Cat-proofing your garden
I’m not an advocate of keeping a cat indoors, however there are many circumstances that may lead to people keeping their cats confined as house cats only. These can be:
- Owning an expensive breed of cat
- Fear of a cat getting lost, run over, or stolen
- Thinking a cat doesn’t want or need to go outside
4. Keeping your cat indoors for fear of them making the local wildlife extinct (for this reason, people in the US mainly keep their cats indoors and Australia is now advocating eradication of feral cats, or strays, to protect wildlife)
5. Owning a cat with feline aids
6. Owning a blind cat
I understand all of the above, although number 4 is extreme/unfair and slightly baffling, but thought I would mention it anyway. I think the bird population in the western world is coping just fine. Birds and cats, after all, have lived side by side for 1000’s of years without either becoming extinct unless of course both live on a small island where the cat was introduced as an unnatural predator to the bird by man! But we are not that island and research has shown that cats are not making birds, or any other small mammal, extinct in the US or in the UK.
If you have a garden, and you can tick any of the above pointers as concerns you have, then a cat-proof fencing system should put your mind at ease and could be the best present to give your cat.
I start with the best solutions and end with methods that should be avoided at all costs.
A British company who thought up a very simple but effective design. Rollers!
The cat cannot get a grip on the rollers to climb over. Double rollers are used for breeds that are huge climbers such as Norwegian Forest cats. Many breeders use this type of cat proofing and it blends in very well with most gardens.
A company who uses thin galvanised and powder-coated steel fixed at an angle on secure fencing. It’s the perfect solution for any sized garden or balcony and has been used by renowned cat behaviourist Vicky Halls as well as many cat breeders.
3. Secure A Cat
Companies that offer humane solutions are the companies to book an appointment with. Most of these companies have a supreme eye for looking at your garden with a cats’ mentality and can tackle most difficult spaces.
4. Window boxes –
The perfect solution if you do not have a garden is to build a cat window ledge box. These are easy to make for any DIY enthusiast. Chicken wire around a frame is best with a solid base. Your cat will love sitting out in the fresh air on their own kitty condo and the fact that humans cannot climb out on it too will make this very appealing for the smug city living cat! Google cat proofing ideas to get a whole variety of designs with humans at their best thinking outside of the box…
SOLUTIONS THAT YOU SHOULD AVOID AT ALL COSTS:
Electric collars/electric wiring systems
The fear of your cats escaping from the garden can be managed without the need to cause them undue pain, fear or discomfort. These systems work by having an invisible border that the cat is not allowed to cross. It gets a beep from a collar if it enters the forbidden zone. If the cat continues to cross the border it gets an electric shock. The level of severity is set by the owner.
MY VIEWS: As your cats’ guardians you have an obligation to use the least aversive means necessary to find a way to secure your cat in your garden with humane fencing system. Cats like to guard their territory, sniff plants and trees which they see as scent sticks (sniffing for other cats), hide under bushes, dig in the dirt, chase and run around freely and to ‘punish’ a cat for doing what it naturally should be doing is fundamentally wrong and very confusing for the cat who will not understand why it is feeling pain or hearing a beep for merely existing & doing what cats naturally do!
Being able to chase another cat out of their own territory is also a natural behaviour which your cats are being denied, because they can only go so far. As well as the collars being too big for their necks they also have to put up with two metal prods sticking into their throats.
Accidents can happen. If a cat started to chase something, and a higher level was set by mistake (I’ve personally witnessed this) or there happened to be a one off flaw in your product, who is to say your cat would not go into cardiac arrest. This has been known to happen with dogs, which is why electric collars have been banned in many countries and why the RSPCA and most behaviourists look on this type of cat proofing and behaviour modification with a very dim view.
If you have chosen for your cat an in-door existence then the lesser of two evils is to cat proof any outside space you have by choosing a fencing system, like any of the ones above , which gives your cats free range right up to the borders of their territory.
Enrich your cats’ life and choose your method of cat-proofing wisely. If you love your cat(s) please choose a company that uses humane methods.