Outdoor enclosures- pictures wanted! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-23-2008, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Outdoor enclosures- pictures wanted!

At some point within the next year, I'm getting a kennel for the dogs to be able to be outside securely for short-moderate (up to a few hours) periods of time on nice days... probably will be a prefab. welded wire type, as they've got a reputation for being more sturdy than chainlink, and it will have a wire roof as well. At present time, I'm not sure about flooring, I don't really want to pour a concrete pad, in case we decide to move it at some point, but by the same token, I want the kennel to be secure since one of my dogs is a digger. I'm presently leaning towards putting sidewalk tiles (square tiles usually 2" or so thick and about 2' wide) around at least the edge of the kennel, maybe the whole floor, though I think the dogs would prefer to have some grass, it could also become a muddy mess... we'll see. The kennel itself will be anchored to the ground, probably use turnbuckles anchored in cement on the sides/corners, so that any slack due to ground deformation can be taken up, but it can still be moved relatively easy without trashing the yard. In any case, the kennel itself will be of sturdy contruction, and I'm going to chain/lock the door to prevent anyone from letting the occupants out without permission. I was thinking that it would be nice if I added a cat tree (something made with real wood, carpet would get nasty if it got wet) and some other stuff (seeing as the dogs will not be using the area 4-5 ft off the ground, I could have a whole cat playground suspended in there if I wanted ), then P can go out as well.

I do have a few questions/concerns... we have some stray cats in the area, as well as roaming dogs. Our yard is, for the most part, not fenced (we had two smallish areas fenced, and will likely be replacing that fence, but the kennel probably won't be in them)... what can I do to combat roaming animals harassing my confined ones? I'm currently thinking that I can install a cheap goat panel and stake fence about 3 ft out from the kennel to create a buffer area, or maybe put sheet metal or plywood around the bottom couple feet of the kennel (but then my dogs will be unable to see out, I don't want them bored). Is it a huge concern if other cats try to come over and "meet" P through the kennel? Gut instinct says I don't want unvaccinated, roaming cats anywhere near her, but I don't know exactly what dangers animals just sniffing her through a fence can pose (I'm guessing a URI could be transmitted, what about leukemia and FIV?).

If I use concrete as the flooring of the kennel, is it safe to have a catwalk, tree, etc several feet off the ground? I know cats can tolerate falls from fairly high distances, but don't want to risk injury having her jump/fall onto a surface with no give. And if any of you have outdoor enclosures, do you have big cushy beds, or just let the cats find their own spot to lay? What temperatures are ok for a primarily indoor cat to be out in?

And if anyone has photos of your cats' outdoor areas, I'd appreciate seeing them, I've seen a couple nice ones, but still looking for ideas
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-23-2008, 07:36 PM
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Re: Outdoor enclosures- pictures wanted!

In California, my husband built a wooden frame and we attached chicken wire to it and had it attached to a window of the house. Great for the kitties, terrible for flies. Ugh!

Here in Georgia I've used a wire dog crate, about 4'x6' and 4' tall for the cats. Reilly used it the most. He was out every day that was above 55* and not windy/rainy. I'll probably refurbish it this winter with new paint add some perches and use it in the spring, putting 2-3 out at a time for a few hours of fresh air and a little sunshine.

For your kennel, since you have a digger and don't want to pour a pad...how about the 4'x6' rubber stall mats at the feed store? Those are pretty heavy, I have to work to 'fold' it in half and grab at the folded sides to drag to where I want it. Laying flat, it would be almost impossible for a dog to get under the heavy edge enough to really dig, or even bite/chew on it. It would also provide cushion for the kitty to jump/fall.
The only real problem I see with it is in full sunshine. The mats are black and I don't know how hot they would get. You could possibly cover the roof of the kennel, or at least a portion...

I don't think stray cats would approach your dogs and cat when the dogs are in the kennel. If you are very concerned, you could place a mild hot-wire around the bottom edge of your kennel.



