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Cat Enclosures

I would like to take a minute to talk about something really important to me. That is cat enclosures. I believe that cat enclosures pay for themselves in terms of psychological benefit as well as decreased veterinary bills. I hope to convince you. The sad truth is that too many cats go missing, never to find their way home if they are allowed to roam.  I’ll admit I have a few clients with the cat who always roamed and lived to 20, but they tend to be the exception.  Frankly, some cats have street smarts and some just don’t.  Unfortunately, there is no test to find out who is who before its too late. But you don’t have to keep your cat indoors only.  Let them enjoy the outdoors safely with a cat enclosure. I get a lot of funny looks, snickers and skepticism when I talk about this concept.  Cat owners tend to be divided on the indoor/outdoor cat question.  And those divisions seem to run as deep as political affiliations.  Some would never dream of letting their cat roam around unsupervised.  The other camp thinks it’s not natural not to keep your cat cooped up inside. I have personally changed opinions over the years.  After my last indoor/outdoor cat went missing 10 years ago I just couldn’t let another cat roam.  The chance of getting hit by a car, eaten by a coyote or trapped in someone’s garage is just too high.  And I would never let my dogs roam unsupervised, so why my cats? Fortunately, there is a great and under utilized compromise to this dilemma.  It’s the cat enclosure!  Two big reasons I love cat enclosures are preventing major injuries (and even death) as well as reducing stress for indoor cats.  Minor injuries (cat fight abscess) to major injuries (fractures from being hit by cars) are hard on you and your pocket book.  By avoiding injuries and medical bills that cat enclosure just might pay for itself. The psychological benefits of spending time in the great outdoors are immense for me and the same seems to be true for my cats.  Especially in multi-cat households, cats need some space and a place to meditate on the birds, sniff the flowers, play and sun bathe. This is especially important if there is any inter-cat tension in your house. The cat enclosure can can take many forms.  From a ‘catio’ to a fully cat-fenced yard. There are many options from pre-fab to do-it-yourself. For apartment dwellers a bay window style product can accomplish the feeling that the cat is outdoors. Cat gazebos or ‘catio’s’ are very secure fully enclosed systems that look like a very large outside cage attached to a cat door from the house. Fully enclosed back yard systems like cat ‘fence-in’ also work for most cats and allow use of the whole yard.  However, the highly motivated escape artist may find a way to go A-wall.  Keep in mind, the cheaper the product is, the more likely it is to fall apart prematurely.  If you are even a little handy, you can probably take the DIY approach or hire a handyman with good results. I have fenced my entire yard to prevent my five cats from escaping.  I will admit that one of my cats was feral, is still a bit wild and has found a way out.  So I concede that not every single cat can be kept in by every cat fence design.  And one should initially supervise closely to identify any gaps unless you have a fully contained system like the ‘catio’.  I love watching my cats safely enjoy my backyard without fear of them getting hurt and they are very happy too.  In case of escape it’s still a good idea to have two forms of I.D…a labeled collar and a microchip on your cats. If you are still not convinced take a look at the New York Times Article entitled “That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think”. The article states that “More birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats… than from automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windmills and other so-called anthropogenic causes.”  Environmentalists and pet lovers should be able to agree that cats should not roam unfettered posing a risk to wildlife anymore than dogs should.  Not to mention the risks to the cats health and life.  There is even an event next month that allows you to tour what others have made for their cats!  Check it out at the Catio Tour

Here are just a few of the available commercial products:

Cats With An Altitude

Cat Fence-In

Purfect Fence

Kitty Fence

My Pet Enclosures

Cages by Design


Habitat Haven

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