A new run using PVC pipe construction

Something about this run...we wanted a place to turn cats loose briefly to take pictures, or maybe let them play outside in the balmy August Texas sun.  PVC isn't a choice for a material that takes lots of abuse, but this grade of PVC is rated ok for outdoor use.  Total cost of the run was around $250.  it took around 10 hours to build, counting time fussing about where the door should go and not counting a couple of trips back to Home Depot.

We built this outside, but the same details would work inside just fine...if you need a quick run in your garage to keep a stud male (Drape plastic sheeting on the walls behind the run) or even a quick small run in a bed room to isolate a queen with kittens.  You can quickly disassemble it and store the pieces for later use.

First, pick a place for the run:

Next, lay out your tools and supplies so they will be handy.  You will need a tape measure, a PVC pipe cutter, a pencil, PVC cement, an adjustable wrench, a wire cutter, nylon ties, and several other small items you won't discover the need for until you have both hands full and your helper goes inside to check email....Oh...paper towels.  If you are like me, some rubber gloves will help keep the cement off your hands.  If you are like me, also, you probably won't use them.

The 1" X 2" welded wire I use for my runs is 6 feet high.  To determine the length of the vertical pieces. lay a pipe out and put two ells along side the pipe, and adjust them till they are 72 inches, outside dimension to outside dimension.  Mark the pipe.  The pipe will be shorter than 72 inches...I think each ell adds around an inch, so the pipe needs to be cut at 70 inches.  Measure to be sure.

Cut all your pipes first. 

Lay out the cut pieces and fittings as a sanity check on the first panel.

Now it's time to glue it together.  The PVC cement sets up quickly.  You have probably 5 seconds, maybe less to align the pieces once you push them together.  There is a stop inside each fitting, and you want to force the pipe with the cement on it all the way to the stop.  This takes a bit of effort, and once you are there, you can't twist the fitting or straighten things out.  So, you have to put it together straight.

Glued together panel.

This panel has the door opening.

You have to roll out the wire, cut it to length for each panel, then turn the piece over and tromp out the natural curl caused by it being rolled up.


When you cut the wire panel, you have to cut against the upright wire and not have sharp bits of wire projecting from the panel.  These sharp bits do a nice shirt disservice later.  Skin also.  Be sure to run down any bits of clipped off wire and discard in the trash.  Lay the trimmed wire panel on the PVC frame.

Start by getting first one corner straight, then the opposite corner.  Finish up by putting a nylon fastener every foot or so.

 Here are the panels laid out where the finished run will be.  There are two panels on the sides and one at each end.  The panel with the door is at the upper right of this picture.

This part is easiest with two people, but really, one can do it.  Just start at one corner, stand up the two panels, and ziptie them together.  They will stay upright.  I really wasn't trapped inside...for too long, anyhow.

Above is a kennel hinge.  It clamps tightly to the frame, but allows the door to swing freely.  To the right, the latch flips closed, and traps the door so that it can't open or close without human intervention.

I flattened the ends on three 10 foot pieces of 1 inch steel conduit and screwed them to the top if the frame to support a tarp.  The tarp is simply held down with bungee cords, which can be quickly removed to allow the tarp to be pulled back.  The tarp makes it too dark to take decent pictures.  We are looking for a white translucent tarp.

This is the finished product (for now).  Lorre arranged a tableau across the end to take kitten pictures.  I can put the tarp back on, and let them play outside for a bit.

I may decide to replace the ties that hold the panels together with bolts.  You simply get a bolt that is long enough, drill through two adjacent pipes, and bolt the panels together.  One thing not shown...if you want extra stiffness, especially on the bottom pipe, you can slide in a 3/4 inch steel conduit prior to gluing the PVC fittings.

All work was supervised by the General Organization Of Structural Engineers.

You can email me at bengalsjim@gmail.com

My cell phone is 512-658-7265.