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Keeping cats in

There is a growing acceptance and understanding of the benefits for keeping cats in.

Increasingly, cat owners understand the many dangers outdoor roaming cats encounter. Cats who roam freely outdoors tend to have much shorter lifespans exposed to traffic, attacks from other animals, untreated health conditions and injuries and weather extremes.

Most cats adapt well to staying home, especially if conditioned from an early age. However, adult cats used to roaming may have some difficulty adjusting. If this is true for your cat, RSPCA recommend keeping it inside overnight, gradually increasing the time you keep it in.

Some councils have introduced by-laws to enforce curfews. Contact your local council to find out if you have a cat curfew in your area.

Why keep your cat in?

  • Home cats are safe from other animals.
    The most common injuries reported by vets from cat fights are abscesses. These are incredibly painful and often need costly veterinary treatment. Diseases like Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) can also be transmitted through fights. It will also minimise the risk of your cat contracting diseases, fleas, lice, ticks or worms from other animals.
  • Home cats make better neighbours.
    Your cat will be less likely to disrupt your neighbours.
  • Indoor cats preserve wildlife.
    Keeping your cat indoors prevents your cat from hunting wildlife.

Indoors

Start by giving your cat a climbing/scratching pole, food, water, a litter tray and toys to keep your cat happy inside. Here's some other tips to make an indoor cat comfortable.

  • Cats like high resting places where cats can survey the surroundings whilst feeling safe.
  • Cats like enclosed spaces where they can retreat and hide from people and other animals.
  • Cats like clean comfortable bedding in quiet areas to allow sleeping and resting.
  • Cats enjoy additional sights and sounds, like watching nature footage on television and having access to windows to watch what is happening outside.

Outdoors

Give your cat the best of both worlds by giving it access to your home and your yard. Before you make fence modifications or build an enclosure, check with your local council to find out if you need development approval.

Fencing

Cat-proofing your fence gives your cat complete access to your whole garden. Ask your local council if they have restrictions on fence extensions or adjustments. Below are ways you can cat-proofing your existing fence:

  1. Netting | A fence with inward-facing overhangs (net barrier) can discourage your cat from leaving your property. If you’re handy, you can do this yourself or you can hire a contractor.
  2. Purpose designed addition | There are commercial fencing system products which install ‘paddles’ along the top of your existing fence. These ‘paddles’ rotate when your cat touches them which discourages them from jumping on the fence.
  3. Remove ledges, platforms and trellis near fencing and block gaps under and to the side of fencing to reduce the exit routes.

These additions may also keep other cats from entering your garden.

Enclosures

You can confine your cat in an enclosure attached to an existing structure or have a free-standing enclosure.

In an enclosure, provide your cat a warm dry bed, shelter from wind and rain, and shade from the sun and access to fresh water and a place to toilet (away from where they are fed). They’ll also enjoy having access to platforms at different heights and climbing structures.

There are commercial free-standing enclosures available, you can design and construct your own or commission a contractor. The size of your free-standing enclosure will depend on the number of cats you have and how they behave together. They need enough space to be comfortable.

Download booklet

Download the Good Cats Play at Home booklet for more information.