How to Choose the Right Outdoor Cat Enclosure: Tents and More

Updated on July 19, 2019
Simone Smith profile image

Simone likes cats and enjoys learning about ways to keep them happy, healthy, and safe.

Cats enjoy being outside, whether we want them outdoors or not. When forced to be inside exclusively, many cats will find ways to sneak out. But, when let out all the time, cats are more likely to bring back birds and rodents, get in fights, and possibly get stolen, run-over, or otherwise abused. Fortunately, there is a happy medium available that allows cats to enjoy the great outdoors while also staying within your backyard. Welcome, my friend, to the world of outdoor cat enclosures.

Outdoor cat enclosures, and various other types of cages, fencing, and backyard systems, are designed to offer a safe, controlled place for your cat to be outside, enjoy the fresh air, and watch the birds go by. Below, I'll walk you through the various types of outdoor cat enclosures and give you some tips on choosing your own.

Miao! I want to go outside!
Miao! I want to go outside! | Source

Types of Outdoor Cat Enclosures

An outdoor cat enclosure can be pretty much anything you want it to be—it can be large or small, custom or generic, built by someone else or designed by yourself.

There are some major classifications of outdoor cat enclosures that are available to the masses, however. These types include:

  • Cat tents
  • Netted cat enclosures
  • Multilevel, prefabricated cat cages
  • Wall-hugging cat enclosures
  • Freestanding cat cages

I'll describe them in greater detail below.

Cat Tents

Netted outdoor cat enclosures are the most portable forms of cat enclosures - they're easy to fold, pack up, and take on the go, and they also do not take up much space.

Sometimes called "cat enclosure tents," these enclosures are ideal for those who do not want to set up permanent structures outside their houses, want to be able to move the enclosures around easily, or are constrained by budget. They are also ideal for people who only own one cat, since these tents can get kind of crowded.

Cat enclosure tents are also ideal for apartment dwellers- they ar small enough to fit on a balcony and can be packed away so that one can still lounge on one's own balcony without having to share room with a huge cat cage.

A final use for cat enclosures involves travel - if you are on the move, currently moving, camping, or taking an extended roadtrip, and have no choice but to take your poor cat along, an outdoor cat enclosure would be a great thing to bring along, as it can allow your cat a bit more room to strut around.

The biggest downside to outdoor cat enclosures is that there is a chance that they could get blown by the wind, torn, or otherwise tampered with in such a way that the occupying cat may escape. Make sure you purchase one that is sturdy and has excellent customer reviews.

Netted Outdoor Cat Enclosures

Similar to cat tents, netted outdoor cat enclosures are easy to set up and move around, but are a bit less portable, and a bit more expensive.

The nice thing about these enclosures is that many are slightly larger than the average tent, they are easier to re-shape, and they also allow cats access to the ground, which means that they can easily... ahem... use the restroom and gnaw on grass as they please.

Because many of these netted cat enclosures require sticking stakes into the ground, they are not best for apartment dwellers, or anyone who has a pristine lawn he or she may want to protect. They are also not ideal for people with pavement backyards or backyards with terrain that is generally not amenable to steaks.

Fun note: Some of these netted cat enclosures are sold as modules, so you can buy as many as you like and create entire networks of kitty tunnels in your backyard.  How fun is that??

Multi-Layered Cat Enclosures

If you're a big fan of multi-level cat trees and kitty condos, you'll probably want a cat enclosure that fuses these styles with outdoor cat cages.

One of the most popular cat-tree-outdoor-enclosure hybrids is the Kittywalk Systems Cat Tepee - it is a bit more pricey than the basic foldable cat tent, and is MUCH less portable, but when compared to other more permanent cat cages, it looks cooler and can certainly add a whimsical element to your backyard.

These enclosures are ideal for those who want a fun-looking cage in their backyards - something with a bit of flare, either in the form of cute awnings or a creative shape. 

Wall-Hugging Cat Cages

If you want your feline friend to be able to go out of doors as he or she pleases, with or without your assistance and supervision, you may consider getting an outdoor cat cage that hugs one of your back walls.

These cages can be attached to a cat door, so you cat can come and go whenever, and as they are set up along a wall of your home, they don't have to take up a lot of space.

These structures are meant to be permanent, which means that you will have to spend considerably more, and you may also have to assemble your own cage. That said, if you want to give your cat the greatest degree of indoor/outdoor freedom, these are the way to go.

Freestanding, Permanent, Constructed Cages

For those who really want to splurge, there are companies out there who will design special outdoor enclosures for your cats that are almost like small gazebos into which you can actually step through a human-sized door.

These companies also commonly design outdoor enclosures for larger animals, such as birds, zoo animals, and dogs.  Though these constructions are both permanent and expensive, you may want to choose these if you have many, many cats and want to give them something very large to play in outside.

If you do decide to go with one of these, consider getting it specially designed so that it matches the general architecture of your own home - this will make the large enclosures look less strange in your backyard.

One VERY large cat enclosure

Not sure which kind of enclosure to purchase?

If you are not sure which kind of cat enclosure would be best for you, consider the following factors:

  • Budget: If you are strapped for cash, a tent or netted enclosure is your best bet
  • Backyard space: If you have a large backyard, you may want to go for a netted option, or even a larger freestanding cage
  • Aesthetic preferences: If you want something pretty or showy, get something custom-designed or go for one of the multi-level cages
  • Cat freedom: If you want your cat to be able to go outside at any time, get an outdoor cat enclosure that can be attached to a cat door
  • Outside influences: If you live out in the wild, you may want to have an enclosure that can stand up to intense weather and other predators
  • Portability: If you are on the go with your cat, get one of the collapsable kitty tents
I hope you have found these tips to be helpful.  Happy cat-cage hunting!!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Cats are not dangerous they are cute

      I love cats and dogs. They are sorry if thay hurt you. Because I have 2 cats and a dog and thay don't hurt people. So be nice to them. I love my pets and they won't hurt people.

      We love animals but if thay hiss at you

      They won't hurt you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Pollyannalana - Oh, I know what you mean! My cat was the same way. And K9keystrokes - Chance is the COOLEST cat name! I can only imagine what a struggle it was for you to have her transition to indoors only. Maybe these cat enclosures can make all parties a bit happier :D

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      9 years ago from Northern, California

      These outdoor cat enclosures are awesome Simone. We recently had to revise the lifestyle of Chance, our cat--a now fussy indoor feline. This has proved to be a war of wills, Chance's will being far more driven than ours. These outdoor enclosures might just be the perfect compromise for all of us. She is a tiny 9 year old cat and is starting to loose a fight here and there. You have given us an option that can potentially bring the return of a peaceful household! Thank You. Up and awesome.


    • Pollyannalana profile image


      9 years ago from US

      My cat is sixteen and goes hunting still she would have a fit in one of those but it would be great for a cat to just be outside some, that are normally inside. Looks fun. The older my cat gets the more loving she becomes I am glad of that. Great hub.


    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaa, thank you, Helpful Hanna and toknowinfo. I find cat enclosures to be exceedingly amusing - thanks for stopping by :D

    • toknowinfo profile image


      9 years ago

      Loved your hub! Thanks for sharing this great info. Your really educated me about cat enclosures. Rated up and useful

    • profile image

      Helpful Hanna 

      9 years ago

      This is great information. Thank you!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)