Is There A Fence That Cats Can’T Climb?

Many pet owners want to let their cats enjoy the outdoors, while still keeping them safely contained within their property. Unfortunately, cats are agile climbers that can easily scale fences and other barriers intended to keep them in the yard. According to the more recent survey on cat containment, 67% of cat owners want to contain their cats but struggle with preventing them from escaping over or under fences. With proper planning and deterrents, it may be possible to have an outdoor cat that respects the boundaries of the yard.

Standard Fencing Materials

When choosing a fence material to keep cats contained, some of the most common options include wood, chain link, vinyl, and wire fencing. Each material has pros and cons for cat containment:

Wood Fencing

Wood fences like cedar and redwood are attractive but can also enable climbing with the slats and post tops. Cats can grip the wood grain and boost themselves up and over. Treating wood with linseed oil or polyurethane can make it more slippery and harder to climb (1).

Chain Link Fencing

Chain link is an affordable option but it provides excellent claw holds, making it easy for cats to climb. Get chain link with small, tight links to reduce grip. Add plastic mesh along the top to make it harder to scale (2).

Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl and PVC fencing is low maintenance but still easy for cats to climb with the horizontal supports. Look for vinyl with closely spaced, flat pickets to reduce paw holds (3).

Wire Fencing

Welded wire fence with small square gaps can deter climbing but may snag your cat’s claws or fur. Look for tighter mesh of 1”x1” or less (4). The very taut horizontal wires make climbing challenging.

No standard fence material is completely cat-proof, but considerations like removing climbing holds, smoothing the surface, and eliminating top rails can help. Proper height is also key – 5-6 feet minimum deters most felines.


Tips for Deterring Cats from Climbing

There are some simple tips and tricks you can use to make your existing fence more challenging for cats to climb. One popular option is installing “coyote rollers” along the top of the fence. These are rounded plastic or metal rods that spin when a cat tries to gain purchase, causing them to fall (Source). You can buy commercial kits or make your own DIY rollers.

Another deterrent is using a lean-in fence design. By angling the top portion of the fence inward at a 45 degree angle, cats are unable to perch on top before jumping down. Greenery like thorny rose bushes or prickly holly bushes planted around the perimeter can also obstruct access and discourage climbing (Source).

Electric Fences

Electric fences use a mild electric current to deter cats from climbing or jumping over a fence. The fence has thin wires that deliver a harmless but startling shock when touched. This trains the cat to avoid the fence altogether.

Electric fences work by having a transmitter send pulses of electricity through the wires. The current is very low, usually around 3,000 to 5,000 volts. But because it is pulsed, the amperage is only a few milliamperes. This is enough to startle but not harm the cat (source).

The main pros of electric cat fences are that they are very effective at keeping cats within a designated area. The shock teaches most cats to avoid the fence within a few encounters. Electric fences can also be installed alongside existing fencing or walls to add another layer of deterrence (source).

The biggest downside is that some cats may still try to challenge the fence, resulting in repeated shocks. Proper training is essential to teach the cat the fence boundaries. There is also a small risk of injury if the cat becomes entangled in the wires while fleeing from a shock.

Overall, electric fences can be a good option for safely confining cats to an outdoor area. However, they require effort to properly install and train the cat. Consulting with a professional can help ensure correct use of an electric fence system.

Enclosed Cat Runs

Enclosed cat runs are fully-enclosed outdoor spaces that allow cats to enjoy the outdoors safely. These cat enclosures provide many benefits, including:

  • Allowing cats to get fresh air and exercise
  • Protecting cats from potential dangers like cars, predators, toxins, and more
  • Providing stimulation and enrichment for indoor cats

Cat runs can be fully customized to your cat’s needs. They come in many shapes, sizes and materials. Some key considerations when shopping for an enclosed cat run include:

  • Size – ideally at least 8 feet by 8 feet to allow for exercise
  • Materials – sturdy materials like metal, wood or plastic that cannot be chewed through or climbed
  • Access – a cat door for easy access in and out of the house
  • Entertainment – shelves, tunnels, scratching posts and toys
  • Shade – a roof or shaded section to protect from the elements

With the right enclosed cat run, your feline friend can safely experience the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors. Quality cat enclosures allow security and entertainment in one complete package.