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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Outdoor enclosures- pictures wanted!

I had had some reservations about putting the dogs and cat out together, though the small dogs (the only ones who are allowed around P- the bigger dog wants to eat her) are all at least ok with her, and they would have enough space to stay away from each other. I suppose I can let them in together only when I'm out to keep an eye on them, maybe just her and her buddy dog at first, then add the other two.... she's not used to being out by herself, and you're right about other animals approaching while the dogs are out, at least we would know if they did, since one dog is a big alarm barker. I think I'd feel comfortable letting her in with my Dachshund, but would have to see how she does with the other two, as I know even cats who are used to dogs can sometimes act like prey towards them, and even dogs who don't normally chase cats (the other two dogs have very low prey drive, but you never know) can sometimes be convinced to give chase in the right situation.

The flooring situation is a tough one for me, our "big" dog is an APBT, and we've had a few others shuffle through from my work (vet clinic, everyone there knows I've got the bully breed connections, so I usually wind up involved when we have one there in need of home) for a visit to test house manners, etc... which would be much easier if I also had a secure place to put them for some down time for our own guys. They are strong dogs, and have a reputation for being super destructive/terrific escape artists, especially when they've been kenneled long term and are bored out of their minds due to lack of hard exercise. Couple that with a propensity for high prey drive and sometimes animal aggression, and I want to be sure it is totally escape proof before I put any dog other than my lazy bums in there. I'm thinking stall mats would be great for on top of the cement though, or some other type of high density rubber matting, as we don't really have any farm stores nearby. We're also kind of in a high drainage area- basically all the water from our block drains onto our side of the block, and tends to run down our driveway, through our yard to the bay, so I definitely can't dig down for the floor, will have to pick a level spot, then lay the stones, then whatever on top of that... or build a little "shore up" with 2x4s, then fill it with soil to raise the floor, then lay the stones, but I'm worried as it settles, it'll become uneven.

I've been looking for some "natural wood" cat trees, and most I've found use cedar... is this really the best type of wood to use? We have a pretty steady supply of driftwood, and I like that it's light, and pretty "clean" for wood. It's not the toughest wood around, but I think P's more interested in quick destruction of rather than getting a lifetime of use out of any given item anyway

ETA: P must be pretty wimpy though, as it's been in the low 60s the last few days, and she's not really keen on staying out long in that weather... got her a little jacket since she won't really have much chance to develop a winter coat, but of course, she likes than even less!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 12:21 PM
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Re: Outdoor enclosures- pictures wanted!

Quote:
Originally Posted by P
It's [driftwood] not the toughest wood around, but I think P's more interested in quick destruction of rather than getting a lifetime of use out of any given item...
I think cedar is okay. My childhood cat loved my redwood bedroom door and scratched a spot on it. In the home I grew up in, the doors were built like barn doors; three slabs of 2"x10" planks connected with a "Z" brace. I also like the idea of using driftwood. You could treat it as 'habitat enrichment' by rotating pieces in/out of the enclosure and changing the branch configuration. If you have tall enough platforms that are easy for the cat to get to, I think she'd be okay with Doxies, even if they did get a little too aggressive. As long as the cat has a safe place to retreat away from the dogs, she should be okay.



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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 03:41 PM
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Re: Outdoor enclosures- pictures wanted!

Here's a nice looking one, found on Photobucket.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 08:16 PM
 
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Re: Outdoor enclosures- pictures wanted!

That is sooooo cool! I'm afraid it would probably go against my neighborhood development's covenant of restrictions though....
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 08:58 PM
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Re: Outdoor enclosures- pictures wanted!

Attach it to the house, make a wooden deck floor on part of it, and call it a screened-in porch.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 11:38 PM
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Re: Outdoor enclosures- pictures wanted!

Here are a few I always post. There are styles in several price ranges, depending on how much work you do yourselves.

http://www.animalnetwork.com/cats/enclosure.asp




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