In the past our cats have had free access to roam the outdoors. It seems they abused this privilege though, to the distress of a couple of our neighbours who were either allergic or whose garden became a bird hunting ground. So as responsible pet owners we decided we needed to keep the cats contained to our property while still giving them an area outdoors to bounce around in.
After a bit of consideration we decided to cordon off the narrow part of the yard off the laundry door and up the side of the house as “the cat run.”
Here are the views of the run from each end (click on any image to see a larger version.)
As you can see, containing the cats largely involved building a fence and a gate at the end of the area, and erecting some loose netting along the top of the fence to dissuade the cats from trying to climb over.
Dissuasive as it may have been, the scheming little fur balls tested their new pen and staged several successful breakouts. The first was from the top of the water heater that provided a high enough ledge for them to jump clear over the netting.
I first tried putting a spiky platform over the heater, and while the cat was nonplussed, he would still gingerly make the jump, so I ended up extending the netting all the way to the brick.
Next they decided if they can’t go over, they’d go under, so some netting along the bottom of the fence to discourage digging, and the run was escape proof.
Before I installed the cat doors, we were leaving the laundry window open during the day so they could come and go, so I made a ramp so they didn’t have to jump so much, but only one of them ever used it. And for entertainment, I made a climbing post up to a window ledge where they can look out upon the world, and wrapped some carpet around some support posts for scratching.
Fitting the pet doors to the timber and security doors turned out to be surprisingly straightforward thanks to an angle grinder, a jig saw, careful measurement, and judicious use of a mallet to make sure everything aligned properly.
So the cats are corralled, and it seems my cat herding days are over for now. A surprise benefit has been the cats hanging around the house a lot more during the day which is nice.
And as I work away in my office I get to watch the cats play and fight and skitter around outside my window. My own personal cat terrarium.