Five ways to let your cat outside (safely)

Setting the scene.

It’s quite a big decision these days for some of us as to whether we should let our cats have the freedom of roaming outside or not. It’s also a decision that you need to decide for yourself, based on your individual circumstances and the purrsonality of your cat – we wrote about this in our article: “Should I let my Bengal cat go outside?”

Please let me go outside...
Please let me go outside…Β 

If you’re uncomfortable with confining your cat indoors all day, especially when they’re looking longingly out of the window, yet you’re equally uncomfortable with the dangers that your loved one could face if you gave into them and let them out, a great compromise is to somehow cat-proof your garden so you really can have the best of both worlds.

There are five possible ways we think you could consider – some will be more suited to you than others and Β they all have their pros and cons, so we’ll look at them in turn. But before we go ahead, we are going to say from the start that we personally do NOT agree with any use of electric fencing, whether it is visible or invisible, nor do we like the hefty collars cats have to wear for radio receiver-type fencing, so we are not going to cover either of those in our article.

1. Metal Fence

OK, we know…. it sounds horrible! A metal fence? You don’t want to look like you live in a factory do you?

metal fence
Metal fenceΒ 

But the reality these days is that there are some wonderful metal fences on the market, and not only do they need minimal maintenance, but they also keep kitties confined to your garden because they can’t get the grip to climb over them, if they are tall enough at least. A simple yet effective solution and one which lets your cat have the entire run of your garden at their leisure!

The possible downsides of these are that you would of course need to have this around the entire perimeter of your garden, so it could be quite costly if your garden is large. Plus you need to watch out for anything else your cat could climb up (e.g. a tree or some garden furniture) which could be used as a spring board to get over the fence. Even if all that is OK, another possible drawback is that if any neighbouring cats have the ability to be able to springboard into your garden, they will be unable to get out again, which could cause major territorial issues and even some fighting. Finally, you would need to make sure that if there gates that give you access to your garden, that your cat can’t run out when the gate is opened either by you, visitors, or delivery people etc.

If your garden is very large, you might want to consider using metal fencing to partition some of it off to use for a cat garden (we’ll discuss cat gardens in more detail later).

2. Spiky strips


Spiky strips
Spiky strips

Yikes! These look very scary! These spiky strips go on the top of all your fences and, again, as long as your fences are high enough, they are said to prevent your cat from climbing over the top. They were originally developed to stop other people’s cats getting in to people’s gardens (non cat lovers, obviously πŸ™‚ )

We’ve not tried these around the whole garden, though we do have them in a little part of our cat garden to stop the cats from jumping up onto a windowsill to use as a springboard to jump out and they seem to be effective. There’s lots of positive feedback online too. They are simple and cost-effective, though again you need to keep an eye out for possible “spring-boards” and gate openings.

3. Roller bars

roller bars
Roller barsΒ 

Here’s another attachment you can put on your fence to stop your kitty from getting the grip to get over it. They look a bit less scary than the spiky strips and are said to be effective. You can also put them round sheds and trees etc to stop your cats using these as a lever to get out.

Again, if you have a large garden, these might be quite expensive and need to be fitted by someone with experience, particularly in the more complex areas such as around out-buildings etc. Although you could use them as a means to partition some of your garden which may reduce the cost.

4. Full Cat Enclosure

Full cat enclosures come in many shapes and sizes to suit all tastes and budgets. They’re very safe as they have a “roof” and many have double-entry doors, reducing the risk of escape when the doors are opened or closed. You can also get ones that attach to your house so there is direct access for your cat to come in and out, making your life much easier.

Full Enclosure
Full enclosure

Some enclosures even have cosy sleeping areas so your kitty can enjoy a good catnap or two:) Many of them are also able to be dismantled so if you ever move house, you can take the enclosure with you. Enclosures almost eliminate the risk of other cats fighting with yours as they can’t actually get in, though some cats can get distressed if the neighbourhood cats are marking their territory on the perimeter of the enclosure.

Overall, cat enclosures are great but there are some possible downsides: They are quite expensive if you buy one from a cat enclosure retailer, or even if you build it yourself, the materials can all add up. For that reason, they can also be quite small though if there are plenty of activities such as logs, platforms, toys etc this will help. You can also try hiding your cat’s treats / food in the enclosure to give them something to hunt and make life more interesting for them πŸ™‚ Always make sure any plants in the enclosure are kitty-friendly and non-poisonous. Here’s a list of plants to avoid.

