I want to turn my balcony into a really great cat run without spending a lot of money. I already have the netting to prevent birds from getting in and cats from getting out. Putting that up is going to be easy, but now what? What are some good ideas for a fun cat run? – WYSK Reader Nurcan Catan

NV: Hi Nurcan! As a proud cat mommy, while I’ve never built a cat run for Dexter (my rescued kitty), I sure have created outdoor spaces and know what cats like to weigh-in on this question!

Also, my fellow WYSKer (kitty pun intended), understanding that you want to keep it easy and inexpensive, my cat run DIY uses pieces from thrift stores, dollar stores, and big box home improvement centers, along with a little added imagination, to create a pimped out cat run that will make any kitty purrrr.

5 Must-Haves For A Fun & Frisky DIY Cat Run

1. A Place to Climb

  • Buy stackable crates and place them upside down in a configuration to create steps. Join them together with zip-ties. Be sure the bottoms of the crates don’t have holes in them that paws could get stuck in.
  • Find a used or inexpensive deep-stepped stepladder and make a perfect catladder. Apply peel-and-stick outdoor carpet tiles to each step–they can easily be cut to size.


2. A Place to Curl-Up and Hide

A used or inexpensive outdoor chair is a perfect place to curl-up and hide. Place an outdoor cushion in the seat, and for hiding under the chair, tuck an outdoor heated kitty pad on the ground between the chair legs.

3. Scratching Post

Wrap a piece of artificial grass or exterior carpet…or tightly wind a rope (3/8” sisal rope works great) around a rectangular piece of exterior grade plywood. (Find carpet remnants and wood from the lumber scrap bin at your big-box home improvement store). Secure the carpet of your choice with a staple gun and for the rope, use exterior grade adhesive to glue as you go. Lean it up against any wall or secure railing for a claw loving scratching board.

4. Kitty Herbs

Place pots and/or a small raised garden bed around your cat run, filled with some favorite cat-safe herbs like catnip, lemon grass, cat grass, and valerian.

5. Proper Potty

Don’t let your kitty make a corner of the cat run his new place to potty. For an inexpensive litter box with a secure lid for outdoors, you can easily make one out of a storage bin, like a Rubbermaid Roughneck. Trace the opening on one of the smaller ends and cut it out with a sharp utility knife, rotary tool, or jigsaw (use a blade made to cut plastic). Be sure to place the opening facing a wall to ensure driving rain doesn’t get inside the box.

Hopefully these tips have inspired your feline fun imagination. I bet once you get started you’ll come up with other creative and inexpensive ideas of your own. Just remember to use products that will hold up outdoors!

Norma sig

Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!

If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of next week’s Fix-It Friday column.

Add your question to the comments section below or email it to Women You Should Know.

Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.