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Best outdoor cat enclosure: Let your kitty experience the outside world in safety

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

An outdoor cat enclosure is the purrfect way to give your kitty access to the great outdoors in a secure way. While some cats are natural nature lovers, furkids that spend a lot of time indoors will benefit from being a little more protected, and it's great peace of mind for you too - no more worrying about traffic or predators.

Outdoor cat enclosures didn't use to be all that popular, but things have changed in recent years as more pet parents seek to find ways to let their furbabies roam free in a safe way. It's the ideal compromise if you're wanting to let your kitty soak up the sights and smells of the natural world while still being able to keep an eye on them.

It's important to find ways to entertain indoor cats and keep them stimulated, and giving them a taste of outdoor life is a great way to do that. If you have a particularly inquisitive and adventure-loving breed, like a Bengal, then you could also pick up one of the best cat harnesses and take them exploring with you. But for a cat who's more of a homebody than a hiker, a cat enclosure will let them enjoy the world without straying too far from their comfort zone.

Outdoor cat enclosures come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit any home or garden environment. Our round-up of the best outdoor cat enclosures below caters for everything from large multi-level structures to something snugger and smaller to suit the space you have available. And if you're looking for something that isn't permanent, and is easy to disassemble or move around, we've got you covered too.

PetsRadar's pick of the best outdoor cat enclosures

  • Best overall outdoor cat enclosure: PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Cat House
  • Best budget outdoor cat enclosure: Outback Jack Outdoor Cat Enclosures For Indoor Cats
  • Best all-in-one cat enclosure: COZIWOW Large Wooden Outdoor Pet Cat Dog Enclosure Catio Cage with 6 Platforms
  • Best indoor and outdoor cat enclosure: PawHut Large Mesh Cat House Kitty Indoor/Outdoor Rest Space
  • Best combination outdoor cat enclosure: PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Cat House
  • Best outdoor cat enclosure for your balcony: AmazonBasics Large 3-Tier Cat Cage Playpen Box Crate Kennel
  • Best portable outdoor cat enclosure: ToysOpoly #1 Premium Pet Playpen

PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Cat House

(Image credit: Amazon)

PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Cat House

Best overall outdoor cat enclosure

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

Escape-proof
Durable wood and wire design
Weatherproof
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

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

Simple to assemble
Portable
Fits a balcony/small garden
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.

best outdoor cat enclosures

(Image credit: Amazon)

COZIWOW Large Wooden Outdoor Pet Cat Dog Enclosure Catio Cage with 6 Platforms

Best for needing no additions

Measurements (inches): 66.5 x 34.6 x 71 | Weight (pounds): 94 | Materials: Fir wood, asphalt, iron wire

Durable and pet-friendly material
Room protects from elements
Plenty of platforms
Some complaints about quality of parts

There are a number of similar-looking offerings available across Amazon and eBay, but this product from COZIWOW takes our fancy for a number of reasons.

First, it seems to have everything your cat needs. You’ll be fully aware of how much they love attempting to jump onto surfaces they shouldn’t be able to reach. Here, they can challenge themselves in a safer environment.

It looks satisfyingly secure. The pinewood frame is sturdy and sealed together with pet-friendly materials. The seller offers 100% quality assurance for the first year, which should put your mind at rest. While this is described as weatherproof and no maintenance instructions are given, we’d still recommend giving this a waterproof varnish every couple of years or so. Alternatively, if you don’t like the color, you can just paint it.

Reports on assembly vary. While the majority of reviews don’t describe any issues, a few report not all the pieces of wood being pre-drilled as advertised. Even so, delivery seems to be pretty efficient, with everything contained within two parcels. Considering the size of it, that seems quite the achievement.

All in all, this is another sturdy outdoor enclosure option that is both sturdier than a lot of other offerings, while simultaneously cheaper than a lot of others. If Omlet’s products are a bit too expensive for your liking, and you are not averse to occasional maintenance, then this could be worth purchasing.

Outdoor and indoor mesh and steel cat enclosure from Pawhut

(Image credit: Amazon)

PawHut Large Mesh Cat House Kitty Indoor/Outdoor Rest Space

Best indoor and outdoor cat enclosure

Measurements (inches): 76.75 x 38.5 x 38.5 | Weight (pounds): 26 | Materials: Metal, Oxford Cloth, Nylon Mesh

Works indoors and outdoors
Two zippable doors for easy access
Includes 2 hammocks
Not collapsible
Too large to be easily portable
Needs a flat surface

If you are worried that your cat may not like being put into a space it's not used to, this Pawhut cat enclosure designed for both indoors and outdoors use could be what you are looking for. If you have the room to build it indoors, your kitty can get acclimatised to it in their normal surroundings before you move it to the outside world.

Built from a solid metal frame interspersed with a see-through breathable nylon mesh, it's a great way to let the sounds and smells of the outdoor world in, while keeping your cat safe. A word of caution though, you need a flat surface to put it on to ensure your cat can't get out from underneath it. It's pretty large, so it's unlikely your cat will be able to tip it over, but an uneven surface will offer means of escape. Owners of cats that are hairy Houdinis have also suggested adding cable ties as well as the hooks to ensure the mesh is properly secured, but most users have not have a problem with this.

The Pawhut kitty house has two doors that allow for easy access – and mean you can get to your cat if it has decided it isn't quite ready to come indoors yet. It also comes with two built-in hammocks that are perfect for your cat (or cats) to lounge in while watching the world go by. Add a few toys to entertain them while they are enjoying the sun on their faces and your cats will be in outdoor heaven.

best outdoor cat enclosures

(Image credit: Amazon)

PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Cat House

Best combination outdoor cat enclosure

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

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

 

best outdoor cat enclosures

(Image credit: Amazon)

AmazonBasics Large 3-Tier Cat Cage Playpen Box Crate Kennel

Best to keep on the balcony

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

Easily portable
Fits in small spaces
Requires minimal measurements
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

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

Lightweight and portable
Relatively affordable
No assembly required
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 Wright

Steve has combined editing and writing for publications like SciFiNow, How It Works and All About History with being a doormat to various cats and dogs. He lodges with two moggies called Giles and Willow, and will be told off if he doesn't mention his girlfriend's magnificent pooch, Toby.