How To Keep Your Cats In Your Garden

keep your cats in your garden with a home made roller bar

and keep the neighbourhood Tom cats out!

I’ve just had a comment left by Bella from Australia who went into detail explaining how she made sure her cats couldn’t escape from her garden and just as importantly, ensured the local Toms couldn’t get in. Here it is….

Perhaps I can help a few of you….I’ve just spent the summer cat proofing my yard, wanting to keep my two female cats in and the three tommies out! My cats are HIV free so I want to keep them in the garden so they don’t get infected and I don’t want them in other people’s yards. (If only other cat owners were this responsible! Bob)

I’ve made many roll bars. 25mm pvc piping becomes your friend, you don’t need any thicker.

keep your cats in your garden with a home made roller bar

Purchase end caps and drill small holes dead centre in the end caps. Force through the small hole a thick stainless steel nail with a decent size head. Epoxy it from the inside of the cap or use clear pvc cement glue. Purchase some 50mm L brackets and drill a hole slightly larger than the nail you used in the end cap.

Install your brackets, put your end caps on your pvc pipe cut to desired length and the nail becomes the pivot roll…cats won’t walk along its length and if they are placed horizontally infront of fence, gate or shed roof then they can’t get over because their paws hit the roll bars before finding the firm surface of the fence top causing them to spin back.

This also works for dogs too. In the United States they call them Coyote Roll Bars which is where I got the idea. My cats can’t access any tops of anything because the roll bars stop them. You dont have to place them on top of the fence (so neighbours can’t complain if they look odd) place them horizontally just under the tops and your cats cannot get out of your garden.

For gabled sheds where its hard to have anything roll or pivot because of the slope, just use small pvc piping along the lengths attached with cable ties. The smaller the better. I’ve also used curtain conduit. Cats won’t walk along anything small in diameter and round….I’ve painted all mine to match sheds, fences etc so you don’t notice them. I have then on opening gate tops too.

This will keep cats in your garden… now how to keep roaming cats out if you have placed your roll bars horizontally level with your fence tops but not on top of them?

My secret weapon…..VASELINE.

Cats hate, absolutely hate vaseline on their paws and they only have to walk along a vaselined area once and they will not be back. It won’t hurt them, in fact it will be good for their fur balls lol, but apply in cooler months because in summer heat it will melt fairly rapidly ( I think we may be safe here in the UK) and it’s not the best for paintwork or timber.

But given its something you only have to apply in trouble zones a few times its worth it. I applied a really thick layer with my plastic cooking spatula, really smeared it on.. Its cheap too.. and don’t use other greases, even if they are more heat tolerant like the automotive type as they could be toxic to cats.

It will keep rats and mice out too. It also stops the pigeons from perching along the tops. This keeps the local tom cats from walking along the tops of my colorbond fencing capping. Works an absolute treat!

In other areas I have clear plastic bird spikes glued on with liquid nails. These I have placed facing outwards towards my yard not upwards….I put these half way up and also along the top edge of my latticed fence areas. It keeps them from climbing over the top. They are very flexible and I use them as collars half way up my trees so they can’t climb them.

I’ve also used 50mm green garden wire mesh and have learnt the hard way not to install wire mesh too tauntly…one of my cats was able to scale it…so I loosened it off and that put an end to that. Cats hate flimsy vertical things. And if your roll bars wobble a bit, don’t worry, cats hate wobbles too 🙂

I made a really tall pvc gate to block cats from entering from behind my large shed … I used lengths of 32mm pvc with matching elbows and T pieces then attached 50mm garden netting with heaps of cable ties all along the length.

I hinged it using bolts with washes both sides so as not to pull though the pvc and it was an inexpensive fix for an area that couldnt take the weight of timber and it allows sun through to my veggie area and now no cats can get in or out. I spray painted in satin black before installing it and you would swear it was a heavy galv mesh wire fence but its really light and so easy to open. I used liquid nails to glue sections of timber to the side of my iron fence to take the hinges.

One of the tom cats slipped off the fence capping from the vaseline and could not get out my yard being now so cat proof. I had to open my side gate and shoo him out…poor thing, he was in such a panic, but he learnt pretty quickly as cats do…he hated the vaseline and he knows he cannot get out even if he could get back in. I haven’t seen him since.

I hope some of what I have shared helps somebody keeps their darling cats in their garden and the unwanted ones out.

Thanks so much for sharing Bella and if anyone else has any proven methods of keeping cats in their garden as well as keeping the local tom cats out please share them here.


A retired engineer, nowadays I spend my time gardening, reading and writing here at Cats Away

One thought on “How To Keep Your Cats In Your Garden

  1. I wonder whether anyone has tried a wire or string stretched taut 10 – 15cm above the top of a fence, this idea was given on the RSPB website.
    I’m thinking of using some long vine eyes screwed into the top of the fence then threading pvc coated galvanized garden wire through them and stretching it with a tensioner.

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