Create Your Own Cat enclosure, Page 1: Introduction, Fencing, Posts
Create Your Own Cat Enclosure: Introduction
Rather than buy a kit, or browse our catalog, or get a free quote, you've decided you'd like to assemble the parts for your cat fence (outdoor cat enclosure) with our guidance. So by all means let's do it. The short subsections in these pages are as follows:
Polypropylene and Metal Hexagrid Fence Rolls
6 and 7.5-foot Post Assemblies
Post Assemblies for Snow Protection (Optional)
Gear for Converting Walls and Ordinary Fences into Cat Fences (Optional)
Wall Mounts (Optional)
Hog Ring Staples (Optional)
Self-tapping Screws (Optional)
The pages in this section take you through all these items one by one, setting out your options and explaining what different sorts of fences need. Make selections as you go, placing the selected items in a shopping cart. When you are done you will have everything you need listed in the shopping cart. You can then make a purchase; or, if you aren't ready to buy yet, copy the shopping cart into Microsoft Word and save the file so that you can use it for planning.
Background on Fencing and Fence Height
The best choice for the upper reaches of your cat enclosure is standard polypropylene deer fencing. It’s affordable, effective, long-lived, widely used, and really good at containing cats. But at the bottom of the fence it’s vulnerable—not just to aggressive cats that might chew through its lower reaches to get out, but also to critters like rabbits, woodchucks, foxes, and coyotes that might chew through those same lower reaches to get in. So, to protect the enclosure and your cats, put a 2 or 3-foot width of metal hexagrid fencing around the bottom. This is black low-visibility fencing like the poly, but it’s much stronger than the poly and stops would-be chewers cold.
At this point you face a choice. You can plan for a 6-foot cat fence with extender arms, in which case a 6-foot width of poly and a 3-foot width of metal hex will overlap enough so that if you like you can even fold out about a foot of metal hexagrid at the bottom to deter digging. This digging barrier gets heavily staked down, allowing your lawnmower to run right over it; so, if digging is an issue, it adds a really nice feature to your fence.
But at places this 6-foot fence is less than 6 feet tall. Notably, the extender arms first rise and then fall; so that the end pointing inward winds up with a height of about 5 feet 6 inches. If this is acceptable, fine. If not, you may choose to create a 7.5-foot cat fence. If you don’t need a digging barrier, this 7.5-foot fence costs just about the same as the 6-footer. That’s because you can start at the tips of the extender arms with your 6-foot poly fencing, overlap the poly with the 2 or 3-foot metal hex, and still have enough metal hexagrid material to reach the bottom of the fence.
Should you want a 7.5-foot fence with a digging barrier, you’ll need more fencing; but we have a sound and very cost-effective answer. Instead of getting wider metal hexagrid fencing, save money by getting 7.5-foot poly fencing. This allows you to add the digging barrier to your fence for very little cost.
Available Fence Rolls
Both the 6 and 7.5-foot poly fencing come in rolls of 100 and 330 feet, and the 2-foot metal hexagrid comes in both 100 and 150-foot rolls, while the 3-foot metal hexagrid fencing comes only in 150-foot rolls. Get enough of both the poly and the metal hex for each to go all around the fence perimeter (including across gate openings). Allow an extra 5 feet (more if the fence is long) for cutting and overlapping the fencing at corners, grade changes, and such.
Our two main posts systems for cat fencing follow the same plan. First comes a sleeve that gets driven into the ground with a drive cap and sledge hammer. Then comes the vertical post (either 73 or 86 inches long, depending on whether the fence will be 6 or 7.5 feet tall) that gets inserted 2 feet down into the drive sleeve. This round metal post, 1-3/8 inches in diameter, is galvanized and coated with black pvc in a manner calculated to make it last just about forever. The last few upper inches of this post narrow to form a male end, onto which the extender arm fits. The extender arm (round, black, and pvc-coated, and about 4 feet long) projects upward for about 18 inches and then downward at an angle, projecting about 2 feet into the enclosure. When topped with fencing, this extender arm creates a complete arch that cannot be navigated without climbing upside down. And since cats won’t do that they stay inside. To keep out rainwater, the extender arm’s opening is capped with a so-called “rail end” that terminates in a small round hole, and this rail end is attached to the extender arm with a self-tapping screw.
To find out how many of these post assemblies you need, draw a rough layout of the fence. Mark each corner, gate, and end—an end being a place where your fence will butt up against a building, wall, or other fence. Then get one post assembly for each corner, end, and gate. (Yes, that’s right, you will need one post assembly for each gate in addition to the gate itself). Then, for each side or curve where the distance exceeds 15 feet, get enough post assemblies to space them roughly 15 feet apart or less all along the fence.
The specific type of post assembly to get will depend on whether you want a 6-foot tall cat fence (with or without snow protection, see below) or a 7.5-foot tall cat fence without snow protection. In the former case get the 6-foot post assembly, and in the latter case get the 7.5-foot assembly.
There is a third type of post assembly providing snow protection for cat fences in snowy places (typically areas averaging 20-plus inches of snow a year). This assembly, which costs a lot less than the assemblies with extender arms, consists of a drive sleeve; a straight 1-3/8 x 84-inch post that goes 2 feet into the sleeve; a cap or “rail end” with a projecting hole that goes atop the post and gets secured with a self-tapping screw; and a nut, bolt, and washer that bolt the end of this assembly to the end of the arched post assembly for a 6-foot cat fence. No snow protection is available for 7.5-foot fences.
A cat fence without this snow protection is vulnerable to snow in very much the same way that an arched hotel awning running out to the street would be weak if all or nearly all the support posts on one side were removed. With the snow protection posts in place, the cat fence is much stronger and better able to resist the onslaught of any snow. Get one of these snow protection post assemblies to go with each of your regular arched 6-foot post assemblies. Then get one additional snow protection post assembly for each gate, so that you will have TWO of these snow protection post assembles for each gate.
To make the wooden side wall of a building, a 6-foot wooden fence, or any 6-foot fence with metal posts into a cat fence you need only the following parts: Poly fencing 4 feet wide; one extender arm every 10 feet or 1 for every wooden or metal fence post; one cap (rail end) with a self-tapping screw to go on the inward-pointing end of each extender arm; wall mounts (2 per extender arm) if attaching the arms to wooden boards or a wood wall; suitable screws or nuts and bolts obtained locally (2 per extender arm) for fastening the wall mounts or extender arms to the wood siding, wood boards, or posts; and zip-lock ties (4 or 5 per extender arm) for attaching the fencing to the arms.