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Most kitties are happiest when they can roam outside, but most loving pet owners are understandably concerned about the potential dangers that outdoor cats face. One of your best alternatives is to install a cat tent in your yard, which provides the possibility of staying outdoors while also offering reasonable protection against predators and most other hazards.
In this article, we took some of the best outdoor cat tents that are currently for sale and put them to the test. We reviewed their quality of design, considered the choice of the material being used, and looked at how easy they were to set up and take back down. Let’s get to it!
1. Outback Jack Happy Habitat Cat Playpen Tent
This handy netted tent provides over 30 square feet of outdoor space, which is enough to house multiple cats, toys, and anything else you want to put in it. The main advantage of netted tents like this one is how easy they are to set up. We didn’t even need any tools to install it (with the included ground pins it took us about 10 minutes from start to finish), and it was equally easy to break down and fold back up. Super!
The zippered door on this tent is a nice touch, and the round entrance can also be connected to a play tube for even more outdoor fun.
Being super light and portable (it folds up to fit into the included carry bag), this is an excellent outdoor cat tent that leaves little to desire. The only downside to the lightweight design is that it might not be able to withstand the claws of your strongest cat.
What we liked:
- Easy to assemble and take apart
- Provides plenty of space, large enough for multiple cats
- Zippered entrance can be connected to a tunnel (sold separately)
- Very portable; folds up to fit into small carry bag (included)
What we didn’t like:
- Strong cats with sharp claws may be able to destroy the netted fabric
2. Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Playpen
The Zampa playpen is one of the most popular meshed outdoor cat tents on Amazon. Being available in a wide variety of different colors and dimensions, we can see why it’s sold a lot. It has a top covering that can be zippered off, giving you the option to remove the roof. But since the material is meshed, even leaving the top on does not block wind and sunlight, giving your cat the full outdoors experience. On the sides, you’ll find two meshed panels that can be rolled up to make windows.
If you’re looking for a more sturdy playpen, this is an excellent choice. We found the materials chosen for this product were of premium quality (although the stitching on the seams wasn’t great). It felt durable enough to last at least a few years.
Since this tent gives you plenty of space for outdoor fun while still being light enough to take with you in the supplied carry bag, we can absolutely recommend it. Just one caveat: be aware that folding it back up is a nightmare!
What we liked:
- Available in various colors & sizes
- Provides enough space for multiple cats + litter box
- Sturdy material will endure the sharpest of claws
- Comes with a premium carry bag
What we didn’t like:
- Easy installation, but folding it back up is difficult
- Low-quality stitching on the seams
3. Pet Fit For Life Tent Tunnel Cube Dog & Cat Pen
4. Hartz Just For Cats Peek & Play Pop-Up Tent
This polyester tent is entirely focused on fun games and playtime. It literally sets itself up, just open the box and everything will unfold. The Hartz Pop-up tent can function as a play den, but also as a nice, cozy place to cuddle up outside. The detachable scratch mat is a lovely touch, and it includes two hanging toys (a feather and a ball) that provide the opportunity for fun games.
While we loved the idea of a popup tent, we don’t think its 9 x 10.5-inch dimensions provide enough protection and space to be considered a full-fledged outdoor tent.
What we liked:
- No assembly, can be unfolded in seconds
- Detachable scratcher
- Perfect for kittens
What we didn’t like:
- Doesn’t provide much protection from rough weather and other animals
- Can’t be closed off
- More of a fun play pen than an actual enclosure
Most cats aren’t particularly keen on spending the entire day indoors. Many cat owners have experienced their pets sneaking outside, bringing back ‘gifts’, such as dead rodents or birds.
Related: Should you keep your cat indoors? Pros and cons from a vet
Even though they may enjoy it, house cats can encounter a plethora of dangers outside, as well as harm wildlife. That’s where outdoor cat tents come into place. Today we’ll talk about what cat tents are, what benefits they offer, and what things you should keep in mind when purchasing one, so let’s start from the top:
What is a cat tent?
Cat tents are very similar to ‘human’ tents, with the main difference being that they’re much smaller. Some tents are more comfortable than others, some are equipped with more versatile features, but they all serve the same purpose – limiting your cat’s movements while allowing it to still enjoy the time being outdoors.
Why use a cat tent?
