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All About Cat Runs: Options, Considerations, & Best Practices

3 min read

All About Cat Runs: Options, Considerations, & Best Practices

Cat runs are an increasingly popular option for pet owners who want to enrich their cat's life by giving them access to the sights, sounds, textures, and smells of outdoor space. Cats, like humans, dogs, and many other animals enjoy the stimulation of the outdoors. 

Also referred to as catio, cat enclosure, cat kennels among other names, there are even more options than there are names for them! Since your internet search has likely brought you here, it is likely that you are in the middle of your research to find the best option for you. The remainder of this article will try to help with that.

Cat Run Options

  1. Design and Build Your Own Cat Run

This is a commonly selected option for those who have the skills or the confidence (or both) to take on such a challenge. This generally involves using raw materials purchased at home improvement stores. Then making either a design that was discovered online or attempting to replicate a more formally engineered solution from the commercial options available.

These options generally are one of the following:

  • Fully enclosed enclosure made from wood framing with welded wire covering. Example plan here.
  • Modified existing fencing with PVC rollers, arching arms, or a variation of each of these. Example here.

For the right person with the right skills and budget, these can be wonderfully successful. The issue is the majority of people who attempt this do not see great results due to the difficulty of building durable solutions for outdoors. Also, and maybe more importantly, cats tend to be extremely athletic, clever, and persistent and will exploit even the smallest mistake that you make. Unfortunately, mistakes can often lead to escapes.

Expected Cost: $500-5000

Expected Time Commitment: 16-40 hours


  1. Contractor Design and Build Cat Run

 A popular option for those with a higher than average budget is to hire a local contractor to design and build your cat run to suit. If you can find a competent and experienced cat run builder this can be a great option. The options often are on the higher range of pricing due to both the cost of design, materials, and labor involved in the process. Professionals that offer these services are usually in high demand. Cat runs created by contractors often also require significant amounts of maintenance since they are most commonly constructed from wood. A great example of a specialized builder in central Texas.

Expected Cost: $1500-10000+

Expected Time Commitment: 1-6 hours


  1. Commercial Do It Yourself Cat Run

This option takes a lot of the guesswork and confusion around the design and material selection of your cat run. There are many different companies that offer various solutions. Some are based on the idea of open-air fencing barrier such as Purrfect Fence, while others rely on the fully enclosed catio style enclosures like those offered by Habitat Haven. Be sure to check out the tunnels and towers.

These options can be installed by the homeowner or a local handyman can be hired for assembly. This option tends to be the most economical option overall considering the level of durability and effectiveness of these systems. 

Expected Cost: $500-5000

Expected Time Commitment: 2-6 hours


Regardless of the cat run option that will work for you, it is important to ensure you are fully comfortable with its level of safety, effectiveness, and cost. You also should find out what it will take to properly fit the cat run to your situation. It certainly helps to carefully review the various options and talk to as many experts on the subject as possible.

Ready to work with the world-renowned experts at Purrfect Fence to see if our cat runs will work for you? We would be happy to consult with you via email or phone. We think you will be pleasantly surprised how helpful we can be! Contact us here.



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