5. Cat Garden

Those of you who follow Bengal Cat World may be very familiar with our cat garden. We built it for our Bengals’ own safety and it is loved by both hoomins and cats alike! We found it too impractical to be able to cat-proof our entire garden because it’s quite large, and also we have trees and other “spring boards” at the perimeter. We felt that a full cat enclosure would be too expensive for the size we would have wanted, so we developed the cat garden ourselves, a much more cost-effective solution which also gives more space than an enclosure.

Snow bengal cat


Our cat garden is a very generous size andΒ of course you can choose any size that’s right for you as this design is so flexible. Using the existing fencing as two of the borders, we then partitioned off the rest using a trellis-type fencing ,so it had an “open” feel – the hoomins can see into the cat garden and the cats can see out πŸ™‚

The trellis fence was then covered in a wire mesh as it wouldn’t have kept the cats in otherwise and a gate was madeΒ using wooden poles and the lovely wire mesh too.

Fence :)
Top of fenceΒ 

Of course, this design is not enough to keep most cats in, they will just jump right over the top! So this is where the wonderful wire mesh and a few supporting rods came in handy once more! A metal rod was attached to the top of each fence post, the wire mesh was then attached between all the rods and then it was all bent over at an angle.

Despite numerous attempts, none of our agile Bengals have escaped over the fence, though they will always try!

Brown bengal cat
Let me outta here!

The next things to consider are any “spring boards” – you need to remove anything around the perimeter that clever kitties could use to jump right over the fence. If there’s something you can’t move, you will need to protect it further with wire mesh.

A good test is to put your cat(s) into the garden and watch them closely – see if they can work out any weak areas and hatch their escape plans! The only time our cats have escaped (other than through the gate being opened) is when Lula managed to dig UNDER the fence – she found a weak spot in the ground and took full advantage 😯 Needless to say, that area was quickly strengthened πŸ™‚

Then comes the good part! Fill the garden with cat-safe plants and grasses and toys and platforms and let them play to their heart’s content while you’re happy because you know they’re safe! It will take a while for your plants to mature, but it will only get better with time! Here’s some photos taken recently of our garden, bearing in mind we built it exactly a year ago πŸ™‚

Cat garden
The cats can also go in the garage
Cat garden
View of the garden
Cat garden
Side view

So there you have it, we hope you’ve find our guide useful, maybe given you some ideas you can use or adapt πŸ™‚ Our cats really do love playing in the garden and have adapted well (considering they had been allowed to roam free previously), but it doesn’t stop them from keeping an eye on the neighbours!

Brown spotted bengal cat
Come here birdie!


117 thoughts on “Five ways to let your cat outside (safely)”

  1. Great article. Nice to see different views of the cat garden. Graham’s done a lovely job on the planting side! Lots of beautiful grasses. And look who the ham bone is in the garden photos lol. A bit of naughty in your genes too, eh Spot? β™₯

  2. I can fully understand people wanting to protect their cats and especially prominent breeds but I feel that cats do need to be out and about and in my experience of many years of having cats (moggies) they have all decided where and when they have chosen to be out and mostly not straying from their familiar territory. It is only natural.

    1. I agree, Katherine – as I said right at the beginning of the article, every cat slave needs to decide what is right for them and their kitties, based on their own individual circumstances 😎

    2. There is increased risk of them coming into contact with diseased cats not to mention cars and dogs. I see flat cats quite frequently as a result of this free roaming. I simply could not bare to find one of my cats flattened, and I’ve lost one to FeLV (and yes he was vaccinated) and another to stray dogs that scared him so bad he butted the cap wire we had around the tree to keep them in until the staples pulled loose and he jumped out in yard with them where they broke his spine and punctured a lung. I had actually taken extra measures to protect my kitties but other pet owners who let their pets run freely caused his death.

      All of my cats are neutered and vaccinated and get regular check ups at the vets. They gave a safe fenced area where they go outside. With pet ownership comes responsibility.

      1. We’re sorry to hear of the loss of your cats, Ruthie. We agree entirely that all pet owners should show responsibility in regard to their animals. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

      2. Very good info here. Thanks for sharing, and I’m very sorry about your loss. I know how painful losing a beloved pet is. The info you shared will help minimize this happening needlessly to others. Thanks.

