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Best outdoor cat enclosure: Keep your feline safe while it explores the outdoors

outdoor cat enclosures
(Image credit: Omlet Catio Outdoor Cat Enclosure)

Looking for an outdoor cat enclosure that will keep your indoor cat safe and secure while they explore and enjoy everything that the great outdoors has to offer? You've come to the right place! From breathing in the fresh air and soaking up the sun to feeling the grass beneath their paws, an outdoor cat enclosure comes with a range of physical and mental health benefits that will ensure your kitty stays happy and healthy. 

An outdoor cat enclosure is a great alternative for those days when you don't have time to pop your indoor cat into one of the best cat harnesses and walk them around the garden. Plus, if you're super busy, putting your kitty into an enclosure gives you great peace of mind that they're able to get all the benefits of the outdoors with none of the risks. Think of an outdoor enclosure as being like your very own cat sitter! 

While there's certainly a case to be made for letting cats roam free (see our guide to caring for outdoor cats if you have a feline who spends a lot of time outside), there's also a lot of drawbacks, including the potential for them to be hit by a car, pick up an infectious disease or be targeted by predators, such as dogs and coyotes. For most cats, a life indoors is far safer, but it's still important that your kitty gets a daily dose of fresh air.

Your cat evolved to live their life outdoors and wanting to trot off on an adventure is hardwired into their DNA. But because cats are also natural hunters, letting them loose means that they pose a huge risk to mice, birds and other wildlife, which is where a good cat enclosure can come in handy. These wonderful inventions give your cat the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of being out in nature while eliminating the risks to other creatures. 

When it comes to choosing an outdoor cat enclosure, you'll find a huge selection available to you, from traditional wire and mesh options to more modern wooden designs. Just be sure to select one that's nice and secure so that your feline friend can't escape! And to help you do just that, we've rounded up all of our top picks, with styles and sizes to suit every backyard and budget. Let's take a look...

PetsRadar's pick of the best outdoor cat enclosures

PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Cat House

(Image credit: Amazon)

PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Cat House

Best overall outdoor cat enclosure

Specifications

Measurements (inches): 76.75" L x 37.25" W x 68.75" H
Weight (pounds): 100
Materials: Fir Wood, Wire Mesh

Reasons to buy

+
Escape-proof
+
Durable wood and wire design
+
Weatherproof

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

Okay, so before we start raving on about how much we love this enclosure from PawHut, it's only fair that we come clean quickly and let you know that this is one of the more expensive enclosures out there. But, if you have the budget? Boy oh boy is it worth it!

This fully enclosed large playpen is ideal for multiple cats and the design is hands down one of the best we've seen. Multi-tiered, the main house includes a paned window, sliding door, a small hinged door, and a ramp to help for easy access into the house.

You'll also find plenty of room inside for a cat bed and litter box, and the doors and windows allow for plenty of air to flow through on hot days. There's a large run area for your kitty to stretch their legs in and the large front door with secure safety latches lets you gain easy access to your kitty. 

Made from fir wood and wire mesh, this is a super durable enclosure and the flat roof is covered with asphalt for enhanced weather protection against both sun and rain. It's all held together by pet-friendly sealant and the assembly instructions are clear and easy to follow. 

Overall, this large and roomy enclosure ticks all the boxes - except perhaps price, but if you're able to stretch to it, we're pretty sure you won't regret investing in this little beauty. 

best outdoor cat enclosures

(Image credit: Amazon)

Outback Jack Outdoor Cat Enclosures For Indoor Cats

Best budget option

Specifications

Measurements (inches): 31 x 21.5 x 6.5
Weight (pounds): 7
Materials: Polyester, mesh

Reasons to buy

+
Simple to assemble
+
Portable
+
Fits a balcony/small garden

Reasons to avoid

-
Some reports of parts breaking

As much as we’d all like loads of money and a huge garden, most of us don’t have these luxuries. While this doesn’t have the sheer scale of Omlet’s offerings, it is undoubtedly a much more realistic prospect warranting closer examination.

It may not look the biggest from the pictures, but it offers a lot of room for your kitty, encompassing over 30 feet of space. The tunnel zips onto the end of the supplied tent – a masterstroke since cats love running down tunnels, and will have a lot of fun with this.

Totally surrounded by a polyester mesh material, the gaps are small enough that no bugs can get in. We suspected that it might be susceptible to getting torn by claw-happy cats, but we haven’t seen any reports of this in reviews, so we’ll give Outback Jack the benefit of the doubt.

