barrier around the trunk of a tree. It is weather resistant however it is easy to replace if necessary.
There is bound to be one idea that you think is more likely to be successful.
Before you go to any cost, buying supplies, consider how that system will work for you.
Actively survey your space and brainstorm for any problems. Polycarbonate sheeting is ideal for filling any small gaps. Few people have a yard that is a perfect square or rectangle.
You may decide that a Catio or portable structure is the best way to go. All you need to do is choose the best one for your situation.
A cat disappearing is stressful and you have a feeling of helplessness. This resource provides practical information about the behavior of lost cats which can help you to formulate an organized plan.
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