Chris Kouwenhoven

Outdoor enclosures

Aside from leash-training, there is another way to let your cat enjoy the stimulation of being outdoors without the risk of being lost, stolen, or injured--build an outdoor enclosure. It can be any size, but a 6' x 6' x 6' area is sufficient. The vertical space can be utilized by attaching perches to the sides of the structure. If the enclosure is against the side of the house, then only three sides plus a wire roof (cats are great climbers!) are necessary. A pet door will allow the cat free access to the enclosure and eliminate your job as doorman or taxi (if the pen is further out in the yard). Solid redwood two-by-fours and 2" x 3" galvanized wire makes a very attractive play area, but you can choose the materials that best suit your budget. The primary requirements are that the structure be sturdy and escape-proof. A wire door will provide you with access to the inside to clean it and to rearrange the decor from time-to-time. Wooden cat trees, logs and other natural items placed inside the pen will give Kitty choices for perching and scratching. If the enclosure is not attached to the house, there should be a solid wooden box, or "dog house" inside to provide Kitty with a safe, dry, place in which to hide, take refuge from a sudden rain shower, or just to take a catnap.

It only takes a little bit of effort, a small financial investment in materials, and a modicum of imagination to add a wonderful new dimension to your cat's life.

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