Assembly couldn’t be simpler. Once out of the packaging, simply undo the ties and the tunnel pops out. From there, it’s simply a case of zipping it onto the tent, and everything’s effectively done.

There were reports of the zip breaking in user reviews, but these were few and far between. For the relatively low price, we’re not expecting anything especially sturdy, but it’s comforting to know that there are so many happy customers.

While we wouldn’t recommend leaving your cat in it for hours on end, it seems perfect for giving them a few hours in the sun. Coupled with its affordability and portability, and you have something that could be worth an investment.

Kitty City Claw Indoor and Outdoor Mega Kit Cat Furniture

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kitty City Claw Indoor and Outdoor Mega Kit Cat Furniture

Best indoor and outdoor cat enclosure

Specifications

Measurements (inches): 33 x 47.25 x 46.75 inches
Weight (pounds): 11.8 Pounds
Materials: Nylon Mesh

Reasons to buy

+
Works indoors and outdoors
+
Zip door for easy access
+
Rearrangeable cubby cubes

Reasons to avoid

-
Cubby cubes can be wobbly

Fresh air fun is guaranteed when you purchase this mesh outdoor cat enclosure. Fully enclosed but with full 360-degree visibility, this breathable play set is durable enough to withstand energetic play and the occasional claw climb!

The rearrangeable cubby cubes provide plenty of places to hide and snooze, and because you can move them about, you can mix things up from time to time and provide your feline friend with some much needed variety.

Measuring 33 x 47.25 x 46.75 inches, this outdoor cat enclosure is ideal for multi-fur baby households and the zip door makes getting your cats in and out an absolute breeze. You can also expand the enclosure by zipping on other Kitty City products, such as tunnels, so there's lots of options for keeping this play set feeling fresh.

best outdoor cat enclosures

(Image credit: Amazon)

PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Cat House

Best combination outdoor cat enclosure

Specifications

Measurements (inches): 76.75 x 37.25 x 68.75
Weight (pounds): 100
Materials: Fir wood, asphalt, wire mesh

Reasons to buy

+
Includes a cat house
+
Durable and weatherproof
+
Fully enclosed with plenty of space

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite expensive

Upon purchasing an outdoor cat enclosure, one of the first resorts is usually to purchase some cover to protect your cat from the elements. Here, there is no need to worry about this, with the design incorporating its very own kennel to assist in providing some vital shelter.

This is more expensive than a lot of other cat runs we’ve seen, which is unsurprising considering the relatively high quality of the construction materials. But bearing in mind the almost entirely positive Amazon user reviews, this added expense has brought with it security – both for your pet and for your peace of mind.

The fir wood materials offer a sturdy framework for this enclosure, and the asphalt provides a good level of waterproofing. Inside, a ladder provides easy access to the cat house, which provides ample shelter. Outside, there’s plenty of room for your cats to lie around in. We recommend putting a couple of scratch posts in there, maybe a freestanding platform or two.

All in all, it’s hard to find a lot wrong with this particular enclosure. It even looks nice – the grey paint aesthetic giving the impression that it has actually been designed, rather than hurriedly put together like some of the unpainted wood-themed products out there.

If you don’t mind paying the hefty price tag, then you’ll get a well-made outdoor cat enclosure. With a few additions, this could be all your cat could want.

 

Kittywalk Outdoor Net Cat Enclosure

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kittywalk Outdoor Net Cat Enclosure

Best outdoor cat enclosure for balconies and patios

Specifications

Measurements (inches): 72 x 18 x 24
Weight (pounds): 14
Materials: Solid steel wickets & rip stop netting

Reasons to buy

+
Self standing
+
Maximum visibility and ventilation
+
Weather resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
The access in and out can be tricky

If you don't have a backyard but still want to give your kitty some fresh air, never fear because this small outdoor netted cat enclosure from Kittywalk has got you covered! Perfect for use on decks and patios, it measures 72 x 18 x 24 and is self-standing with open-net construction for maximum visibility and ventilation.

