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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I have a fenced-in yard, and we are planning to get a cat. We are hoping to let him outside to play, hunt, and get some exercise. However, we live on a busy street, so want to let him out in the yard, but we don't want him to leave the yard. I've seen products like this:

Cat Fence In - Cat Fence Outdoor
It is a net that attaches to the top of the fence, and it would probably be pretty effective, but then our back yard would look like a prison yard.

I have also seen products like this:
https://coyoteroller.com/collections/coyote-roller-kits

It's roller bar that attaches to the top or the front of the fence. It seems less obtrusive, but they are pretty expensive. So, I am hoping to DIY something.

I've seen this option:
Roll Bar Fence DIY - Keep Your Pets In & Others Out - Your Sassy Self

Someone basically took steel cable, ran it through 1" PVC, and then ran that through 3" PVC to make a roller. Then they used corner braces to attach it to the top of the fence.

I'm wondering whether there is a better way to do this. I could use the 3" PVC, cap it at both ends, drill holes in the center of the caps, and then put bolts through the holes, and attach the bolts to the corner braces.

Or, I could use 4" PVC, get garage door pulley wheels, which are around 3.5" in diameter, set them inside the PVC, and then put a bolt through those. I can draw a diagram if this is unclear.

Has anyone tried anything like this? Do any of you home-wrenchers or pros have any advice for me?
 

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That cat fence would catch every leave and branch blowing by. It would be a nightmare to keep clean.

By my experience, if you cat wants to get out of the yard, you probably can't prevent it, short of leashing it, which presents it's own problems.

My sister has two cats. She adopted them both as kittens 15 years ago. They both go outside in her back yard. It has a chain link fence with a gate. Maybe not now that they are older, but has young agile cats, they were both quite capable of exiting the yard if they had made up their minds to do it. But for whatever reason, they never did. I think she told me one of them got out in the front yard once when a landscaper left the gate open. She didn't go far that day, and hasn't tried to escape since.

I think it just depends on your cat. If they are content to stay in your yard, and not go off on wild adventures, it will probably stay put. On the otherhand, if that cat wants out of the yard, you probably can't prevent it.

Has your cat been spayed/neutered?
 

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In addition to the expense of modifying existing fencing to keep a cat in the yard, with animals that are smart and adept at getting out anyway, you then get to deal with keeping the cat free of fleas. So medication for that.

As well, you don't want them hunting. Cats that mostly live indoor and eat store food don't eat their prey, they just kill for instinctive reasons. No real point in that and unless you have a mice problem, why ?

I'd be keeping the cat as an indoor only. They are perfectly happy with that. Typically my indoor only cats are too scared to venture far when they wander out the kitchen door and come bolting back at the slightest noise. Cats live longer for sure, if kept inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I want to redirect this thread. I'm not looking for advice on "should I keep the cat indoors or outdoors?" I'm just looking for engineering input on "what is the best way to build this thing?"
 

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I am pretty sure any of those three would be seen as a challenge for an intelligent and willful cat. And unlikely to work for very long, unless the fence itself would have worked. I've seen cats parkour off fences to get really high, including the chain link part of chain link fences. The question is not when a cat will defeat a fence, but how long it will take.

What kind of fence are you starting with? Just out of curiosity. Material, how tall, etc?

Personally, I would just let the cat out, and hang with it to get them used to the backyard as their turf. Once it is their turf, they will likely stay there. If the cat is a climbing cat, make sure to give them something OTHER than the fence to climb. Make sure you wait a good long time before this though, they have to get used to the house as their turf first.

But expect the cat to get out if you let it out unsupervised. A good solution is to let the cat in the backyard when you will be there, then take them in when you go in. That will tend to work, assuming a relatively social cat who likes their people. Just expect the cat to ask to go outside all the time, and learn to say no (in a sad voice, then walk away.) They eventually get the hint, or at least mine do for the back porch door.

We don't let them outside, other than one, who gets to go out on a harness and leash so long as we are willing to follow her as she checks things out.
 

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Before I looked at your links, I was thinking something that tapers back into your yard might be a good deterrent to jumping. That prison fence is a lot like that.

The pipe thing sounds like a lot of money would get spent on prototyping and testing, and the cat yard would be done some time next year if it was me.

