We have 5 indoor cats. They have their own room, in our home, with 2 cat condos & 3 automatic litter boxes. They very generously share it with my desk, computer & filing cabinet. In order to give them "safe" access to the outside, we built them a two room outdoor kennel, connected to our house. We have several bird feeders around for them to watch (sort of like kitty TV).
1. In the back wall of "their" room is a pet door.
2. Attached to the pet door, on the outside is a walkway the size of the door, enclosed with chicken wire, which attaches to an entry hole cut in the kennel wire.
3. Attached to the walkway is a 2" X 6" X 5' long board, covered with sisal rope descending to the ground inside the kennel.
4. The kennel has two rooms constructed by erecting two 7'W X 13' L X 6'H dog kennels.
5. A secure roof is made by constructing 2 sections of roof, per room, 8' X 4' of 2" X 2" wood frame & 1 sheet of corrugated PVC plastic cut in 2 sections & attached to the roof to allow water to flow off the roof.
6. These two sections are attached in the center of each room to form the pitched roof. A section of pipe, like the kennel frame, is attached to the top of the kennel frame with risers, making the center of the roof about 8" taller than the sides, allowing for the pitch of the roof. The roof sections are attached by strapping the frame of each roof section to the center pipe with long electrical ties.
7. Since the pitch in the roof leaves openings at each end, between the roof & the kennel top rail, a plastic mesh material is attached in the opening to prevent escape. ;-)
Cats love to climb trees, so, sections of cut tree limbs are configured in each room of the kennel to give them trees to climb & allowing space on each where they can lay & watch their outside world around them. Also in the kennel is a perch with scratching posts.
I designed two outside condos made of plastic dairy crates that will be weatherproof. Sides were cut out to make tunnels through which the cats can walk and then ascend to the next level. The first condo is four levels high. Each level has at least one crate on the end where a cat can lay. They can also lay inside each crate forming the tunnel. Since dairy crates have no solid sides, to each horizontal exposed crate surface I have attached a square piece of plastic with a square of outdoor carpet glued to it. This gives them the solid surface on which to walk or lay. The condos are created by strapping the crates together with electrical ties. These are strong and will last indefinitely.
If you're not up to this type of construction, from scratch, consider one of our Premium Outdoor Cat Enclosures These are made of weather resistant, high quality materials, built to last for years. Sizes and designs vary but there should be one for any household. There's even some that include a large cat tree and other accessories such as food and water bowls, perches, and even a "chute" for entrance from a window or pet door.
PLEASE give some serious thought to providing an outside habitat for your indoor cats where they can safely, securely investigate the outdoor wonders they crave.
The author, Pat Lemmons, is a 66 year old woman who has owned cats for 10 years, knows cats and operates a retail web site for cat products. http://www.kittystoreonline.com