The benefits of outdoor cat enclosures – Part 1

Outdoor cat safety is one issue most cat owners do not think about. You get a new cat or kitten. Provide some cat toys and think this will satisfy your new pet. Then you discover that your cat wants to go outside. He has been sitting looking out the window. Trying to get some fresh air and sunshine. So you let him out. I have done this in the past with a new cat, so I know the feeling.

Then you discover he has not come home. Maybe missing for several days. Or, if he does come home, he is injured.

The dangers that await a cat left roaming on his own are endless.

Antifreeze leaking from a parked car, a neighbor who dislikes cats digging in her garden beds, dogs, garage doors left open to air out that may contain rodent products or other pesticides, and on and on.

Other cats. Cats are territorial and if not neutered, cat fights erupt.

Depending on where you live, coyotes are a huge threat to a cat’s safety. Coyotes can run 60 miles per hour and will eat anything. A cat is no match for the coyote’s swiftness.

The answer to this problem is a cat enclosure. This environment provides safety while allowing your new pet to be outside and safe at the same time. Enjoying fresh air and sunshine.

Once you have a design for your new enclosure, you can begin thinking about what to put in it.

The possibilities are endless.

Cat shelves can be built into the sides of the enclosure or built like a picnic table for perching. An old ladder, properly anchored into the ground provides a great area for climbing and perching, since cats really enjoy heights.

The garden area can be planted with plants that are not poisonous to cats.

Plants to grow for a cat include: catmint, catnip, thyme, sage, parsley,chickweed, lawn grass, wheat or oat cereal grass.

Finding catnip plants in the nursery or local home depot is costly. The best way is to start your own catnip plants.

First, find some quality catnip seeds. Do a Google search and you can find some that come in quantity of 1/4 oz and more. Since not all the seeds will germinate, it’s best to place many seeds in each pot.

Moisten a bag of seed germinating potting soil so it is moist but not soaking.

Put the moistened soil in several small plastic pots. Take a pencil and make 1/8″ holes. Using a plastic spoon, put several seeds in each hole. Since catnip germinates in darkness, cover all seeded holes with moist soil.

Cover all your pots with plastic wrap. Cover with a towel.

Germinating takes about 2 weeks. Also, catnip does not require heat to germinate.

Every day, take off the plastic tops and moisten with the spray bottle. Soil must be kept moist for germinating to take place.

After about 10 days to 14 days, the little green shoots will appear.

Your pots are ready to be placed in a south window.

Catnip is very hardy once established. Once it is moved to the garden area, it will produce beautiful purple blossoms about mid summer.

It will reseed itself over time and continue to spread in your garden.

There are many resources on the Internet to build your own cat enclosure. It does not have to be fancy or huge for that matter.

One key element to the success of your enclosure is to provide a pet door. Your new pet can come and go as he pleases.

Pet doors come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some fit into a traditional door or even a sliding door.

Once your enclosure is up, you can let your new cat or kitten out with peace of mind.

Everyone benefits from this action.

Your animal gets the benefit of the outdoors. You get peace of mind knowing he is safe.

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