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10 DIY Outdoor Cat Enclosure Plans You Can Make Today

Many of us choose to keep our cats indoors for safety reasons, but it’s also nice to add some enrichment to their lives by allowing them outside to enjoy the fresh air.

Building an outdoor cat enclosure is the perfect solution – your cat is safe from predators (or being the predator in some cases!) but they can still spend time outside in an enclosed environment.

We’ve reviewed loads of these designs – also frequently referred to adorably as “catios”–  and rounded up our top 10 DIY catios.

From large enclosures with tunnels and platforms to small enclosures that sit next to a window… here you will learn how to build outdoor cat enclosures or how to build a catio suitable to your furry friend.

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The 10 DIY Catios

1. All-Season Outdoor Cat Habitat by Instructables

Skill Level: Medium

If you’re looking for a 4 season cat enclosure that provides plenty of space for your indoor cat to enjoy the fresh air and warm sun this is an excellent choice from Instructables. The step-by-step tutorial is very detailed which is always a bonus.

You can include a raised decking area for your cats to sit on, plus shaded sections. This enclosure is designed to sit flush with your house so your cats can go in and out as they please.

Materials
  • Pressure-treated lumber of various sizes
  • Concrete mix
  • Deck screws
  • Chicken wire
  • Staples
Tools
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Power stapler
  • Wire cutters
  • Screwdriver
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2. Cuckoo 4 Design Easy DIY Cat Enclosure

Skill Level: Advanced

This awesome enclosure by Cuckoo 4 Design includes a window platform and raised tunnel, leading to a larger enclosure set away from the house. Your indoor cat can have a lot of fun in here!

You can easily adapt this plan to suit a range of different sized outdoor spaces as the tutorial doesn’t specify dimensions for your shelter.

Materials
  • Pressure-treated lumber
  • Cedar planks
  • Galvanized mesh
  • Screws
  • Brackets
  • Nails
  • Wood stain
  • Staples
Tools
  • Power drill
  • Staple gun
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
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3. Window Box Cat Enclosure from Kori at Home

Skill Level: Medium

If you don’t have a backyard, or would prefer a smaller enclosure, this window box enclosure from Kori at Home is a perfect choice.

It sits up against one of your windows and provides the perfect spot for your cat to catch some rays. As a plus, you can use reclaimed pallet wood as the frame, saving some money in the process.

Materials
  • Lumber of various sizes
  • Roofing nails
  • Roofing shingles
  • Felt underlay
Tools
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Gloves

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4. Cat Enclosure Attached to Your House: VSG

Skill Level: Medium to Advanced

If you’re looking for a large cat enclosure that can attach to your house, this plan by VSG is a great option.

The detailed plan walks you through all the options for safely attaching the enclosure to your house, as well as how to create the large patio-style area for your cat to enjoy.

Materials
  • Lumber of various sizes
  • Brackets
  • Post stirrups
  • Concrete
  • Wall plate
  • Nails and bolts
  • Roof cladding
Tools
  • Saw
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Ladder
  • Shovel
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5. Catio from This Old House

Skill Level: Medium

This stylish catio plan from This Old House is designed to seamlessly integrate with your house and can be completed in 2 days.

There’s a detailed step-by-step tutorial and you can also download the plans including a cut list.

Materials
  • Cedar lumber
  • Roll roofing
  • Plywood
  • Screen
Tools
  • Ladder
  • Pencil
  • Paint rollers and brushes
  • Miter saw
  • Tape measure
  • Tin snips
  • Utility knife
  • Staple gun
  • Caulk gun
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Clamps
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6. Catio from My Outdoor Plans

Skill Level: Medium to Advanced

This catio from My Outdoor Plans measures a generous 8 foot by 8 foot and provides plenty of elevated spots for your cat to rest.

You can build this as a freestanding structure or attach to your house next to a window where your cat can come and go as they choose.

Materials
  • Lumber of various sizes
  • Screws
  • Hardware cloth
  • Glue
  • Wood stain
  • Hinges
Tools
  • Miter saw
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Framing square
  • Sander
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
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7. The Conscious Cat Catio

Skill Level: Medium

This plan for a 4 by 8-foot catio from The Conscious Cat is designed to sit next to your house, with window access for your cats.

There are multiple platforms for them to sit on plus a weatherproof roof.

Materials
  • Lumber
  • Wire
  • Nails and screws
  • Roofing material
  • Staples
Tools
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Wood stain
  • Staple gun
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8. Pets Best Catio

Skill Level: Beginner

This catio featured on Pets Best was made by cleverly screening an existing porch with wire mesh. The owners then added walkways, steps, corner platforms and scratching posts.

This is sure to inspire you to create a simple and quick catio if you have a little-used porch area!

Materials
  • Lumber of various sizes
  • Netting or wire
  • Sisal rope
  • Staples
  • Wood stain
Tools
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Staple gun
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9. Bookshelf Catio by Cuteness

Skill Level: Beginner

This clever hack involves turning a simple bookshelf from a well-known Swedish furniture shop into a small catio.

There’s plenty of versions available, but we like this YouTube tutorial from Cuteness.

Materials
  • Wooden bookshelf
  • Cat toys
  • Wire mesh
  • Staples
  • Hinges
  • Lock
Tools
  • Staple gun
  • Screwdriver
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10. My Outdoor Plans Window Cat Enclosure

Skill Level: Medium

Another plan from the impressive My Outdoors Life, this time for a small window enclosure.

This simple yet robust catio won’t take much time to make or need many materials.

Materials
  • Lumber of various sizes
  • Plywood
  • Polycarbonate
  • Screws
  • Hardware cloth
  • Wood filler
  • Glue
  • Stain
Tools
  • Safety gloves
  • Glasses
  • Sander
  • Drill
  • Miter saw
  • Level
  • Framing square
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
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Conclusion

Hopefully, you enjoyed our round-up and found some designs to give inspiration.

Some of these plans are also a great choice to use as feral cat house plans – although we’d recommend making them freestanding and placing them further away from your house in this instance.

Even if you’re new at DIY there are some simple plans that will easily teach you how to build an outdoor cat enclosure that you can get started on right away. If you’re a pro, there are some larger projects which will keep you occupied for longer!

Whichever you choose, your cat is sure to be grateful for their new catio – even if they do show their thanks by falling asleep!

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Featured Image Credit: Sander Dewerte, Unsplash