Build a free-standing cat / dog / pet gate with virtually no tools
Cats and pet gates
I've got two cats. One of them enjoys peeing on beds (he's healthy... he's just kind of a jerk), so I do not want the cats in my bedroom. However, my windowless bathroom is attached to my bedroom, which means when I take a shower, the humidity rises in my room. Or, in winter, the heat doesn't get into my room and the temperatures are sub-Arctic at night. I just want to leave the bedroom door open, darnit!
I needed a pet gate, but let's face it, cats can jump over most of them. The really tall specialty ones cost a fortune. I could make one myself following some internet directions except that I have no tool skills whatsoever. I live in constant fear of removing my own finger accidentally with a screwdriver. I am a low-skill DIY (do it yourself) type of gal.
So, I thought and thought and thought, and I finally came up with a great idea. Below, you will find directions for a freestanding cat / dog gate you can make of any height, using only scissors (and possibly a hammer if needed) as far as tools go.
I will also include directions on how to attach the gate to your wall in a way that is easily removed (by you, not by the cats)in case you don't want the cat-gate look for a while. Attaching the gate to the wall is useful in case your cats are particularly stubborn or you have a very tall gate that needs stabilizing.
Read on, my clever, cat-foiling friends!
What you'll need
For a free-standing gate, you will need:
- Three wire shelves (as pictured to the right); the length should be how tall you want to gate to stand - you can get them cut to size at Home Depot - mine are a standard, pre-cut 4' - preferably with a lip no wider than an inch; 16" width
- Zip ties / cable ties in a corresponding color
If you want a non-permanent way to attach the gate to your wall, you will need
- anywhere from 2-6 hook and eye latches (see directions below)
- a hammer and nail (not necessary, but helpful)
Cable / Zip Ties
Visit a home improvement store
At most home improvement stores, such as Menard's or Home Depot, you can find wire shelving such as I have shown above. I got the 4' pre-cut ones. They were roughly $4.50 a piece at Home Depot. I think they were 16" wide. This would be the preferred width for this application.
If your cats are climbers or high jumpers, you can get longer pieces of shelving. You will need to ask a sales associate to cut it to the height you'd like to use.
I got cable ties in a clear color, not the super-skinny ones, 100 lb. tested. They are pictured here to the right.
Connect the long sides of the shelves
Put two of the shelves together side-by-side the long way. Attach the long sides together at the very ends and middle using the cable ties. If there is a lip on the side you are attaching, attach the cable ties to the end of the lip.
Tighten the cable ties until they are tight enough to hold the shelves together steadily, but loose enough to serve as a hinge. Clip off the leftover cable tie tails with the scissors.
Next, attach the last shelf the same way. You should now have a 3-part hinged gate that will stand by itself.
You're now done with the free-standing gate
If you're making a free-standing gate, that's it. You're done! You can now wedge it in your doorway, and watch the cats try to ponder a million ways to get around it. There are several different ways you can jam it in your doorway to prevent the cats from opening it.
I hung a large jingle bell at the top, so that I can hear the cats if they decide to try to get through it.
If your cats start jumping, climbing, or pulling on it, you will want to use hook and eye latches to keep the gate from falling on your pets and potentially hurting them.
Read on for further directions!
Non-permanent wall attachment
To attach your gate to the wall in a way that is easily removable, follow these steps.
- Open the gate so it is wider than the door and so the sides rest against the door frame or the wall, as pictured to the right.
- Figure out where to put the hook and eye along the shelf side. If your cat wants to pull at the bottom of the gate, put the hook and eye in the wall toward the bottom. If he tries to climb, put the hook and eye toward the middle or higher. Doing this will keep it from flipping / falling over and crushing the cat. You may want to put two hooks on each side for added safety. You could go up to three.
- Using the hammer and nail if needed, make a tiny hole in the wall to attach the hook part of the hook and eye. Screw the hook-holding part into the wall. You will not need the eye part.
- Put the hook so it it right next to edge of the shelf, as in the illustration. Take a cable tie and wrap it around the hook and the edge of the shelf, as pictured. Tighten snugly, but not too tightly. Cut off the end. You now have a loop in which you can place the hook to hold your gate against the wall. Lifting the hooks out of the cable tie loops will allow you to remove the gate.
Done and done!
Okay. You're finished. I suggest using this gate when you're home, and monitoring your pets carefully. I cannot be held responsible if your cats pull this on top of themselves and tragedy strikes. Actually, I can't really be held responsible for anything that might happen from using this gate. This is simply what has worked for me.
I've not needed to attach this to my wall, as my cats don't really bother it much. They're stubborn, but the few times they've tried to move it (pee-cat especially), the jingle bell has alerted me and I've gone after kitty with the scary water-bottle sprayer of terror.
Now, the kitties' interest in it is gone, my bedroom is well-aired out, and life is good. Hope someone else can make good use of it as well!