    3. I’m sorry, but allowing a cat to freely roam is not safe, and is irresponsible as a pet owner – it puts your cat in tremendous risk as far as getting attacked by other animals, hit by cars, or developing illnesses. Both of the cats I’ve raised had FIV since they were kittens – this disease has become increasingly prominent, and is only exacerbated by people who allow their cats to roam free and continue to become infected and spread it.

      This article is great. I don’t think I’d ever trust my cat to be outside when I’m not there, just because of the harm he can cause as an FIV+ to the cat community if he escaped, but it’s great to have options for when I’m out there with him – I’m sure we all know that a watchful eye alone will not prevent a cat from finding a way out of an average garden.

      1. Shelly, I absolutely agree!
        Another horrific possibility is what people will do to cats. Some people like to torture animals. Even if it isn’t common, the possibility that it could happen is bad enough.
        My father had a neighbor whom gave my dad’s cat antifreeze for leaving paw prints on his truck. My dad found out about it from another neighbor after the jerk moved away.
        People can be monsters. So to anyone reading this: PLEASE don’t let your cats roam freely! I know it sucks, but it just isn’t worth it.

    4. It’s wonderful when cats can be out safely, but we have coyotes here. Our cat has just learned to breach the enclosure we created for our small yard. I love your simple fix of curving the fencing inward. We’ll do that this weekend.

      1. My neighbor just threatened me by saying he would trap and send my cat to the pound because he believes cats scratch up his motorbike and boat. We’ve already had one disappear completely. I guess we know what happened to her now

    5. I agree but around my area we have coyotes that have attacked two of our cats. So this fence idea is perfect so i can still let my cats play outside but keep them away from an extremely dangerous area that is 50 ft away.

    6. I agree. Do you have any experience moving a cat from one household to another? The best advice I can see is to remove them from the house when the movers arrive. I plan to put my cat in a cattery for a week while I move, then isolate her in a single room for a couple of days in the new house. I also plan to take some of her pheromones from her muzzle using a sock, and rub it on posts, etc. outside the new house so she knows where she lives. Then… it’s outdoors for her. Maybe I’ll introduce her to a cat door too, or a radio collar if need be.

    7. I totally agree and get you on this. There are situations where as owners we have no choice. My home owners association doesn’t allow unleashed pets (even cats) outside your property. Very ridiculous rule for a cat owner. Also, many people here in Hawaii poison cats. They treat them like rats πŸ™

    8. Which is all well and good, until three of my moggies not straying from their familiar territory, were run over and killed by idiots disputing whose territory it actually was.
      Much happier now they are indoors. However I am keen to find an outside solution xxx

  3. Wow what a garden ,I’ve been waiting for this I have a small garden at the front that is enclosed with a low brick wall would be ideal for a cat garden .I feel a conversion coming on !All I need is a handsome handy man What about you Spot? πŸ˜‰ Some brilliant tips and a great article <3 xx

      1. Spot can you please Mr handsome and handy what metal rods he used for the wire fencing on top of the posts? ; πŸ˜› xx

  4. You know I’ve been in love with your cat garden for a long time πŸ™‚ I hope to build something like that for my kitties one day, but since I rent, I’m limited on what I can do. I love all the different grasses, textures, platforms and houses for you to play in πŸ˜€ It’s like a virtual paradise for you! Not to mention safe! Love you all!

    1. I am renting for now and have a Ragdoll 6 month old kitten who is an adventurer. There is a long courtyard out the back with some gardens and lovely high fences. My problem is…. There is a walkway at each side of house that needs something to keep kitty in. I can’t put anything permanent in because of renting. The walkways are 2 metres wide.

  5. Hi Spot

    My Mummy could do with borrowing your Daddy to help her with the DIY as she is useless at it. She has just tried to make a gate and a puff of wind will blow it down I am sure! πŸ™‚

    1. Oooh dear! Daddy is a very handy man and a perfectionist too! He has to make sure everything is just purrfect! 😎 xxx

  6. There’s a lot of love that went into that beautiful cat garden! I hope to build something for Tikka one day. My previous Bengal was leash trained, but Tikka has resisted all efforts to get him into a harness. Thank you for the great info!

