Cat Houses -Outdoor Enclosures

I've mentioned before that when I had cats while living in my family's house, my family never really worried if our cats didn't come home for the night. They would say something like "They're cats. They'll know how to come home." Unfortunately, over time about 6 of our cats never found their way home. I'd cry buckets for weeks then slowly get over the loss.

To avoid the pain and anxiety of missing cats, especially at night and especially if you live on a busy street or in a neighbourhood where dogs are let loose, you can build outdoor enclosures so that your cats don't feel stifled and still "prowl" the grounds while we sleep blissfully.

In Malaysia, I've not come across portable outdoor enclosures but these should be a breeze for your local carpenter to build. Just make sure to choose material that is easy to clean, won't harvest bacteria and is waterproof. Also study the type of wood to ensure that it's scratch worthy and won't fall apart after months of rain and shine. Also, take into the consideration that if your cats like to hangout in their outdoor enclosures during the day, there should be sufficient shady areas, and clean water sources.

Here are some pointers courtesy of Pets Weekly.

Cat Enclosure Options
If you want to offer your own cat a secure place to experience the great outdoors, you have a number of options. You can purchase a pre-built cat enclosure, assemble a structure from a kit or plans, or you can come up with your own design. Kristine Kischer, owner of Toronto-based Habitat Haven, says most of her customers start with modest enclosures, then remodel and build up. "It doesn't have to be this humongous expense right off the get-go," she says. "I've had one lady add on five times in the last six years."

Habitat Haven, which ships throughout North America, offers a selection of kits. The company also allows you to plan an enclosure by choosing different elements. A "starter" enclosure runs from $500 to $1,000. The kit arrives with instructions and all necessary hardware.

Cost-effective Solutions

You needn't worry about spending a fortune. Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, DVM, thinks an outdoor enclosure is such a great idea, she installed one herself. "I love outdoor enclosures for cats! I built one off a window in our hospital with lumber and fencing wire to prove to people that you don't have to spend millions to get a safe, fun enclosure," says Dr. Colleran, who practices in Chico, Calif., and Portland, Ore.

Major pet organizations generally are in favor of outdoor enclosures for cats too. The Humane Society of the United States sells portable enclosures on its Web site. There, you'll also find information about a number of businesses that sell plans, kits and pre-built structuresm

A Cat Enclosure Checklist

As you plan an enclosure, Dr. Colleran and other experts list several important considerations:

Access: How will your kitty move from your house to the enclosure? Will you allow free access, letting your cat come and go at will? "One of the most important considerations for me was that I only had to prop open a window to allow the cats access to the cat run," Moore says. Access should be energy-efficient, safe and easy, advises Dr. Colleran. "A covered cat door is a good choice if it is insulated," she says.

Security and protection: Test every seam to make sure your enclosure is secured to the ground so that your cat can't dig its way out, Dr. Colleran cautions. You'll also want to ensure that your cat has a shady, fully covered space that can offer relief from the sun and weather. Your enclosure should be large enough to accommodate the family cats without overcrowding, which can lead to behavior problems. Each cat should have enough room to claim its own space and walk comfortably in and out of the enclosure.

Cleanliness: Use materials that you can easily clean, and practice flea control in areas that contact the soil. Regular cleaning will help protect your kitty's health and avoid the buildup of unpleasant odors.

Enrichment: Vertical climbing and perches make an enclosure more interesting for your cat, says Dr. Colleran. Moore suggests providing separate areas for watching backyard activity and quietly snoozing.

Neighborliness: Consider both what you want to view in your backyard and what others may be able to see, says Kischer. Put your enclosure in a place where it isn't publicly visible -- that's a plus for your cats and your neighbors.

Once you build an enclosure, you'll need to introduce kitty to its new space. Let your cat investigate at its own pace, advises Kischer. Soon enough, she says, you'll have peace of mind while your cat enjoys a bit of risk-free fresh air and stimulation.

