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The Cedar Cat Pen & Tunnel:

homemade cat pen in winter

The pen and tunnel in winter. There is a cat (Mom) in the tunnel, just entering the pen. People were more taken with this pen and tunnel than anything else I made. I had strangers stop in, who were driving by to their cottages, who asked if they could take pictures.

Need for Pens

When I lived in the woods in Central Ontario, Canada, I wanted to make a pen that the cats could use to go in and out on their own, that was very strong and secure. It was done in three phases. First phase, was to put the hole in the wall and use a steel dog cage attached to the wall. Second phase, was to make a proper pen that went with the feel of the cabin. Third phase, was to make a big log pen far from the cabin so the cats could be outside and have a sense of independence.

I've made a lot of differnt things in my life, but very little brought as much joy to me as this cat pen & tunnel system. The cats loved it. I loved it. I was very sad when I had to leave it behind when I moved back to the city.

Stage 1

first cat pen

Stage one of the cat pen program complete. This was a dog cage screwed to the wall, with ropes to steady it. There had been a window where you see the parged cement inside the stone surfaced wall section where the pen is. This window was not in a good location, so it was filled in, and a hole to the outside installed for the cats to come and go as they pleased night or day, any season. I hung two layers of heavy cloth to act as doors to keep the cold air out. It worked fine. The Tuxedo cat is Cornelius, and the Lynx Point Siamese is Felemur who is 18 years old in this picture. Both were "rescue" cats.

Stage 2

frame of second cat pen

The frame of the cat pen that was to replace the dog cage. This was phase two. I wanted it so strong, that no animal could pull it apart and get in it or the cabin. Screwed, not nailed together.

2nd stage cat pen in

Just finished, installed and being inspected by the foreman. The cats loved this one, and spent long hours in it.

Stage 3

stage 3 cat pen

The final cat pen, with tunnel leading to it, from the stage two cat pen on the wall. The four main verticals are white cedar logs, while the rest is all white cedar branches with 1X6" overlapping boards for a roof. The tunnel and pen are all surrounded by 1" X 1” galvanized steel mesh, overlaid with screening to keep bugs out.

cat tunnel

The tunnel connecting the pens, is made from a backbone of an “S” shaped white cedar log bolted to posts and both pens, with 14” sections of cedar branches screwed to the backbone, with 1" X 1” steel wire and screen looped over. The cats loved being in the tunnel as much as the pen.

cat pen screening

I used heavy duty galvanized 1X1” metal to keep the bigger animals out, and screening to keep the bugs out. There was a locked trap door in the floor I used to get inside to clean it out. It was so nice in there, and bug free (being made of cedar helped that), that I used to have a nap inside it with the cats the odd time after cleaning it on a nice day.

The Making of Stage 2

homemade cat pen

I made the stage 2 pen in the Red Pine plantation that was at the end of the yard. I wanted it to be really strong, so I made it entirely out of 2X4's that were screwed together - there was not a single nail used.

homemade cat pen

homemade cat pen

moving cat pen

When I went to move it to the cabin to install, I realized that it was too heavy to carry, so I used my truck to move it.

moving homemade cat pen

Positioning it to the right place on the back wall of the cabin.

installing homemade cat pen

installing home made cat pen to wall

cat pen on outside wall

homemade cat pen on wall

finishing homemade cat pen on wall outside

finished cat pen

I used heavy duty galvanized 1X1” metal to keep the bigger animals out, and screening to keep the bugs out. The metal grid and screen were attached with screws and large fender washers.

shingled outdoor cat pen


tuxedo cat in outdoor cat pen sleeping

Cornelius put in long hours testing it out for quality control purposes.

The Making of the Main Pen & Tunnel

Making large cat pen frame

Starting the process of the main pen. All the wood is Eastern White Cedar logged from the woods around the cabin.

cat tunnel

This shows the construction of the tunnel and the pen before the roof boards were added. The amount of work this took finding, cutting and attaching with screws every round piece of the tunnel walkway floor is hard to believe.

outdoor cat tunnel to pen

The tunnel was a skyway from the stage 2 to the stage 3 pens.

cat tunnel outdoor homemade with cedar

The cats loved the tunnel and would run up and down it over and over.

unfinished cat pen cedar

homemade cedar cat pen outdoors

home made cedar cat pen outside

tuxedo cat in cat tunnel view

From inside the main pen looking up the tunnel. This is just before the bug screening was added to the tunnel and pen.

roof homemade cat pen made from cedar

Roof boards & screen added.

tuxedo cat in outdoor cat tunnel

My 6 month old Tux girl Andi enjoying the spring apple flowers for the first time in her life - she was born the previous fall as a barn cat.

Outdoor cat pen in spring

Cat pen. Orange tabby. Tuxedo Cat. Forest cat.