How Much Space Do I Need In My Outdoor Cat Enclosure?

Photo of Karen Dell

Karen Dell

Senior Editor • Backyard Cat Enclosures

06 September 2016

You’ve followed the path of responsible cat ownership and decided to buy your pudda tat an outdoor cat enclosure rather than letting them roam free. Your cat can now enjoy the great outdoors without any fear! Unfortunately, you’ve been punished for your good deed - how is anyone supposed to decide with all this choice? And how big is a cat enclosure supposed to be anyway? Take a few deep breaths, snuggle your kitty, and let us help.

The basics of outdoor cat enclosures

We recommend about 2 square metres of floor space per cat, with plenty of vertical space for climbing. Simple, right? Not so fast. The truth is that a formula is rarely useful when it comes to cats - they have very little respect for maths, and even less understanding. How big your cat enclosure needs to be depends on a few things:

  • Breed - your couch-potato Ragdoll cat might only want to smell some fresh air, and sleep in the sunshine; meanwhile, your lightning bolt Bengal baby can’t wait to climb above head height. See where your cat fits on our ultimate breed list - a more active kitty will need a bigger cat enclosure.
  • Personality - maybe your Bengal came with flat batteries? Maybe your Ragdoll is supercharged? The fact is, a cat’s breed is no guarantee of personality. As a cat slave, you’re in a unique position to evaluate your cat and its energy levels.
  • Age - if your old pal spends more time in dreamland than Sleeping Beauty, it probably doesn’t need as large of an outdoor cat enclosure as an adolescent furrball, or bouncy kitten.
  • Relationships - in a multi-cat household, relationships are everything. Best buds will be happy to share a smaller space, while mortal enemies would rather eye each other off from across a cavernous cat enclosure.
  • Routine - Cats are creatures of habit and will be more comfortable in a space that is in line with their routine. The great Catsby wouldn’t do very well downgrading from a mansion to a matchbox, for example.

Advanced techniques for your cat enclosure

You know this already, but your cat doesn’t see the world the way you do. So while we might measure space in metres and cubes, your cat does it all by feel. Our crack team of specialists has worked overtime to bring you these tips for creating more space, without adding an inch to your outdoor cat enclosure.

  • Add more vertical space!

Most cats love to climb and lounge in high spaces. A cat enclosure with shelving and ramps leading to the top of the run will feel a lot larger than a ground-bound one.

  • Add more hiding space!

Even the most extroverted cats like to feel in control of their territory. It may seem counter-intuitive, but you can make a space feel larger for a cat by creating smaller spaces where it can hide and play. This is particularly good for the more reclusive cat, or where multiple cats have mismatched energy levels. Sometimes a little ‘me’ time is all your kitty needs.

  •  Add more imaginary space!

A cat doesn’t much mind how big its space is, providing it is entertained. So leave the tape measure inside, and bring some feather wands, fuzzy mice, and scratching posts. If you’ve been slack in the toy department, we have a pawesome range for you to choose from here.

If you’re still not sure that an outdoor cat enclosure is the way to go, let us convince you.


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