Completely enclosed with two doors for entering and exiting, the enclosure requires no assembly and features rip-stop netting to ensure it can hold up to your kitty's claws. It's also weather-resistant, which makes it ideal for use all year round and it comes with a storage bag for handy travel. 

best outdoor cat enclosures

(Image credit: Amazon)

AmazonBasics Large 3-Tier Cat Cage Playpen Box Crate Kennel

Best to keep on the balcony

Specifications

Measurements (inches): 35.83 x 22.44 x 50.6
Weight (pounds): 37.4
Materials: Metal wire, rust-resistant e-coat finish

Reasons to buy

+
Easily portable
+
Fits in small spaces
+
Requires minimal measurements

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be too small for some cats

If your needs are of a considerably lower scale than what you’ve seen previously in this guide, then this Amazon Basics offering might be more to your liking. Although it’s much smaller in size, it has the advantage of being portable, relatively inexpensive, and ultimately perfect for placement on a balcony. The swing-open doors have secure latches too, meaning there’s little risk of your cat performing a Houdini act.

Comprising three tiers – perfect for your cat to jump around on should they want some exercise, or simply a better view – it offers a safe and secure environment in which they can do so. Should they try to claw at or chew the cage, the durable metal wire – adorned with a black e-fish – is perfectly safe for cats. It requires no real maintenance, apart from the odd clean if it gets dusty.

If you want to move it, you can simply wheel it around or fold it up, ready for transportation elsewhere. Though few breakages of any kind have been reported, a year’s warranty is offered, so either way, it’s nothing to worry about.

It also provides a handy dual purpose: litterbox training. Some cats don’t like being watched, so placing a tray at the bottom could provide a handy alternative.

While it might not be exactly what you’d think of when looking for cat enclosures, we can’t deny that it is handy for those living in more confined spaces. If you’re one of those people, it could serve as a handy middle ground against a full-sized enclosure.

 

best outdoor cat enclosures

(Image credit: Amazon)

ToysOpoly #1 Premium Pet Playpen

Best portable cat enclosure

Specifications

Measurements (inches): 26 x 19 x 1.9
Weight (pounds): 5.6
Materials: Open mesh

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and portable
+
Relatively affordable
+
No assembly required

Reasons to avoid

-
Flimsy in places

If you’re the sort of person who likes to take their cat away with them, then this could be the solution you’re looking for. Letting them roam around in an unfamiliar environment isn’t ideal, so being able to take something with you that makes it easy to keep an eye on them while they experience the outdoors is not to be sniffed at.

This playpen from ToysOpoly – intended primarily for outdoor use – provides your cat with an open and risk-free environment (it is BPA-safe and lead-safe, third-party tested and certified non-toxic). It’s durable and waterproof, and easy to assemble, popping up in seconds upon removal from its packaging.

Fill it up with some toys and it’s perfect for a few hours in the garden or on the balcony on a nice sunny day. What’s more, if you’re confident that your cat won’t attempt a leapfrog, you can unzip the roof, allowing them to bask in the sun.

Inevitably, considering the relatively low price, some parts are susceptible to breaking. The zips are particularly flimsy, with some customers reporting these breaking. Like the rest of the material on this product, it seems that more care and attention than usual is required when handling this.

While it might not necessarily have the longest lifespan, you definitely get what you pay for – a safe and open environment for your cat to play around in, allowing them to experience the outside world at a safe distance.

How to choose the best outdoor cat enclosure

Outdoor cat enclosures come in many forms, probably more than you previously imagined. With this in mind, you’ll need to think carefully about what exactly you require from one. For us, the primary considerations to bear in mind are:

What is your budget?
These products range from easily affordable to quite substantial financial outlays. If you can afford it then great, but don’t pay more than you can afford.

What do you have room for?
Can you physically fit it in your outdoor space? Do you have a whole garden or a balcony? Choose accordingly.

Is it pet safe?
This is why it pays to purchase products from recognized manufacturers, and not retailers with no reviews online. Some things are worth taking a punt on, but not the health and safety of your furry friends.

What are the return policies?
Some cats take time to adjust to outdoor enclosures. Some just plain dislike them altogether. Rather than persisting and making your cat uncomfortable, have your exit route planned should they not take to it.

What does it come with?
Would you like a kennel included, or are you going to customize it yourself? Keep an eye on what is included.

Steve writes and proofreads buying guides, news stories and advice for Pets Radar, drawing on his lifelong experience as a pet owner. Currently sharing his house with two cats and a dog, he draws on the many highs and occasional lows of pet ownership he has borne witness to in his writing. He has worked in publishing for 15 years as an editor, sub editor and writer on a range of titles, such as SciFiNow, How It Works, All About History, Real Crime and Horrorville. You can follow him on Twitter @stevewright22