    1. We like to walk on our harness too, but the cat garden is much better – we stay out there all day in good weather, we have our cat house to snooze in when we need a catnap or two (or three or four… ) πŸ˜† xx

  7. just take your ca out on a cat harness to get it use to your garden and the surroundings my cat comes back on her own now, and when I call her she comes, if not I just shake her whiskas temtations cat treats and she comes .xx

    1. We had to build the cat garden as Bengals are so adventurous and Lula wandered as far as a main road that’s in our area. None of our moggy cats had ever wandered that far. They are allowed to free roam and are never far away just like your girl, but that doesn’t apply where Lula especially is concerned 😯 xxx

      1. As I said at the beginning of the article, it all depends on your personal circumstances and the purrsonality of your cat as to whether you feel these measures are necessary or not. xx

  8. Great info Spot. I do love to see the kits enjoying their time outside. Just one thing worries me though, and that’s the lavender plant. It’s such a magnet for bees and with Lula getting stung that time and being such a champion bug chaser, I fear one of the kits might get stung again. Just saying ! We had lavenders near the swimming pool and when twice we had children stung while playing in the water, we turfed them out and relocated them into the front garden . That’s why I am a bit psychotic about lavenders, pretty as they are!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Mavis! It might sound odd, but Lula loves playing with the bees and doesn’t usually get stung. It’s only happened once since the cat garden was built and there are other plants that attract them too, so we’ll never completely get rid of the risk, unless we had no flowers in there at all πŸ˜‰ xx

  9. As usual, excellent advice!! I wish I had a yard to put an enclosure in for my kids. . . πŸ™ Although they seem to be quite happy as indoor only babies — as long as Meowmie isn’t gone too long!! :mrgreen: Spot, Lula, Harry, Robbie and Friday — you kids have a very beautiful garden to play in!!! Mummy and Daddy have definitely put some effort info making it the gorgeous ‘playpen’ that it is !! love and prayers for all at BCW. . . <3 <3 <3

  10. ‘Our neighbors left half eaten and mashed-up shrimp very close to the property line near our wood fence. Will this damage the wall? Or are they just calling bugs and the snakes for their yard? Bug and snake deterrents are kept down by us, but I do wonder what their reason behind leaving a pile of food by the property line could be. Will not they simply call bugs for their house’? ..

    1. That sounds like a very odd thing to do… it will attract all sorts, I’m not sure of the reason why they would want to do this, but I think if it was done often enough, it may cause damage to the wall in the long term!

  11. I love it! I have a big Main Coon & I live in an apt. right now but am hoping for a tiny house with a wee bit of property so I can have a garden & a place for my furry children to play. πŸ˜€

  12. This is the most amazing kitty garden! I was just wondering what plants you use and if they would be ‘easy’ to grow/take care off? The only thing i can grow are weeds 😳 x

    1. Thank you, Mel! We use lots of grasses mainly. They will grow and spread out in time and are very easy to take care of! We also have catmint, jasmine, and other flowers that attract bugs but are safe for kitties πŸ˜‰ x

  13. I came across this article while searching for ideas on how to cat proof my fence. I don’t have Bengals, just 2 regular “moggies” and due to allergies, try to let them be outside during the day. I have prevented them from getting out at most of my fence line but the battle hasn’t been won yet. Some great ideas listed here. i understand that is a personal choice whether you let your cats wander off your property, but there are 2 good reasons for keeping all cats in your own backyard. It keeps the cat safe – in my situation from paralysis ticks and cars. It prevents cats from killing our native animals. I’ve never met a cat who doesn’t have the instinct to kill – even if it is only a tiny lizard or frog

  14. This is really great site! I don’t actually have a Bengal cat – mine is part Burmese but I think these ideas are really good and like the idea the cats an see out.

  15. Just to clarify from my comments above that am referring to the cat garden! It’s a wonderful idea and I think most of the materials can be purchased for little money. I’m going to give it a go!

    1. Hi Kylie! Yes, it is a small price to pay for peace of mind and knowing that your kitties are enjoying the fresh air in safety πŸ™‚

  16. I love your cat garden, it’s really beautiful and the kitties look so happy. Your photography is amazing and the cats look as if they are “in the wild” in some of the pictures.

    1. Thanks, Sue! Yes, it is lovely to have a safe and secure place where they can enjoy the outdoors πŸ˜‰

  17. Do you have any ideas in how to attach netting to a brick fence without damaging the fence? I have just moved into an apartment and wanted to close in one of the verandas for my main coon but they have cement and brick walls not rails.

