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How to Cat Proof a Fence

5 min read

A cat looking up while perched on a wall

Your cat stares out the window, longing for the outdoors. But you worry he’ll break loose from your yard and run into a busy street, get lost, or encounter some other danger.

If you have a cat, you know two things: One, you’ll do anything to keep them safe, and, two, they’re determined to break out of just about any enclosure you try to put them in. Fortunately, it is possible to let your cat explore the outside world from the safety of your yard with a cat-proof fence.

If you have an existing fence, it only takes a few modifications. Or, if you’re starting from scratch, installing a safe, kitty-friendly enclosure is easier than you might expect. Here’s how to make a fence cat-proof.

Use Vinyl

Vinyl is a great choice to make a fence cat-proof. Cats have difficulties climbing vinyl privacy fences because they can’t grip the material with their claws. Make sure you opt for the privacy fence style as spaced picket fencing leaves too large of gaps—your cat will sneak right through. And if possible, a height of six feet or taller is best for cats.

While vinyl fencing is a smart choice for a new installation, if you already have a fence made from a different material, removing it and replacing it may be cost-prohibitive. For properties that already have a fence, there are still ways to cat-proof it.

Add Height

You’re probably well aware of just how agile cats can be. Even a six-foot wooden fence is no barrier at all to a determined cat. Athletic cats will climb anything they can sink their claws into, so at first it might seem pointless to simply make your fence taller. There’s a trick, however, to adding height that actually cat-proofs your fence.

It’s all about the angle. Cats don’t mind being vertical, but most don’t like hanging upside down. Add an extension to your fence that slopes inward toward your yard. The feeling of hanging upside down will deter most cats from wanting to climb over the ledge, so long as it is also out of reach for them to jump on top of.

The easiest way to add height and make your fence cat-proof is with a cat fence extender kit. This solution will not only add up to three feet of height to your existing fence, but it also includes the added security of an angled spring-loaded arm on top. For the escape-artist cat who might not be totally deterred by the angle alone, this system includes a drop-motion that imitates the feeling of falling and triggers a cat’s instinct to land on its feet. These kits can extend short fences and make a much safer environment for your cat to explore.

A cat walking in the grass

Add a Fence Topper

If your fence is already tall to the point where adding an extension is not necessary, or would detract from its visual appeal, a fence topper can add a layer of protection. Toppers allow you to cat-proof a fence quickly and easily.

The difference between a topper and a true fence extension is that toppers are designed to be installed on a fence that is already tall enough that your cat cannot simply jump on or over it. They must be forced to climb to escape. You can build a small ledge with wooden boards or use mesh or chicken wire attached to brackets. The idea is similar—if cats have to hang upside down or they encounter a material that won’t hold their weight, they will give up on their breakout attempts.

A system with a spring-loaded extension arm adds another level of protection. While cats don’t generally care to hang upside down, you might find that some cats are persistent. The drop-motion of the spring-loaded arm makes the cat feel as if they are falling (with their back to the ground!) and in true cat fashion, they want to land on their feet. So, they must let go of the fence topper to land safely below.

Close Any Gaps

Don’t forget about the bottom of the fence. Although cats do not dig quite as aggressively as dogs, they will still play around in loose dirt, and they certainly will discover any low spots in the yard where they can crawl under a fence. It does not have to be a big hole. If your cat’s head fits into an opening, their body probably will too.

Taking the time to close as many gaps as possible is a great way to cat-proof your fence by making it harder for your adventurous kitty to escape. This can be especially challenging with chain-link fences because the bottom often does not sit flush with the ground. 

Consider adding some landscaping elements such as paver stones along the bottom perimeter to prevent any digging. Alternatively, a fence bottom barrier can make a fence cat-proof as it keeps them from slipping through any holes in the bottom.

Trim Your Trees

Sometimes the fence itself is not the problem. If a cat has the option to climb a nearby tree, walk out on a limb, and jump over a fence, she may decide to explore. What’s worse is knowing that she may not be able to get back to your yard the same way.

Considering your tree-branch overhang is an important step to cat-proof a fence. Trim back branches or install a tree guard to keep your cat from venturing too high.

Refocus Your Cat’s Attention

A cat is less likely to attempt climbing over a fence if she has another area of the yard to explore. Cushioned lawn furniture in the sun, cat toys on the back porch, or even an outdoor cat tree will draw your cat’s attention and keep them occupied as they roam.

Eventually, cats do look for new challenges, so unless you are intentional about redesigning the kitty play area on a regular basis, your cat will test the boundaries and attempt to climb over your fence. The best long-term solution is to create a fully secured cat enclosure. 

Consult with an Expert

If you want your cat to enjoy your outdoor space without roaming too far, consult with a pet fencing engineer. Here’s how an expert can help make a fence cat-proof.

First, not all fences are the same, so cat-proofing options for fencing aren’t going to be one-size-fits-all. If you are struggling to figure out how to effectively cat-proof your fence, an expert can advise you about which conversion kit or methods will be the most effective. 

Purrfect Fence is the industry leader in cat-proof fencing solutions. Our patented designs keep pets secure and owners happy. All of our products are covered under warranty and come with easy DIY instructions. Call us today at 888-280-4066 to speak with a planning engineer about how to make your fence cat-proof.