What about a series of sprinklers as a wall of water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's a good point, QuiQueQuod. It's a cedar wood picket fence with crossbars at the bottom, middle, and top. In the past, we had a cat who would jump from the middle bar to the top bar, and then over. The fence is about 6ft tall. I figure if I can put a roller at the top bar, then he won't be able to get to use it to get over the fence. He would have to jump clear over the entire fence.
 

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That "cat fence" thing looks like a waste of time. My friend's Australian shepherd was quickly able to outsmart an electrified version my friend built on the top of a 6-foot wooden privacy fence. I'm sure my least athletic cat would figure out a way to get over it within a couple days.

I think you need some sort of completely enclosed roof over your yard or a large cage with a roof.

When we moved into town and had concerns about traffic, I tried training my cat to walk on a leash and bought a harness thinking that I could just tie her to a tree etc. She quickly learned how to wriggle out of the harness - thus ensuring the rest of her life as an indoor cat. Cats are really REALLY smart.

Whatever you build, make sure your cat can't accidently hang itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We are planning to adopt a kitten from a shelter. It will probably be some sort of domestic short hair mix.
 

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I would modify your existing fence into an electric fence. Just get some car batteries and hook it up to the fence.
 

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That's a good point, QuiQueQuod. It's a cedar wood picket fence with crossbars at the bottom, middle, and top. In the past, we had a cat who would jump from the middle bar to the top bar, and then over. The fence is about 6ft tall.
Well, you could attach some angled bits of cedar on the top of each crossbar, so there is no place to stand. just a slope. That would not look too bad, and might help in the short term.

Most cats can take a run at a fence like that, hit the fence and dig in claws, and then bounce to the top. But some cats won't make a big leap like that unless they know where they will land. So if the top of the fence can't be seen.....

But chances are the cat will see it from a window, and make plans. :)
 

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You might be able to go with a trendy modern look and line the inside of your fence with something claw-proof, like corrugated metal.
 

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It is not a full yard access, but I built a 5' long x 6' wide x 6' tall enclosure attached to our deck. The cats access it through a window that I opened and mounted a cat door.

It is 2" x 2" wood fully enclosed with chicken wire on the sides and a deer net on the top. I have multiple tiers of shelves for them to play and lounge on to see around the yard.

My wife calls it the Purr-anda or the Catio. The cats absolutely love it and run in and out all day long. They even play in the snow in the winter.

They don't get free reign in the entire yard. But they still get plenty of sun, fresh air and watch all the birds on our apple tree and bird feeder. Very nice to give them that taste, but not have to worry about them.
 

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You forget that cats are smarter than you can ever be....If they want out, they will get out.
 

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You forget that cats are smarter than you can ever be....If they want out, they will get out.
Yeah. We had one that figured out how to escape our apartment by knocking a window screen (its frame and all) out of the window. We had already replaced the vinyl screen with metal after she learned she could rip right through it.

My friend's Aussie that I mentioned before is a real escape artist. He came home to his apartment one day and his neighbor said, "I have your dog. He was on the roof". Turns out the thing jumped through a second story window and was walking around on the porch roof. My friend figures that, based on how the room was set up, the dog had no idea that he would land on a roof either, he just went for it. There's a kennel in town that refuses to board him anymore.
 

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"Catios" are a thing. I don't think it's futile to make an enclosure for cats.

Female cats are less likely to want to roam very far, so it might help to adopt females. Male cats, even if neutered, might still have that urge to expand their territory.

Some ideas here and here (to demonstrate the many possibilities.)
 

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It is not a full yard access, but I built a 5' long x 6' wide x 6' tall enclosure attached to our deck. The cats access it through a window that I opened and mounted a cat door.

It is 2" x 2" wood fully enclosed with chicken wire on the sides and a deer net on the top. I have multiple tiers of shelves for them to play and lounge on to see around the yard.

My wife calls it the Purr-anda or the Catio. The cats absolutely love it and run in and out all day long. They even play in the snow in the winter.

They don't get free reign in the entire yard. But they still get plenty of sun, fresh air and watch all the birds on our apple tree and bird feeder. Very nice to give them that taste, but not have to worry about them.
I was going to suggest something like this...

Ours are indoor/outdoor, but we have a big yard--even so, they don't roam very far...

Mostly they just occupy the chairs we put out on the covered patio, and they lounge around like the OAPs (Old Age Pensioners) that they are.
 
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