One of the main reasons why so many people use cat tents is because they allow their cats to experience being outside while having all the safety of remaining indoors. Cats who wander around without supervision can get run over by a car, get into a fight with other (possibly larger) animals, and they could get snatched by other cat lovers who may mistake it for a stray cat.
Just like dogs, cats also love to play in the grass, which is where numerous pests hide. One of the best ways to prevent your cat from catching fleas or ticks is to keep it in a tent enclosure.
The secondary reason why cat tents are beneficial to not just you, but your neighbors as well is protection ‘against’ your cat’s teeth and claws. When left outdoors, cats may hunt the bids your neighbors were attracting to keep their gardens pest-free. Alternatively, your cat may even ruin your garden while playing with butterflies, mice, and such.
Types of Cat Tents
There are a few different types of cat tents, although there are also many products that possess characteristics of multiple categories. Some of the main factors that you should consider when deciding on the type of cat tent you want to buy are your cat’s size, usual levels of physical activity, ease of installation, and material.
Netted tents are arguably the most practical type of cat tent due to their portability and simple installation. These types of tents are perfect for cat owners who are typically taking their cat with them on vacations, to their parents or friends, and on commuting trips.
One of the best things about netted tents is that they are fairly inexpensive and easy to set up. On the flip side, they’re not exactly durable. Netted tents aren’t so great for cats who tend to be aggressive, as they will be able to easily rip through the netted fabrics and slip out.
The portability of netted tents also hides another downfall. Namely, this type of cat enclosure is usually smaller in comparison to other tent categories; owners of multiple cats would need to buy several tents to accommodate the needs of each pet.
Netted tents can be very useful for camping trips with your pet, as they take up minimal storage space and can be installed pretty much anywhere in minutes.
- Our recommended netted cat tent: Outdoor Jack’s Playpen
Multi-level Cat Cage
While multi-level cat cages aren’t tents by definition, they typically feature built-in canopies or similar overhead roofs made of fabric. They tend to be more difficult to install than other types, although the process doesn’t require any special tools or DIY skills.
This particular category isn’t portable, and it usually occupies quite a bit of space. On the brighter side, active cats will have more room to relax and play in. Furthermore, multi-level cat cages are generally much sturdier than most other types of cat tents, so they will not easily tear or break. Better-quality models could fit multiple cats and kittens without becoming too crowded.
Wall-mounted cat tents
Cats who refuse to sleep on floor beds and who tend to spend much time on your desk, wardrobe, and generally ‘above ground’ will certainly love wall-mounted tents. They’re easier to install than multi-level cages, although they aren’t as straightforward as netted tents in this respect.
Portable, fairly durable conical tents that most people will be able to recognize in Cowboys & Indians movies are called Teepees. Numerous cat-size variations are available on the market, although these tents don’t really provide any benefits other than protection from the rain.
Cats who prefer relaxing in spots away from sunlight adore them, and you will be able to practically ‘herd’ your pet away from your garden or neighbors by placing a teepee on the opposite side of your yard.
Cat Tent Material
The type of material a tent is manufactured from influences the comfort and durability that the tent can provide for your cat.
Netted tents are almost exclusively made of mesh wires, although the central area is typically reinforced with plushy fabrics. Multi-level cage tents may feature mesh wires at certain points (connectors), but they’re mostly made of hard plastic or lightweight aluminum. These tents also feature plush-like reinforcements; if your model doesn’t, you can simply add pillows, as there’s plenty of space.
Cat Teepees are usually made of canvas, but there are also models made of fabric or silk. Teepees offer superior comfort at the expense of durability. Wall-mounted cat tents require drilling, and most are made of wood or metal.
What features should you look for in an outside cat tent?
Most cats won’t be too happy being placed in an enclosure at first, which is why you should search for features that would persuade them into liking the tent. Whether it’s separate conical entrances, hanging platforms for them to jump on, or ample room for your pet’s favorite toys, it’s up to you to figure out what your cat would like.
If you are looking for a portable tent, it may be better to search for foldable tents, as this way you’ll save up even more storage space.
Again, sturdiness and comfort are the two main elements of a good cat tent, followed by the tent’s size and ease of installation. As a general rule of thumb, tents made of fabrics that are quick to tear are the most difficult to install and maintain.
We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on the best cat tents for outside. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through, and have a good one, guys!