My back patio is nestled between the back part of the house on the left, and the workshop built onto the back of the garage on the right. Try to visualize a squared letter “U.”
I installed freestanding chain-link fencing around the patio (the kind you use for self-contained dog enclosures) so that the cats could go out on the patio and enjoy the sun and chase leaves flying around and do whatever cats do. The patio is roughly 18 feet by 18 feet, allowing the cats a lot of room to mosey around, bask in the sun, graze on grass that pokes through the bottom of the chain links, and just overall enjoy being outside, while keeping them contained and safe.
I found a panel that can be installed in a sliding patio door, that has a pet flap at the bottom. It was perfect! The cats could come and go at will, out onto the enclosed patio.
This was probably the first bad idea, in hindsight. Sadie was snagging critters through the fence, and then would bring them in. Squirrels. Chippies. Baby bunnies. Voles. Mice. Snakes. I moved the fence along the grass back away from the grass, about 6 inches away, which seriously reduced that issue (we only had 2 critters this year as opposed to more than a dozen last year before we moved the fence).
In less than an hour, his first time out on the patio, he climbed the fence, and he was gone. *POOF* From that point on, I kept the pet flap closed off with it’s door until I could figure something out.
I invested in that white wire shelving you get for closets, some brackets, and some wood, and mounted the shelving on TOP of the fence – proving I was smarter than the cat. He simply climbed the fence, reached out to the end of the shelving, and pulled himself up (can you say AGILE?!?!).
Next, I got those cheesy small wire fences that you just poke into the ground, mounted them upside down under the edge of the white wire shelf, creating an upside down squared off “U” because, I’m smarter than the cat.
He simply climbed the fence, reached THROUGH the gaps in the new pieces of portable fencing, pulled himself through, and he was gone. (SERIOUSLY?!?!)
Then I invested in quarter inch hardware cloth to close up the large spaces through which he had pulled himself. Because I’m smarter than the cat.
He climbed the fence, reached for the hardware cloth, hung from IT, and pulled himself up. At this point, I’ve spent over $300 trying to keep this cat on the right side of the fencing. Unsuccessfully, I might add.
So, I bought clear carpet runners, with those little spikey things on them, and spent all day Saturday and all day Sunday installing them about 4 feet up the fence, from side to side, providing a surface too slick to climb – no way he could get any purchase on that. Because I’m smarter than the cat.
In less than 5 minutes, as I stood and watched, he simply jumped PAST the runner (just higher than it went) , and pulled himself up and over like normal.
I’m now back to the drawing board. I am not smarter than this cat.The cost to reinforce this point to me has now reached about $370.
They say the definition of insanity is to do the same thing, over and over, and expect different results. Perhaps I’m ready for one of those coats with the sleeves in the back.