    1. Our netting is attached to the fence using bent over brick ties that we got from a builders merchant, Anne and Josie. As these are designed for brick, I wouldn’t have thought they would damage your wall? Perhaps visit a builders merchant and see what they say or recommend? πŸ™‚

  18. What did you use for the metal supports? Can you buy such a thing or did you adapt something? Only started letting my 11 month old twin kittens out in the last week while we are with them and they are rascals! Scaled a 10 ft fence today so they are in. Luckily the neighbour was in the garden and he lifted them!

    1. Hello Jules! We bought some metal brick ties from the builder’s merchant and bent them over πŸ™‚ Your kittens are very clever to scale such a high fence, but we’re glad they’re safe! πŸ™‚

  19. πŸ™‚ As you said benglas are so smart.
    I have 2, I have trained them to stay on the patios of our house both front and back. They have a little ornamental grass they can play with. I came leave them out there and they will stay. They only stay out a fews hours and are in well before dark. My Bengals are 10 and 7. They are my sweet baby girls. Thank you for your blogs. Keep up the good job.

  20. One week ago one of our cat’s was shot pont black in the face that’s what we got for letting them roam free so lam going to make my garden cat safe

    1. oh no πŸ™ We are so sorry, Andrew πŸ™ It’s a good compromise to have a cat proof garden – your cats get to go outside, but you know they are pretty much safe.

  21. Dear Spot,
    I hope you can help. We took our 7 year old male (spayed) Bengal out for a walk on a harness a few times and now he non-stop cries to get out, scratches at the door,
    and runs from window to window. We started to enclose part of the garden so he can be outside more, but now we’re having second thoughts. My partner is worried that
    Red may just stay outside and become unsocial, which is how he is most of the time since he’s been let out. He seems to be satisfied after an hour’s outing for a few hours,
    then later starts whining and crying constantly. Will he want to come back inside if he’s got access to the outdoors? He’s driving us crazy. Thanks for any advice,

    1. Hello Nura
      It’s good for cats to be let outside if it can be done so safely. It will make him happier and therefore more sociable. You just need to get into a bit of a routine: ours all know they are allowed outside as they wish during the day, but must come in at night time. They can also come in during the day if they want to, of course, or if the weather is bad. Once he knows what the boundaries are, he will settle down and be a much happier cat, sometimes you have to let go a little πŸ™‚ Good luck

  22. What is the correct name for the metal rods supporting the wire mesh in the cat garden, please? My 7 yr old cat is used to going outdoors, but just this past summer started jumping over the 6 foot fence. In one smooth jump he lands on top of the fence. He will wear a vest attached to a long lead, but he is constantly getting the lead tangled around plants, etc. Wire mesh attached to the top of the fence looks like a great solution. Thank you for any help you may provide.

    1. Hi JayTee! These are metal brick ties which you can buy at an builders/DIY store. They are actually straight, we bent them to accommodate the design. We hope that helps πŸ™‚

  23. Great ideas – and your last idea is probably the best one. You can get this professionally fitted. Look up a firm called Protectapuss (also found using Protectapet) and you’ll be really impressed. We have the world’s most beautiful cat, of course, and wanted to keep her safe from a busy main road. She was content to wander the garden in her harness but we knew it could be a better experience for her, as well as us, so trawled the internet for ideas. Thank goodness we found Protectapet. They did a site visit to measure up and give us a quote then came and did the job in one day. One of our gardens has the brackets and netting set up and our Darling Rosie has never once tried to make a bid for freedom. Brilliant! The other garden needed a different solution as we couldn’t get the netting round all the bushes so we have a huge outdoor enclosure where Rosie can climb her tree inside it, so she has the best of both worlds. It is so nice for her to go outside when she wants and we can relax knowing that she’s safe and happy. It’s not cheap but not too eye-watering and worth every penny. So much so, that we’re having another section of the garden done next week. (We’re on a corner site so have gardens on three sides.) Look at all the examples and videos on their website and you’ll want it, too. Just a word about the rolling log solution – I read where some people’s cats escaped because the wood swelled and/or the metal ends rusted and the rollers became rigid. That meant that the cats could get a grip and escape so be wary of that system. Anyway, thought you’d like to know that your bent brackets and netting idea is similar to Protectapuss so is available to be done with professional fitters or you can buy the stuff from them and do it yourself. BTW, the people there are so bend over backwards helpful that having our gardens done was a real pleasure. And, one last thing, is that spiky idea a safe one – if it was designed to keep out cats then doesn’t it hurt your own cats if they try to get out? Just a thought.

