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What Cat-Proof Fence is Best for My Cat?

9 min read

What Cat-Proof Fence is Best for My Cat?

What is the best cat fence for my cat?

Researching pet fencing options and figuring out which fence is perfect for your furry family members can be a daunting task. There are a variety of cat-proof fence options that cater to specific needs and landscapes - from DIY tutorials to in-depth professional planning assistance. However, the best cat fence for your cat truly depends on the space and the lifestyle that you’d like to create for your pet (and don’t forget to take their escape abilities into consideration)!

Ultimately, the choice to install a cat-proof fence or enclosure accomplishes two main goals:

  1. It allows your cat to enjoy the outdoors and prevents them from escaping. Many veterinarians highlight increased exercise, mental stimulation, and contentment as reasons to allow your cat outdoor access. Also, experts argue letting your cat spend time outdoors substantially improves their quality of life and reduces bad behavior such as indoor urination or fighting with other pets. A fenced area for your cat keeps them safe from roads and unsafe areas, and prevents them from wandering off and getting lost or encountering unfriendly wildlife. While the health benefits of a safe outdoor space for cats are fairly well documented, there are other safety issues to keep in mind for free-roaming outdoor cats.

  2. A cat fence keeps your cat safe from other animals - both wild and domesticated. There are advantages to outdoor access for your cat, as well as threats to their health and well-being if it is allowed to free-roam outside. This is especially true for declawed cats or those who have lived most of their lives indoors. First and foremost, creating a safe outdoor space for your cat limits their interaction with unfamiliar animals. A physical cat fence barrier can also deter critters such as coyotes, foxes, and other predator animals from easily accessing your cats outdoor area to keep your pet much safer. Other domesticated and non-domesticated animals may also carry life threatening illnesses that can be transmitted to your cat.

Fortunately, a well-built cat-proof enclosure not only prevents escapes and offers your cat all of the benefits of outdoor living, but it also deters unfriendly wildlife and neighboring pets from harming your beloved pet.

The risks of outdoor access for your cat

striped gray cat stretching along a wall

Speaking of protecting your furry family member, below is the story of Ellen, Jason, and their cat Benni, who made an expensive mistake when he suddenly was offered unfettered outdoor access…

Ellen and Jason live in a cute little neighborhood in Colorado just outside of Denver. One day Ellen came home with a surprise! It was Jason’s dream pet - an adorable Bengal kitten. They named him Benni the Bengal and immediately fell in love. Perhaps you recognize yourself in this story - who can help but to fall in love with a kitten?

As Benni grew older (and considerably larger), he got bored of roaming around the couple’s one bedroom home. Benni cried and tore at the furniture, no matter how many toys they gave him, and Ellen and Jason couldn’t seem to cure his restlessness. Benni’s incessant meowing kept them up at night. Though they were exhausted, they still loved Benni and didn’t know what to do. Finally, the couple decided to let Benni outside!

They were hesitant at first. Benni was a highly sought after breed and they worried he might get stolen; or injured by another animal; hit by a car; or even eaten by a coyote. They attached a leash to Benni and let him out. He was shy, but over time, he became bolder. For a few weeks, with his new routine and increased exercise, Benni stopped meowing as much. But Ellen and Jason could only let him out when they were home and they soon found that he was constantly howling to get out.

They reluctantly allowed him free roam outdoors. They bought Benni a GPS tracker and let him out. Benni always came home at dinner time and everything was working out fine. Benni was happy and Ellen and Jason could sleep again! Until one night, Benni came home with a severe welt and puncture on his hind quarter. He’d been bitten by another animal! Ellen and Jason rushed him to the emergency vet. After a few days, Benni did come home with a cone and pain medication, but was otherwise happy and the couple settled up their $7,000 vet bills. That’s when they decided to find a safer and more affordable compromise - a cat-proof enclosure for their backyard.  

Cat-proof fences come in a variety of forms  

Selecting the best cat-proof enclosure for your pet may feel overwhelming, as there are several options to choose from. Some solutions create fully-enclosed spaces, while others provide a more natural space that gives your cat that “free-roam” feel. There are options that can secure to an existing fence and options which create a brand new fence line. You may even use a combination that best suits your unique yard!

How do I start planning my cat-proof fence?

The best place to start is to assess your space to determine the best type of cat enclosure solution that works for your yard. It is also important to consider your cat's needs. Some important questions you can ask yourself are:

  • How much space do I have?
  • How much space does my cat require?
  • Are there any obstacles in my space that might be difficult to work around or create escape opportunities for my cat?
  • Will I need a fully-enclosed structure (such as a catio) or something more spacious and “open air” (such as a fencing solution)? Or a combination of both?
  • Do I have an existing fence that I can utilize or will I need to create a new fence line from the ground up? Or a combination of both?

Once you have a better understanding of your needs, it is easier to narrow down your options for cat containment.

How do I find a cat fence?

The first place that so many of us turn to is the internet. A quick search may bring up a wide range of options and ideas for creating something completely DIY or hiring a certified fencing contractor and everything in-between. So, how do you get started? What is the safest option and where is the most value? Below, explains the pros and cons of each option.

Complete the entire project yourself from design to installation.The local hardware store has almost everything needed for the handiest homeowner. The pros of DIY include creating your own cat-proof structure that can be customized to your liking. The cons are that you will need to source all of the individual pieces and materials that are not necessarily designed for the purpose of cat containment. This often results in a solution which lacks durability, has safety flaws, and may not have a visually appealing finish.

