It is becoming more common for responsible pet owners to keep their cat indoors to protect them from road accidents or attacks from other cats or dogs. If a cat has never been exposed to the great outdoors, then he may be content to live inside the house, but it could be a dull, lonely life. There is a simple system of cat proofing your garden fence so that your pet may enjoy a fuller life, playing and hiding, watching birds and insects.
There are many reasons for keeping your pet indoors or wanting to prevent him from leaving the safety of your garden. The average age of an indoor cat is 16 years, with some living to 21 years. Compare this with the outdoor cat’s average age of only 2 – 3 years, and you can see why some pet owners are reluctant to allow their cat outside. In addition, neighbours can get upset about cats using their garden as a toilet and damaging young plants. If bitten by another cat, your beloved pet may be infected with the feline HIV virus. There is no treatment or preventative vaccine for this fatal disease. In addition, cats can be killed or maimed by dogs, and may be seriously injured or killed if hit by a car.
If your garden is enclosed by a six foot high wooden fence, you can make the fencing cat proof by adding some plastic mesh trellis to the top. It is important that the trellis is set at an angle pointing inwards to the garden, to deter the cat from jumping at the fencing and climbing over the top. In order to climb a fence, a cat will jump about half way up and scramble up to the top by using his claws to get a grip. He will then balance on the top edge before deciding whether to walk along or jump down the other side. When he looks up at a cat proof fence from the ground, he will see that access to the top of the fence is blocked. He may make a few attempts to climb to the trellis, but when he realises he cannot get around the trellis, he will jump back down to where he started. This method of cat proofing a garden fence also has the advantage of keeping stray cats out of your garden, so that your pet will be safe from fights and infectious diseases.
Most garden centres sell plastic mesh climbing plant trellis in 50 cm widths. You will need enough trellis to run along the top of your fencing, some metal brackets bent at 45 degrees to support the trellis, fencing staples and cable ties. These items can be purchased from good DIY stores or builders merchants.
After installing the trellis, supervise your cat to make sure there are no weak spots where he can make his escape. Then sit back and enjoy pottering in the garden with your feline friend!