    1. Thanks for your advert for Protectapuss (some might say you actually work for the company πŸ˜‰ ). My friend has had the roller bar system for years and has never experienced any of those issues you mention and has had a perfectly safe garden that her 2 bengals have never escaped from. Nothing indeed to be wary of there. Of course, anything that keeps precious kitties, of any breed, safe gets the paws up from us.

  24. Nope, don’t work for them but I have used them to keep my precious furbaby safe and the system is great. It’s so like one that you mentioned that I thought your readers may want to check it out as they’ll come and fit it for you and it saves you the hassle. I’m an OAP lady on my own and was so grateful to have some brawny youths do the work. It’s very neat looking, too. Thanks for the tip about the rollers being reliable. I’m glad for your friend. Don’t know where I read that about the rollers but I think it was when I looked for reviews for all the different companies I was researching. Maybe the rollers that were sticking were just badly fitted. I did consider them as they looked quite nice in natural wood. Anyway, I’m happy with the system I did choose in the end and if my comments can help anyone else to decide what to use to keep their kitties safe, that’s great. Just thought that you might like to hear from someone who had actually had one of the systems fitted and that it worked. I know that I’d be more than heartbroken if my beautiful baby wandered off and got run over or, worse still, got taken. She’s my life. Just couldn’t bear it.

  25. Hi, I’m about to get my garden fenced and hopefully make it as escape proof as possible for my cats and your diy system looks exactly like what I’m needing plus quite doable. What length brick ties and width of mesh did you use for your cat garden? I’m going to need about 50 metres inc a gate done. Any ideas how to stop my little darlings jumping on the shed too as this will provide an escape route,did wonder if those spiky fence topper strips aroud the edge of the shed roof would be enough as they’d be a bit less noticeable than more brick ties and mesh,but I will do whatever’s necessary to keep my cats safe. Like most of you over the years a few of my cats have been hit by cars,one was shot,neighbours cat was poisoned etc

    1. So sorry to hear about your previous kitties, Shazzles πŸ™ The brick ties were just standard size I think? They have to be long enough to be bent over and have enough room to attach wire. We bought the mesh online, I can’t remember the exact size (we made the garden about 3 years ago πŸ˜‰ ) but it obviously needs to be small enough to prevent escapes πŸ™‚ Not sure about the spiky stopper things, you may want to maybe invest in the roller bars for the shed, less noticeable than the wire mesh, but more expensive. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  26. fantastic garden and suggestions! curious to know if your cats have created odor problems in the garden and what works… my daughter’s Somalian cat is happy using the sandpit created for him on a paved area but deodorizing (or replacing sand) may become necessary.

    1. Hi Jenny! We have no odour problems, there’s not a set place they go in so it’s not all concentrated in one area. Plus they use the litter boxes indoors more often than outside. Suggest your daughter would need to replace the sand quite regularly, just as you would in a litter box.

  27. Thank you for sharing,,,can you tell me about the suppliers for enclosures,,,I’m looking for my three Ragdolls one long hair moggy and a Bengal and half Siamese Burmese as they keep escaping and I’m getting the jitters,
    I particularly like the one with the curved roof,,,
    Fully enclosed is a must and large so that we can be with them,,

    1. Hi Wilma!
      I’m not sure where you are or what your budget is πŸ™‚ My best advice is to google a few different suppliers and call the ones you like the look of th most and see what they can do πŸ™‚

  28. Thank you for the information! I myself have had many cats in the past including a bengal Leo. We live in a villa so the cats always had access to the outdoors.
    But I remember it caused many problems like cat fights, very busy surroundings, many distractions, etc. Sadly Leo got run over two years after we got him near the garage itself. I was pretty much traumatised and felt so guilty. I was very close to that boy! Consequently we have not had another cat in the last 4 years.

    We are finally planning to get a Himalayan cat which I’m looking forward to considering that I really want a house cat. But I have found out that my dad is also keen on another lovely Bengal.
    An important point is that the house is basically open. The hall doors and windows are rarely locked up except at night. Also nightmare of nightmares the neighbourhood is crawling with strays :(. Plus I’m going to have to look after two very different babies.

