Outdoor Fences for Cats – The Best (and Worst) Options That Allow Your Cat To Enjoy the Great Outdoors Safely

Watching your cat bask in the sunshine, chase butterflies, and explore the great outdoors is delightful. If you have a yard or garden space, sharing it with your kitty is lovely.

However, ensuring their safety while they indulge in these activities is extremely important. Cats are curious by nature and won’t always recognize danger signs within your garden or beyond your fences if they try to escape and explore.

Outdoor fences for cats are a fantastic way to let your feline friend enjoy the outdoors while keeping them secure.

Do You Need Outdoor Fences for Cats?

oscillot cat containment system fence rollers keep cat in your yard

Outdoor fences for cats provide a controlled environment where your kitty can roam freely without the dangers of traffic, predators, or getting lost.

Suppose you live in an area with heavy traffic or wild animals or want to keep your cat within the confines of your yard. In that case, an outdoor fence is an excellent investment. It gives your cat the freedom to enjoy nature while giving you peace of mind.

The Different Options for Outdoor Fences for Cats

There are several types of outdoor fences designed to keep your cat safe. Each has its own advantages and drawbacks, so choosing the one that best suits your needs and your yard’s layout is essential.

Cat Fence Extensions

Cat fence extensions are a popular and effective way to cat-proof your existing fence. These extensions typically consist of angled poles and mesh that create an overhang, making it difficult for your cat to climb over.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective: A budget-friendly option for many cat owners.
  • DIY-friendly: Many kits are easy to install on your own.
  • Effective: The overhang design prevents cats from getting a foothold.

Cons:

  • Aesthetic impact: It can make your yard look less appealing.
  • One-way barrier: While they keep your cat in, they might not prevent other animals from entering.

Shop the PURR…FECT Fence here.

Cat Fence Rollers

oscillot cat containment system on plastic white fence

Cat fence rollers, like the Oscillot system, are another excellent option. These rotating paddles installed on top of the fence spin when a cat tries to climb over it, preventing it from gaining traction.

Pros:

  • Low-profile: Blend seamlessly with your fence, available in various colors.
  • Humane and effective: It keeps your cat safe without causing harm.
  • Two-way barrier: Can prevent other animals from entering your yard.

Cons:

  • Cost: More expensive than some other options.
  • Professional installation is recommended, as it is only sometimes suitable for DIY.

Discover the Oscillot system here.

Adding Spikes to Existing Fences

Spikes are another option to deter cats from climbing over fences. These aren’t harmful metal spikes but rubber or plastic strips with blunt points that make climbing uncomfortable for your cat.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive: One of the cheapest options available.
  • Low-profile: Not very noticeable once installed.
  • Two-way deterrent: This can also prevent other animals from entering.

Cons:

  • Effectiveness: Cats may still find ways to navigate around them.
  • Comfort: Not the friendliest option for your cat’s paws.

Wireless Cat Fences

Wireless cat fences use a collar with a transmitter to create an invisible boundary. If your cat approaches the boundary, it will receive a warning beep followed by a mild shock if it continues.

These aren’t great because you’re purposefully causing your cat discomfort. I’ve included them to inform you of the option, but I wouldn’t recommend using them.

Pros:

  • Invisible: No physical fence is required, preserving your yard’s appearance.
  • Flexible: Easily adjust the boundary size and shape.

Cons:

  • Training required: Your cat needs to be trained to understand the boundaries.
  • Discomfort: Many owners may be uncomfortable with static correction since you’re shocking your cat, even mildly.

Catios

DIY Catio Idea Ragdoll Cats Leo and Shelby outside view

Catios, short for ‘cat patios,’ are enclosed outdoor structures that provide a secure space for your cat to enjoy the outdoors without the risks associated with free roaming. Unlike cat-proofing your entire yard, a catio confines your cat to a specific area, offering a different approach to outdoor safety.

There are several benefits to using a catio instead of cat-proofing a fence:

  • Complete Enclosure: Catios are fully enclosed, preventing any possibility of escape. Your cat can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine without the risk of wandering off.
  • Protection from Predators: A catio keeps your cat safe from predators and other dangers, such as traffic or toxic plants, which they might encounter outside a fenced area.
  • Physical Exercise: Catios offers ample space for your cat to climb, jump, and play, promoting physical activity that helps maintain their health and fitness. You can add multiple levels to make it more engaging.
  • Variety of Sizes: Catios come in various sizes and shapes, from small window boxes to large, freestanding structures that can accommodate multiple cats. This flexibility allows you to choose a design that fits your yard and your cat’s needs.
  • Indoor-Outdoor Transition: Catios can be connected to your home via a window, door, or tunnel, allowing your cat to move freely between indoor and outdoor spaces. This transition space is particularly useful for indoor cats new to exploring outside.

DIY Vs Pre-Made

When it comes to ensuring your cat’s outdoor safety, you can choose between DIY solutions and pre-made products.

While pre-built models offer convenience and often professional quality, DIY projects can be equally effective and more budget-friendly, especially if you enjoy hands-on work.

Two of the options above lend themselves most to a DIY solution – cat fence extensions and catios.

For a cat fence extension, all you need to do is make your own brackets or even buy brackets yourself.

You can then pick up some netting or mesh fencing and run it between the brackets. If using a metal mesh, consider painting it black before you install it so it is more hidden than a reflective metal finish.

Here’s how one Floppycatter did it.

Catios are your other DIY option; they don’t need to be extremely intricate. All you need is a simple wood box with mesh panels as sides and a roof.

Obviously, if you’re confident in your skills, you can get more complex by adding several different platforms, ramps, ladders, and a range of fitted toys.

But don’t run before you can walk—if you want a simple, budget-friendly option, making a large box with mesh is all you need.

These catio ideas should give you some inspiration to get started.

Which is Best?

oscillot cat fence review

There’s no single answer to which outdoor fences are best for cats. It also depends on your yard, budget, and circumstances.

If you want your cat to enjoy the outdoors whenever they want freely, then a catio connected to the indoors is the way to go.

But if you’re giving them the freedom of the yard under supervision, and you have the budget available, choosing a roller system like the Oscillot is often the best way to go since it doesn’t mean you have to ruin the look of your fence, and it’ll help keep other animals out of your yard too.

Spikes and wireless electric fences aren’t the best options if you want your cat to feel relaxed and comfortable, but using a mesh extension is a viable—if sometimes ugly—option for anyone working on a budget.

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