Fence on top of a fence to keep the cat in the yard


I would like to be able to let my cat go into the backyard, but no further. I have seen on the Internet that it is possible to install a “cat fence” on top of a regular wooden fence to prevent a cat from climbing over. Some are made of mesh; others, of different materials that you roll out. Some are installed at a right angle to the fence and face into the yard kind of like an overhang so the cat absolutely cannot scale over it. What is your opinion of these fence extensions? Are they effective? Can they be harmful to the cat?

Anne Colbert
Portland, Oregon

Dear Ms. Colbert,

A fence topper can potentially be a good solution for allowing a cat to go outdoors without getting away. You will want to keep the following in mind before deciding whether to install one.

  • A fence in general is a better safeguard for a mellow cat than an adventurer. Cats who want to break out of the “prison yard” will work very hard and persistently to scale the perimeter and keep looking for a weakness in the system that will allow them to escape. In the end, your security system may be no match for their agility and ability to squeeze through tight spaces.
  • Because cats are such Houdinis, the fence and the top part that you add on have to extend the entire length and width of the enclosure. If there is a gate or some other interruption in the fencing, a cat on the move will make a bee line for it.
  • The fence that already borders the perimeter of your property should be at least 6 feet high. Cats are amazing leapers, and once they jump to the top of a fence, they can work very hard to cling to the mesh or other material of the fence topper and scale their way over and around.
  • No matter how good the fence and no matter how chill your cat, you should always be out there with him. If a raptor flies into the yard, it could attack and kill your pet.
    Other animals might be able to get in, too. Just because a cat topper on your fence will keep your feline
    from escaping, it doesn’t guarantee that wild animals won’t be able to breach the perimeter from the other side. They all have their own physical capabilities.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here