    Apologies for this essay but please could you give me some advice? I was younger when we had Leo so I will do much better now hopefully. Do you think I could train the new Bengal to be a calmer indoor cat? He will be only a few months old. Also is this a terrible pairing of breeds?

    1. Hi there! Bengals can adjust to being house cats, as long as they have lots of activity to keep them happy and tall places to sit on as they like to be up high. If you introduce both cats at the same time, the chances of them getting along will be increased as neither will have established their territory. We have seen many examples of Bengals getting along with different breeds. Perhaps the most placed of cats such as Persians may not be a good mix as the placid cats probably couldn’t cope with a Bengal’s energy levels, but a reasonably active breed should be ok. More often than not, it depends on the personality of the cat rather than what breed they are.

  29. Thanks for the great article. The spikey strips look great!!! my problem is I live on the 32nd floor and have a big patio. I have installed screens but since my new kitten arrived and now I see he run into and up everything, I am starting to worry that he might somehow make it out onto the patio, and if so, all it would take it one jump up onto the bars, and he’s gone πŸ™
    I think these would definitely help. Have they actually stopped your cat getting onto the fence?
    My fence is not wood, it’s rounded metal – did you come across a version that would work for that in your research?
    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    1. I currently live in an upstairs apartment with balcony and we attached some long, thin metal rods to the railing and attached some plastic netting (might have been bird mesh ?) across it all. How you attach it will depend on the actual configuration but it might help to take a good photo to your local hardware store and ask how they would attach the two things. They might not have a clue how to build a cat fence but how to attach this-to-that they should be able to do!

      We ended up having to take it down when they repainted the building a few years ago and we never put it back and the cats have been fine.

      On the 32nd floor your cat isn’t likely to want to jump so if you give him some good perches he can have a good view without needing to get on the railing too.

  30. As a ‘temporary’, cheap and easy to construct cat cage for non handyman types , I bought one of the eight panel metal puppy pens from an online ‘cheap’ store and then stretched and attached cat netting over the top to prevent my bengals climbing out. Though it is not suitable for leaving them when you are not around, it is great for indoor cats to be able to join you in the garden when you are gardening or just sitting – and can be dragged and placed to anywhere. If the ground is uneven I use tent pegs to hold the base in place.

  31. Are plans available for the lovely cat garden?
    I will need to hire it built and feel a plan will be sure the job gets done like yours? Thank you.

  32. Hiya,

    I currently have a FIV positive 14 year old cat, we’ve lived in a flat so it’s never been an issue to keep him indoors, we’re moving to a house in 3 weeks time and I’m desperate to build a cat safe garden so that he can see out his days in the sun! May i ask what brackets you used? And is it just chicken wire? I’ve not been sure wether to use wire or mesh fabric!

    Thankyou x

  33. Did you use a cat fence that was premade like Purrfect fence to get it to bend or did you make it yourself? How long did it take to put around the perimeter?

  34. I’m looking for some advice. I have a lovely Birman cat who is very interested in going outside particularly now it’s summer and she watches me from the window when I’m outside in the garden. I’m lucky to have a garden that is not too large and is surrounded by a wooden fence so I’m hoping to use one of the systems that go ontop of the fence (I would only let her out when I was at home and at daytime). My question is I think the curved metal supports with mesh would work best as our fence is not very tall but what happens about other cats coming from behind this system from other gardens? Surely they can easily get over the system from that angle? Then I’m nervous that someone else’s cat is stuck in my garden and can’t get out again?

  35. I have an 8 year old Bengal, who rarely gets let out. Has an enclosure but wants to get outside. I went outside for a while and realized the door hadn’t latched properly, came back inside and Samir was gone. It’s been over 24 hours now and he still hasn’t come home. I am heartbroken, I’d hate for anything to happen to him. I have posters up and have shared on social media in our area. Is it possible he’ll come home on his own?

  36. Hi, we are moving to Australia where cats need to be confined to your garden at all times. They’re so used to being outdoors in England I am worried out this. My question is this – I get all the cat fencing etc but how does that help when you need to leave house windows open for air and people come and go through garden gates and the front door? How is everyone dealing with that? I don’t want to restrict my cats to one room of the house. Any advice very much appreciated. Such a great blog, thanks!