Here are some cool outdoor enclosures PetsInBlack found to inspire you to build your own:

DIY outdoor cat enclosures
DIY outdoor cat enclosures
cat enjoying outdoor cat enclosures
Source: Cuckoo4design

Source: YourHomeOptions

Cat Room Decorating Ideas In Outdoor Space
Source: LatestHouseDesign

Mini catio - A great outdoor haven for your cat (same idea could also be used for other pets too)  in your Tiny House...  -  To connect with us, and our community of people from Australia and around the world, learning how to live large in small places, visit us at
Source: ChinaCat

This creative homeowner built walkways around the house so the cat could get some fresh air without ever really leaving the house. Check with your homeowners association before adding these types of enclosures to your house.
This structure begins at the house and spans across the yard. What cat wouldn't be happy keeping an eye on things from this high perch.
Source: MySanAntonio

Pet Accessories -- Outdoor Cat Enclosure -- This is the ultimate in an outside cat run complete with pond, waterfall, tunnel and fountain.   Absolute luxury living for the cats with fish to watch and tunnels to explore.
cat enclosure bridge
Source: Cats Of Australia

Agent L and S would be soooo jealous if they saw these!

Would you like to share your cat house photos? Please email to petsinblackblog{at} We would love to hear your ideas and read your comments below. Share the love!
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  1. I'm not really a Cat person .. but these are all great ideas. Did one of your family intentionally let the cats out when you were younger? I'm wondering how they got out

  2. We let them roam freely. If they wanted to stay indoors, great, but we allowed to them to go out as well.

  3. Such nice concepts! Cats are just so adorable and they literally have a little world of their own. Haha! :)

  4. I am no fan of cats, but I agree, cat's outdoor houses are good for them. Perhaps a bigger house suits my mini pincher. What can you say?

  5. Yes, Jason, they usually do live in their own world but they can be friendly with other animals too! There are some who are best friends with dogs and rabbits :)

  6. Papaleng, Mini Pinschers can fit here too but they need more space to run I suppose? :)

  7. Wow. it's cute.. I didnt know that cats can be caged in. I thought they would be loud when they don't get outside. hehehe However, some of the photos shown above are big houses..

  8. Waooo Cat houses. xxx I am cat loving person. I am having a per cat.

  9. Nice place to place your pets inside, but it must have spacious lawn for them to be outdoor sometimes.

  10. The enclosures you showed are beautiful! But I think the owners must stay in big houses to be able to do so... I think healthy space is needed for all pets, not only cats! :)

  11. I have had cats for pets and I can totally understand the need for these enclosures. Good ideas!

  12. Janine, they get loud when they're hungry or want to play!
    Hina, share photos of your cats with us!
    Fernando, yup it's safer to have cats stay indoors. They love to run around and sunbathe outdoors but unless your walls are high, they'll find a way out to the road. For those who stay in apartments like me, they like to hang out near the windows so windows can't be left too wide open.
    Tiffany, not necessarily big houses, small houses are possible too. Just need to be creative :)
    Thanks, Loudthinkin :)

  13. I didn't realize cats needed a lot of effort to be taken care of, especially with enclosed spaces. i'll keep these in mind when i get myself a pet, maybe a cat.

  14. I do not really like cats, but I never thought there are cages for cats. I thought they need to be able to roam around.

  15. I don't know this all arrangements happened for cats also else in india if a cat crossed the road in front of you then it will consider bad for you. You present great idea here

  16. Those are really big cat enclosure. It's important to have the place clean.

  17. Really great post ,i scare about cats but its cool to take them as pet great ideas cheers

  18. Wow those owners really love their cats... I love my cats too but too bad I don't have a huge space for them to jump around, so instead I got them a box~ Cats love boxes

  19. Phylicia and FYHMD, they're pretty easy to take care of because they usually entertain themselves and sleep a lot! However, yes, if they are free to roam, it's better to have an outdoor enclosure so that neighbours won't complain about them pooping in their gardens!

    agarwalsamajbhilwara, I've heard of the superstition where it's bad luck when black cats cross your path. I've had many encounters with blacks cats crossing my path and so far only good luck comes LOL!

    Franc, yes it's important to keep the place clean for their health (and ours!)

    Radhika, they're such loving creatures :)

    Kyril, my cats love boxes and newspaper balls too! You can make castles out of boxes!

  20. What a beautiful thing. Those cat houses look fabulous. Wish I could get one for my cat.

  21. Wow this is so brilliant, I think I need to get our carpenter to make one of this for our cat