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DIY Cat Runs So Your Furry Friends can Enjoy the Summer Sun

No matter the time of year, our cats love to sit by the windows. We often pop the window open just a little bit so that the breeze, cool air, and outdoor sounds can come through the screen, letting the cats feel like they’re a part of all the hustle and bustle outside the house without actually letting them out because they are indoor only cats and we want to keep them safe. During the summer, however, it almost makes us a little bit sad to see them staring out at the sunshine longingly, wishing they could feel the fresh air in their fur and smell all the exciting outdoor scents whenever they please. That’s why we’ve decided to build our furry friends a cat run! The moment we had the idea, we took to the Internet to look at ideas and find out the best way to make it happen ourselves.

Just in case you’re interested in making a safe, secure outdoor place for your kitty cats to hang out in this summer too, here are 15 of the best designs and tutorials we’ve found so far in our search!

1. Metal grating over a small outdoor area


Do you already have a space in the backyard that’s quite enclosed and safe as it is but it’s got lots of open space at the top and you’re worried your cats will be more than capable of climbing or jumping right out of that space? Then it sounds to us like you’ll need to close that space off without actually covering it so that the sunlight and fresh air is blocked out. We’d suggest taking a look at how Cat World reached that goal by affixing some light mesh netting over their space!

2. Steel and screen cat enclosure building


Are you actually so invested in your cats’ safety and wellbeing that you’re willing to build them an entire structure and enclosure as long as it means they get to be happy in the summer weather without getting lost, sick, or attacked? Then we definitely think you should check out how Cheap Sheds built an actual backyard cat building using a premade steel shed with some sides removed and replaced with screens for the cats to sit near and to see out of. This idea is so solid that you won’t feel unsafe leaving your cats “outside” for long periods of time as long as it’s not too hot and they have lots of water to drink.

3. Deluxe cat enclosure with wooden climbers


Are you very interested in making a whole stand alone cat enclosure for your cats but you also think you’d like to take things one step further add some features inside the enclosure that will help your cats more thoroughly enjoy the time they spend outside? Then we have a feeling this awesome cat run idea that features safe, enclosed wooden platforms that extend around the yard might be the best bet for you! Gourmet Paper Mache guides you through the process of mapping out, mounting, and enclosing a series of “runways” all around the fenced part of your yard outside the main enclosed area.

4. Wooden frame enclosure with wall climbers and chairs for sitting


Perhaps you’re a huge fan of the climbers idea but you’re just not sure you have the space in your backyard to build an enclsoure and runway system that’s quite so big? Well, there’s nothing saying you can’t just stick to building an outdoor structure that features climbing platforms only on the inside! Hugh Cabot shows you how they used a few wooden blanks and some wide grid chicken wire to create a room that will keep your cats safe while still letting them climb around and enjoy the fresh air.

5. Fence mounted cat run around the yard


Are you scrolling through our list to look at more ideas but you’re actually still thinking about how much you liked the idea of building your cats a series of fun, enclosed runs that they can actually run around the whole yard, you’re just not sure you want to make them extend from a whole other structure? Then maybe it would work best for your yard to build those runs as a stand alone idea! That’s exactly what Cuckoo 4 Design did here and they outlined it step by step for you to follow!

6. All seasons cat habitat with jump boards


Do you actually live in a place that has a pretty temperate climate, so you don’t experience too much change all year round and that means you’re interested in in building a cat enclosure that will actually work in all seasons? In that case, we’d absolutely suggest taking a look at how Instructables did just that. Their cat house is open on the sides so the kitties can feel a cool breeze but it’s also raise off the ground so that when things to get colder, the cats aren’t walking and laying on the chilly dirt itself. We also like that the enclosure circles a window of the house so the cats can go in and out between the two as they please!

7. Cat tower with a bridge to your home


Are you actually a very handy carpenter with a lot of experience building simple structures like cat enclosures, so you’re actually thinking about building something a little fancier than what you’ve seen so far because you’re feeling up for a challenge? In that case, we have a feeling you’ll feel pretty intrigued by this fantastic cat tower that’s built complete with its own bridges that lead around the yard and back to the house! Get the full instructions for building a version of your own from Sky Valley Chronicle.

8. Window box cat veranda


Have you actually been scrolling through our list and hoping to come across a much smaller cat enclosure idea that would work for a much smaller home because you live in an apartment or town house that has no yard? Then maybe you’d have more success creating a little “cat house” that just attaches to the window like a gardening window box instead! Catio Spaces guides you step by step through the process of building a window mounted cat enclosure that’s completely safe and escape proof.

9. Garden gates balcony catio


Have you actually got a balcony full of sun and plants that you’re convinced would make a perfect cat hangout if only it were safer for them to be on without escaping or getting hurt? Well, we’d argue that there’s no point in building a completely new, independent cat enclosure if you can work with something you’ve already got! Take a look at how Catbitats used gate pieces to transform their entire balcony into a place that’s safe and comfortable for both themselves and their cats to spend time in during warm weather.

10. Large outdoor cat jungle gym


If you’re a handy person, building a simple wood and mesh or wire enclosure might not sound like a very big challenge, but it also might not necessarily sound like the most fun for you since it doesn’t really push the boundaries of your skills. That’s why we thought this adorable enclosure that features a cat tower was so interesting! Cuckoo 4 Design shows you how to build the bridge at the right angle and affix the smaller enclosure on the top of the tower so that there are no holes or weak spots where your cats might escape or where anything else might get in with your furry friends.

11. Cat proof fence topper run


If you’re going to build a fence mounted cat run, would you prefer to have it set around the very top because you also have dogs, so you’d like to give your cats an outdoor place to enjoy themselves all on their own every once in a while? In that case, we think you’ll find the fence-top, wire framed runway idea featured on Brandon Emerich very intriguing! This project is actually a great one because it’s surprisingly quick and simple to make for how intricately put together it looks.

12. Garden gate cat cottage


Have you actually been scrolling through our list and thinking about how you’re just not sure all these wire-heavy enclosure designs are quite right for you because you’ve taken a lot of care to cultivate a cute, cottage inspired aesthetic in your home and yard? Well, we know that safety is a lot more important than looks when it comes to building something like an outdoor cat run, but that doesn’t mean you can’t alter the outside a little to make the whole thing fit in at least a little. We’d suggest taking a look at how Damson Cottage Garden built a cat enclosure using netting and garden gates rather than wire mesh.

13. Wood frame and strong netting cat room


Just in case you’re interested in a non-wire option but you’re not really picky about adding a cottage aesthetic, here’s a simplified tutorial that will teach you how to make just the inside of the enclosure using a wooden frame and netting for the tops and sides! E-Blue Jays walks you step by step through the process of building a soft sided cat enclosure big enough that you can include a comfortable chair for yourself to use when you feel like sitting out in the yard with your furry friends.

14. Tree branch cat enclosure


Did you cats actually used to be outdoor cats and you can tell that they miss running around in the grass and climbing trees, but it’s just not safe for them to do so in your new neighbourhood since you moved? Then perhaps building them a safe outdoor enclosure that includes some tree branches for them to sleep in and climb on would make them the happiest! That sounds like a lofty goal, but Cuckoo 4 Design is here to help you out with the whole idea form beginning to end.

15. Window platform cat room


We’ve already talked about a number of different window mounted cat enclosure ideas for smaller places, but what if you like the basic idea of that even though your home is larger and you have to account for a lot more space? In that case, we’d suggest taking a look at how Dawicce Woman create a raised cat run on the side of their full sized house, accounting for the full length of their window so their cat can get in and out at whim.