How to Turn My Porch Into a Cat Enclosure


A cat enclosure, also known as a "catio," lets your pet experience the outdoors without having to worry about it running away or getting hurt. Cats love space to run, jump and climb as well as an area with access to sunlight to lay. An enclosure for your cats can be as simple as a screened-in porch or as elaborate as a cat door leading to tunnels and a large freestanding structure. Once you have chosen a space for your catio, it is time to get building and make your cat its own outdoor space.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Plastic lattice
  • 3/8-inch sisal rope
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • For porch without a roof:
  • Garden net
  • Fishing line
  • 16 gauge wire
  • 7-foot garden poles
  • Staples and a staple gun
  • Pliers
  • Scissors

Porch with a Roof

  • Measure the distance around the porch. Divide that distance in feet by 4 to determine the amount of lattice panels you need for your porch.

  • Wrap some or all of the posts with the sisal rope to give the cats something to scratch and climb. If you do not wrap the posts, the cats will still scratch them and you may have to take the lattice down to wrap them later.

  • Attach the lattice to the porch with nails. Start with the lattice flush against the house and nail the lattice tightly against the porch. Plastic lattice is flimsy, so it should be secured every 3 inches to the posts. Make sure that the lattice covers from the bottom of the roof to the top of the deck.

Porch without a Roof

  • Construct a cat-proof fence if your porch does not have a roof. Unroll the garden net and measure to 69-inches wide.

  • Put two staples into the pointed end of the garden posts with the staples sticking up slightly from the posts. This will be used to thread fishing line and secure the netting.

  • Secure the posts to the railing of the porch, with the pointed ends up by wrapping a 4-foot piece of wire around the end of the post beginning in the middle of the wire and leaving a tail on each side. After wrapping around the post several times, put the post on the railing and wrap the wire around the railing. Secure the ends of the wire and cut any excess. Repeat with the rest of the posts keeping them about 5 to 10 feet apart.

  • Attach the netting to the top of the garden poles with small pieces of wire. Thread the wire through the staple and the netting, and twist the wire with pliers so the netting is firmly attached.

  • Pull the netting to the next post and repeat all the way around. Use the fishing line to weave in and out of the netting and wrap around the posts, where two pieces of the netting join and between the posts along the top. Tie the fishing line in place and cut the excess with scissors.

  • Place the lattice on the outside of the railing and hammer into place with nails. Lattice comes as a rectangular piece, so place the lattice against the house on the short side. This will cover the slats in the railing and keep the cats from being able to escape. Continue adding lattice, butting each end to the next and attaching with nails.

Tips & Warnings

  • Regular sized lattice will have holes that a kitten can crawl through. If you have kittens, get the smaller sized lattice.
  • For porches without a roof, the lattice will block the railings and the cat-proof fence will keep them from climbing out.

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