Outdoor Cat Habitats and Enclosures
Given that most vets, humane societies and rescue organizations are recommending more and more that people maintain an indoor cat, pet owners are looking for ways to keep their cats happy while keeping them inside. Keeping your cats indoors is the responsible thing to do and protects cats from loss, disease and injury. Cats also adapt well to indoor living if they are provided with enough exercise and stimulation to keep them fit, interested and alert.
Supplying enough exercise and mental stimulation can be challenging. That’s where cat enclosures come in. These enclosures allow your cat limited access to the great outdoors without exposing him or her to the dangers. Different types of enclosures include inexpensive perches to window-mounted bays to large and elaborate wood and wire courtyards to cat-proof fencing.
Outdoor cat enclosures can help keep your cat safe while providing fresh air and fun in the sun. While these enclosures don’t replace spending quality time with your cat companion, they can be a big help in keeping kitty happy, contented, and safe.
The least expensive type of cat enclosure is the window perch. It is merely a platform that can be attached to your windowsill so that your cat can watch the activity outside the window. These usually cost less than $50 and are easily installed with wood or metal wall braces. They come in hammock styles, nest styles and basket styles.
Window bay cat enclosures resemble portable air conditioners in the manner in which they fit into double hung window frames. These are acrylic or polyethylene boxes that allow your kitty to sun him or herself as well as a three-sided view and venting that gives the cat a whiff of fresh air. These usually cost between $80 and $150 depending on the brand.
You can also buy free-standing enclosures that attach to your home can be bought as kits or you can build your own quite easily and inexpensively. These usually cost between $100 and $300 per kit and can be installed yourself. You can add extras like height extensions and extra wide shelves for those extra wide felines. These free standing cat enclosures are similar to little green houses complete with carpeting, shelves for sunning and venting for air.
A larger and more elaborate structure is the outdoor cat habitat. These also look like little greenhouses include screened patios and decks, sunrooms and multipurpose and dual-species habitats. These can range from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars in price. The appearance of an outdoor cat habitat really depends on your designing skills, your house and yard’s dimensions and the limits of your pocket books.
Perhaps the easiest way to start building any enclosure is to think of how you can incorporate an existing architectural component of your home into the design. For example, patios, porches and decks make great starting places for enclosures that both cats and humans can enjoy. A patio can be wood framed and secured with wire fencing to keep predators out and your cats safely within range of your home’s entrance.