Cage Your Cat!
Give Your Indoor Cat the Freedom to Roam Outside
This past summer I completed a great project: install a large cage in a customer’s yard to give her indoor cats some freedom to go outside. She was very concerned about her two cats’ health and safety.
These were two former “free to roam” cats that she used to let outside to roam freely. Then a series of events gave her serious concerns for their health and safety from squirrels, dogs, other cats, and irate neighbors who do not share her love of cats. So she locked them inside due to her fears and concerns.
She found a great solution to the problem: a cage connected to her house via a pet door where her cats could go outside with protection from other cats, squirrels, etc. Then she called me to assemble/install all of the components.
The first thing she needed was a pet door that would fit in a window. She contacted the manufacturer of pet doors and purchased one modified to fit her window. We took this window:
and installed the door like this:
That lower rectangle is the pet door flap.
Since the cage is metal and will be outside in the elements, we decided to anchor it to a firm base that had some protection against moisture and abrasion to resist rusting.
The cage was to be situated along the side of the house out into the back yard as shown here:
First step was to install the base of patio blocks and pressure treated 2 x 4’s to which the cage would be attached.
This was all detailed work as I had to make sure the 20ft long base was level along its entire length, which required digging and leveling. The tricky part was that I had to make sure the cage was just the right height so that the “kitty skywalk,” as I like to call it, was level. The height of the window sill dictated the distance from the bottom of the cage “skywalk” to the top of the 2 x 4 on the base. This part of the project was boring and trying.
I ran into a somewhat major glitch in installation when I decided to check the panel dimensions just to make sure I had the base set at the right height. What I found is that the manufacturer refers to the panels as 3 foot square panels. But the panels are actually 34 1/2″ square. In terms of being level, a difference of 1 1/2″ over 3 feet is a huge difference. So I had to completely redo the base by digging out more and doing more leveling. What a pain!
It was then time for the fun: assembling the cage. I started at the skywalk and worked around from there. The cage is composed of 3ft panels that are connected together with metal clips and bolts. I started with the skywalk since that was the most crucial to keeping the cage stable while under construction. Here the skywalk is connected to the window:
From there I began the methodical assembly of the cage shown here:
This last picture is of the cage with the shelves installed. The shelves allow the cats to go up high (the cage is 6ft tall) as cats love to do or go down to the ground. The “black snake” on the ground is porous tubing for watering the grass so the cats have a source of grass to graze on.
Near the end of the assembly process my customer decided she would like a little patio that she could sit near to enjoy being outside with her cats. So I laid a small patio using 8 x 16 patio blocks and sand. She also had 3 cement benches she had me move to the patio area and, to finish it all off, I spread a yard of bark chunks as you can see in these next pictures.
Overall, this was a challenging yet fun project to plan and build. If you have pets you would like to let outside but have concerns for their safety for various reasons you may want to consider one of these cages.