Hire a fencing contractor. Fencing contractors can be expensive, busy, and typically are less familiar with cat-specific containment. Most contractors, while experienced builders, lack expertise in cat-proofing a backyard. If they are able to design a cat fence solution, there’s no guarantee what they design and install will actually address the problem as they are not specialists. This process could result in an expensive solution which does not address your needs.

Purchase from a proven cat fencing brand. Cat fencing brands have products designed specifically for the purpose of keeping your cat safely contained. These brands have thoroughly vetted, tested, and assembled the hundreds of components needed for an effective solution. They can customize a wide variety of options, save you the time of hobbling together a makeshift solution and typically cost less than hiring a fencing contractor. 

What fence is best for my cat?

purrfect fence free standing kit in large yard

Now that you’ve determined your needs and chosen to create a safe outdoor cat-proof enclosure, you are probably wondering what the best cat fence is for your pet and backyard. Cats are athletic, smart, and extremely capable climbers. All cats are different. While some may see the new cat fence and never attempt to beat it, others may truly put the fence to the test. It is important to find a cat fence that will effectively withstand repeated testing and continue to keep them safely contained in your yard. In your search, it’s possible you’ve seen all types of solutions from angled fence extensions to fence-toppers. 

The time-tested, most effective solution in cat containment is a spring-loaded fence extension like those available from Purrfect Fence. While other solutions may work for some cats, a spring-loaded arm cat fence system is proven to contain 99.9% of all domestic cats when installed correctly.

With a variety of cat fence solutions available, Purrfect Fence offers excellent cat-proofing options for nearly every backyard:

Cat-proof an existing backyard fence with a fence conversion modification kit:

purrfect fence conversion system on wood fence

A traditional backyard fence - even those as high as 6 feet (or taller!) - rarely keep cats from going over. But cat-proofing your existing fence is possible. The solution for preventing a cat from climbing over an existing fence can be as simple as adding a cat-proof fence topper. Cat-proof fence toppers such as the Existing Fence Conversion System attach directly to your fence.

The keys to a functional cat-proof fence topper are two-fold:

  1. The height of the system. A cat fence topper or existing fence extension system should be mounted at an appropriate height so a cat cannot simply jump on top of the fence topper, or right over it. For most domestic house cats, the recommended height of a cat fence topper is at least 6 feet, although higher is recommended for particularly large or athletic cats. 

  2. The angle of the extension and fence material used. In order for the cat fence topper to be effective, the angle of the extension should be sufficient to make it challenging for the cat to scale. The addition of the spring-action in the Purrfect Fence cat arm provides an extra advantage for preventing escapes. If a cat attempts to escape over a spring-loaded cat arm, the arm drops which replicates the feeling of falling. A cat instinctually wants to land on its feet, so it must let go of the fence in order to turn over.

Of course, it is also important to consider whether there are trees or other structures near the perimeter of the fence that a cat could climb up in order to jump over the cat-proof fence topper. These types of obstacles may require additional cat-proofing or yard maintenance to ensure the entire area is secure.

Create an all new cat-proof fence from the ground up.

If you do not have an existing fence, or are not interested in modifying your fence with a cat-proof fence topper, a fantastic solution is a Freestanding Cat-Fence. Free standing cat-proof enclosures don’t require any existing fencing structure and provide all the benefits of an existing fence with a cat-proof fence topper. They also give you the flexibility to customize the shape of the free standing cat-proof fence to the area in your backyard which you are interested in dedicating as an outdoor space for your cat. A free standing fence structure can also keep cats away from potential escape aids such as trees, AC units, storage sheds, or other items that might allow for your cat to jump up and out.

Many people choose to enclose just a portion of the yard for their cat to ensure it is an escape-proof enclosure. It is even possible to utilize a combination of multiple systems so no matter your unique situation, a cat-proof perimeter can be established.

A final consideration for your cat fence…

While a cat-proof fence enclosure does an excellent job of keeping cats safely contained and away from dangerous threats such as coyotes and the neighbor's dog, it may not necessarily protect some wildlife from coming in contact with your cat. This could include predatory birds, such as hawks, or vulnerable birds who can be endangered by cats, such as songbirds. According to National Geographic, domestic cats account for 764 million non-natural bird deaths per year. 

Catios can be great alternatives to cat-proof fence enclosures as they are fully-enclosed rather than “open air” enclosures. Catios come in all shapes, sizes, and styles and can be built or installed nearly anywhere to match the aesthetic of your home, or blend in with the landscaping. Some premium catio providers, such as Habitat Haven, even provide assistance with planning, designing, and engineering your cat enclosure so that it suits your space. This type of cat containment solution provides a safe and controlled environment for your cat to access fresh air and interact with the outdoor world, while protecting vulnerable wildlife like songbirds.

Your Cat-Proof Fence

You and your cat may find outdoor time provides both of you with great value. Benni the Bengal was a happier cat when given the mental stimulation and exercise of outdoor access, which in turn meant more rest for his owners and better quality of life for everyone! 

Once you understand the benefits of incorporating outdoor time for your cat, the next step is to take a look at your backyard and determine how to provide a safe outdoor environment for them! 

So check your existing yard - do you already have a fence? If you already have a fence, are you interested in opening your entire yard to your cat, or would you prefer a cat-proof enclosure that gives your cat access to just a portion of your yard? Are there any obstacles that need to be considered? If you need assistance with planning a custom cat-proof fence, companies like Purrfect Fence exist to walk you step-by-step through designing the most secure cat-proof enclosure so you can rest easy with a proven solution to keeping your cat safe outdoors.