  37. Hi I’m a cat fosterer and have cat proofed my garden too. Foster cats are not allowed out in the big wide world. I have adapted my windows and patio door/s using Flat Cats awful name I know.
    Basically it is material mesh held onto the window frame by very strong Velcro. it works well my cats climb it but cant get out. And we can have the windows/ doors open so no escapees. If you Google the name see what you think. They are not cheap I am moving soon and will probably make my own this time or adapt the ones I’ve got.
    My daughter has built a catio and i made some for her Windows.
    Good luck down under!

  38. Hi, I recently contacted a vet asking if they had any cats, however I soon after realised I could not take the ones I would have liked to.
    There are 2 12 year old Bengal cats whose owner died recently, and I’d like to ask if there’s anyone who could take them.
    Even temporarily.
    Sydney Australia.

  39. Hi there! I found your website really useful! I am a new Bengal cat owner, with two adorable and sweet 7-month old Bengal sisters called Chili and Sona. I’m used to very domestic cats that just chilled in our apartment, so I’m not sure at the moment whether in satisfying Chili and Sona’s activity and entertainment needs. I was hoping you can give me some advice.
    I live in a small apartment in Berlin, we have a balcony where we let them out mornings and evenings. At home we have high shelves where they can roam and jump, and have recently added cat shelves with hammock and a small house. We’ll build a cat tree this weekend. So although we have ‘catified’ our apartment, and have plenty of toys lying around, and I play with them at least 15 minutes a day with a birdy stick that can let them out of breath, AND I take them out for 30min walks every two days, even then I have one of the sisters, Sona, meaows every night to get out at around 22:00, including the days I already took her out for a walk (I usually go at around 20:00 for a walk). Here are my Qs: 1) How long would be the best average time of play for a smart bengal? 2) how long should I take for a walk (I made the mental note to try to go every day, but being winter in Norther Germany, it can be tricky) 3) Am I getting just too nervous about her 15 minute evening meaowing and I should just let it be (I try to distract her with some play), or should I change my behavior to get her happy? If so, what else can I do?
    I just feel sad that Sona might be needing more outside time and I can’t give her more than the walks and balcony. Chili seems quite content with everything, though.

    Both Sona and Chili will get neutered in some weeks, could it be that she gets less demanding about going out? I had the impression from previous cats that it made them calmer.

    Thanks a lot for your info, looking forward to get feedback! Also, some tips on challenging mental games for them to play when I’m out would be appreciated. I’ve done some research myself but I’m permanently looking for new ideas. Thanks!

  40. I realize that this is an old post, but is there a chance of getting any close up photos of how the single wires are attached to the fencing and how the wire fencing is attached to those singles wires? The neighbor is moving his daughter and her very cat unfriendly rescue dog in because of an emergency and I have some TVNR’s cats who are back and forth between my yard and his all of the time. I want to try to keep my little feral guys from becoming chew toys for the dog. Thanks.

  41. I agree but around my area we have coyotes that have attacked two of our cats. So this fence idea is perfect so i can still let my cats play outside but keep them away from an extremely dangerous area that is 50 ft away.

  42. Hi! I’m planning to put mesh and metal rods around my new back garden fence when it’s built. I can finally let my babies out then and their ginger nemesis won’t be able to get in! But I’m wondering how far the mesh should protrude beyond the end of the metal rods, as it does in your photos? Parts of my fence will only be 4ft high (I like daylight in my garden so went for a shorter fence!!) so I wanted to be sure I was getting the spec right. Thanks so much!

  43. Thank you for pointing out that having a fence allows your cat to be outside safely. My cat loves being outside. I’ll have to look into finding the right fence for us.

  44. Yes, letting a cat outdoors is an outdated, abusive thing to do to your cat. By doing so you are completely ignoring the many dangers over which your cat nor you have any control: vehicles, other animals (most of which you never even knew existed right in your neighborhood), angry neighbors, bored kids with BB guns, pet thieves, etc. etc. etc. you may think you are making your cat happy, but just like allowing a child outside to roam and play to his hearts content, returning only when he wants to, you are shirking on your responsibility to keep your cat (and you!) as safe as possible. We just do not live in a world that is safe for domesticated cats to freely roam and ANY animal care professional who has experience with this will say exactly the same.

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Tales from a Spotty cat