It has been said that indoor-only cats can live more than three times longer than cats who are allowed to freely wander the great outdoors. But if your cat keeps trying to sneak out into the yard and you'd like to satisfy his curiosity without running the risks associated with letting your cat roam around unsupervised, a cat-proof fence may be just the thing you need to keep him safe and happy.
Obviously, if you already have a fence around your yard, that makes cat-proofing much easier. If not, you will need to install fencing first. Wood fences work best for cat-proofing, particularly when it comes time to remove the cat-proofing. Your fence should be at least 6 feet high. Next, take a look around. Are any trees close to the existing fence? If so, this could present a problem. You will need to take steps to either keep the cat out of the tree or block access from the tree to the other side of the fence.
If you've ever visited a big cat exhibit at a zoo, you may have noticed that the top of the fencing is usually angled into the enclosure, toward the cats. This is because unlike primates, cats will not climb upside down. So for your cat-proof enclosure, you will want to use a strong garden netting, such as the kind used to keep out deer, attached to brackets at a 45 degree angle along the top of the fence. Some have used chicken wire with success, but the more flexible the material, the less likely a cat will attempt to climb it.
Another idea you might consider is installing sheet metal along the inside of the fence and capping the top of the fence with PVC pipe. Or you could install a sprinkler system along the top of the fence. Since most cats hate water, a bit of a spritz may keep yours in the yard. And you'll have the added bonus of keeping your yard cooler in the summer. Of course, whatever method you try for your personal escape artist, you should supervise your cat in the yard for the first several days to make sure the plan is working.
Rich Ellgen/Demand Media
Chris Carson has been writing professionally since 1988, specializing in topics such as cats, jewelry, history and English. Her articles have appeared in "Best Friends Magazine" and on various websites. Carson received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Arizona State University.