It is a dilemma, you have (or want) cats, do you keep them inside or do you allow them outside? And if they are allowed outside, do they have to stay in the garden, or do you let them explore the neighborhood. There are a number of reasons why you would like to keep cats in the garden. For example, you live on a busy road or you have neighbors who don’t like cats (and you want to keep things friendly). I searched for the most common ways to keep cats safe in your garden.

Cats can be kept in the garden in various ways. The most common method is to make a fence around your entire garden, such as an electric fence system or a pulley system. You can also use a cat harness or protective net. Another option is an outdoor run for cats, which is mainly used if you have a large (er) garden.

Solution for keeping cats in the garden

There is no “best” solution for keeping your cat in the yard. It depends on the size of your yard, the age of your cats, the fence of your yard, your cat’s character, and many other factors. In addition, it is also important that you do not have plants in the garden that are toxic to cats. Below are a number of solutions for keeping cats in your garden.


System to keep cats in the garden

System for keeping cats in the garden

There are special systems on the market to keep your cat in the garden. These systems are available with and without wire. You need three things; a sender, a receiver collar, and an antenna wire. You attach the latter underground or above ground at the place where the cat is not allowed to go. For example, all-around your garden. You connect this antenna wire to the transmitter, which transmits a continuous signal at a low frequency. You put the collar on your cat, of course.

As soon as your cat approaches the boundary (antenna wire), it will hear a warning beep. If he walks even further, he gets a little shock. After a while you can adjust the system so that only a sound can be heard, the cat no longer needs a shock to know where it’s allowed to go.

There are also systems that are completely portable. These are a bit more expensive, but you can skip the step of burying the antenna wire. That saves labor.

Cat run

Cat run

You can buy a ready-made cat run or build it yourself. A cat run gives your cat, or cats, a safe place to run around outside or a place to enjoy the sun. The cat run is available in every conceivable size. Is your run, or catio, as it is also called, adjacent to the house? Then you can make a cat flap so the cat can independently go from inside to outside. You can also place the cat run against your garden shed or shed and make a shelter in the shed with a cat flap.

If you have a free-standing cat run, it is wise to buy or make one with an indoor enclosure. It allows the cats to take shelter indoors during bad weather.

Open or closed run?

A cat run can be an open run or closed run. The open run consists of four walls without a roof. The closed run has a roof of translucent PVC sheets or mesh. If you build your cat run yourself, keep in mind that PVC sheets are heavier and absorb more wind, rain, and snow, so your construction must be stronger than the version with a mesh roof.

The height of the cat run is at least 1.80 meters, so you can stand in it yourself and you can also easily clean the ceiling. The size of the house depends on the number of cats you want to house and the interior. A floor space of at least 1.5 square meters is enough for one to two cats. If your outdoor enclosure is large enough, you can also create a toilet corner, so you don’t have to place a litter box in the indoor enclosure. Make sure there is enough space for water bowls, food bowls, sunbeds, and toys. Also, put a chair in the outdoor area! Good for the cat and handy for visitors.

Interior cat run

Complete your cat run with plenty of play and climbing facilities. Think of scratching posts, boards, and climbing equipment. You can build a challenging climbing course with wooden branches and pieces of a tree trunk. That’ll keep your cat busy. At the same time, he does not have time to look for ways to escape.

Cat on a leash in the garden

Cat on a leash in the garden

The cheapest solution for keeping your cat in the garden is to use a leash in the garden, a so-called walking leash. You can buy a harness for your cat at the pet store.

Make sure the harness fits well and that it has a strap around the neck AND around the belly. There are also luxury harnesses on the market, such as extra breathable harnesses or a type of cat coat that is suitable for more restless cats. The advantage of the latter is that you do not have to pull it over the head, but can easily close it with Velcro on the neck and stomach.

First, get your cat used to the harness

  1. Step 1 First, just let him walk around with his cat harness.
  2. When your cat has mastered step 1, that is, she marches around the room undisturbed with her harness, it is time for step 2. Try to walk the cat with a short leash (120 centimeters).
  3. Is step 2 also perfect? Then you can start by letting the cat walk outside on the leash. This is also best done with a short line first and slowly switch to a longer line.

The length of the walking line obviously depends on the size of your garden. Attach the leash to a fixed point in the garden on a movable eye. The cat can move around the point in a radius the length of the walking line in a circle. The other method is to attach a line across the width or length of the yard and tie the walking line to this line with a loop so that it can move its entire length.

Note: This method is only suitable if there are not too many obstacles in the garden where the cat can get stuck. For example, if there is a tree in the middle and the cat runs around it for like 10 laps, you can imagine that it becomes entangled and can no longer escape on its own. So it is important that there is always someone around who can free the cat from its predicament.

Keep your cat in the garden with an electric fence

You can also keep your cat in the garden by enclosing your entire garden with an electric fence. When the cat touches the wire, he gets a little shock, that’ll make him think twice before trying to flee the garden again.

Keep cats in the garden with a net

Another option is to cover your entire garden with a net. This method prevents the cat to leave the garden and other animals, birds, cats, to enter your garden. This method is especially suitable for a balcony, a small garden, or a small part of your garden. You can assemble this net yourself or order custom-made nets.

Anti-climbing strips for the cat

Anti-climbing strips are pointed strips for fences, fences, walls, eaves, and gutters. These strips are flexible and cats cannot walk on them. The strips are maintenance-friendly and easy to assemble. It looks a bit like a nail mat, but flexible. They also help keep cats out of the garden, of course.

Pulley system for the garden

The last method we will discuss is the so-called pulley system. With this system, you place rotating beams or tubes on your fence, so your cat does not get a grip when it tries to climb over the fence. You can buy this system ready-made, but it is also easy to make yourself.


And, if you eventually manage to keep your cats in the garden, make sure there are no plants in the garden that are poisonous to your cat. Read more about this in the article Toxic plants for dogs and cats.