To learn more, check out these helpful resources: Outdoor Cat Enclosures

DIY Booby-Traps

There are a number of creative DIY booby-traps you can use to deter cats from climbing your fence. These involve setting up motion-activated devices or unstable items along the top of the fence that will startle or unsettle cats when triggered.

Motion-activated sprayers are a popular option – these can be attached to the top of the fence and activated when a cat’s movement is detected. They will spray the cat with harmless but unpleasant substances like water or compressed air. Just the noise and sensation is usually enough to deter cats from continuing to climb. You can purchase commercial motion-activated cat deterrent sprayers, or make your own using everyday items like pop bottles, motion sensors, and an air compressor or water line.1

Placing unstable items like cans filled with pebbles, loose poles, or wobbly boards along the fence top can also deter cats. When a cat attempts to balance on these items, the noise and movement will scare them off. You can get creative with the materials – just ensure they are harmless but very noisy and unsteady when stepped on by a curious climbing cat.

The key with DIY booby-traps is ensuring they are harmless to cats, but trigger an unpleasant enough sensation to condition cats not to climb. Consistency is important so cats learn the fence top is an undesirable place to trespass.

Smart Technology

In recent years, technology companies have developed automated devices and training collars to help deter cats from climbing fences. These “smart” devices utilize motion sensors, sounds, and safe but surprising stimuli to discourage unwanted cat behaviors.

One example is the High Tech Pet Scat Mat, which can be placed along the top of a fence. When the cat steps on the mat, it triggers mild but startling vibrations through the cat’s paws. This conditions the cat to avoid climbing up to the mat area. The mat can be used alone or paired with an electronic training collar for additional deterrence through sounds or vibrations.

For cats that are persistent climbers, products like the High Tech Pet Yard & Park training collar may be an option. This waterproof collar detects when the cat approaches the fence perimeter. It then emits an ultrasonic tone followed by a safe but surprising static correction if the cat continues moving forward. The intensity is adjustable and the collar uses progressive correction levels tailored to each cat’s temperament.

While smart devices require an initial investment, they can provide an effective high-tech deterrent for cats prone to climbing fences. With proper introduction and training, they discourage the unwanted behavior without harming the cat.


A popular option for containing cats safely while allowing them outdoor time is to build a catio. Catios are cat patios – screened-in enclosures that allow cats to experience the outdoors from the security of an enclosed space. Catios can be freestanding structures, attached enclosures, or DIY conversions of existing porches or patios. The benefit of catios is they protect cats from cars, predators, fights with other cats, and getting lost while still providing enrichment.

Catios should have a solid floor, usually concrete or decking. The walls and roof should be screened in with materials like welded wire or steel mesh that cats can’t destroy. Some catios incorporate solid walls or panels for parts that don’t need screening. The enclosure should be large enough for a litter box, food/water, scratching posts, cat trees, and toys. Some cat owners even outfit catios with fountains, plants, and bird feeders for entertainment. For safety, catios should have a latching door owners can pass through and any gaps should be smaller than a cat head.

There are lots of creative catio design ideas to suit any home, budget or space. Catios allow pet owners to give their cats a taste of the outdoors without the risks of letting them roam unsupervised.

Concluding Advice

Based on the research, the top recommendations for cat fences that prevent climbing include installed cat fencing extensions such as those from Purrfect Fence, adding cat-proof fencing rollers, and building fully enclosed outdoor cat runs (Purrfect Fence). The key is using a system designed specifically to prevent cat climbing and escape. While DIY options like plastic shields or spike strips may look effective, they can be hazardous and lead to injuries.

When choosing any containment system, cat owners must prioritize their pet’s safety and wellbeing. Look for humane, ethical products that will not harm your cat if they come into direct contact. Proper installation is also critical, so work with reputable companies or experts in cat fencing. With the right barrier method in place, both indoor and outdoor cats can enjoy their outdoor time without the risk of escape.


This content was researched and written using the following primary sources:

Additional research was conducted using pet owner forums and videos demonstrating cat deterrent ideas. All information and recommendations are based on the authors own expertise and analysis.

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