Cat Fences

Keeping a domestic cat safe while allowing him to enjoy as natural a life as possible is a tricky business because what is natural behavior for a cat can be inconvenient for a human if it entails going outside. Letting a cat go outside allows a cat to behave naturally but it is often dangerous. The only solution is to construct a totally impregnable barrier around a back garden (yard) and allow your cat into the garden. The trouble is that cats are very good at getting over and around impregnable barriers like high walls.

Cat Fence
Cat Fence from Purr…fect Fence.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

My initial impression is that very few people have installed cat fences and I wonder why that is. It probably comes down to the obvious: cost compared to benefit. In Britain if people let their cats out they accept the cat takes some risks to his health. In short people don’t think the expense of a specialist cat fence is worth it. There may also be the problem of the way it looks. People like their home to look nice and a functional fence for a cat spoils the appearance they might think. But the picture above indicates they may have misconceptions.

Invisible Electric Cat Fences

One potential solution is the electric fence. This is like the cattle fences that give animals a mild electric shock thereby keeping them in.

The electric fence that I fitted for my mother was one that you bury in the ground or run it above ground but hidden in shrubs and at the back of flower beds etc. This makes it invisible to the naked eye. It can even be run along fences. In fact it is probably sensible to run the cable along the top of an existing fence. Although that might cause injury to the cat.

The cable is plugged into a mains electrical socket in the garage and the voltage or amperage (the amount of amps) is adjusted so that a mild electric shock is applied to the cat as he approaches the wire. This is applied to the cat as the cat wears a collar that receives the electrical charge. An audible warning is also sounded.

There is a lot of merit to such a system. They are invisible first and foremost. They are simple to install. I fitted my mother’s device in about three hours. Installation is very straightforward and they are relatively inexpensive.

Do they work? Well, not really in my experience. The first problem is that on an emotional level it is difficult for a cat lover to accept that her cat is going to receive an electric shock no matter how mild. The device is built around a form of punishment it seems to me. I guess it trains the cat and eventually he stays away from the perimeter of the garden and therefore no longer receives an electric shock. That said the basic concept does not fit in with good cat caretaking.

Secondly, depending on the individual cat, a cat will ignore the shock or get used to it and get out. If that happens even once, the device is a failure because it has to be 100% successful to provide peace of mind for the cat’s caretaker and safety to the cat.

My conclusion is that the electric cat fences are not a great product and reluctantly I would not recommend them.

Easy Install Cat Fence

I prefer the easy to install wire-type cat fence. This is a standard sort of fence but lightweight and designed to be an effective barrier to the athletic cat. They can be integrated into existing fences. Standard human fences are of course not going to stop a cat getting out.

I like this American product: Purr…fect Fence. You can also buy it in the UK. It looks really well thought out and effective.

This fence is more flexible than the usual rigid wooden fence. The flexibility combined with an overhang makes it effective. I would hope that it is effective for all domestic cats, even the most athletic.

Of course this sort of cat fence does not have to go around the entire garden. It could be installed to create an enclosure extension to the house with access via a cat flap.

Attachment to Existing Fence

Another way to stop a cat getting out is to attach an wire fence overhang to an existing wooden fence or brick wall. This seems to be very effective. Although you’ll need to have a fully enclosed yard or garden in the first place. And that means no gaps anywhere. For this reason I would personally prefer a new fully installed specialist cat fence.

Purr..fect fence also do adapters to existing fences.

Trees

Trees near fences are a problem! Or indeed any structure near the perimeter of a garden which allows the cat to get over the fence by first climbing the tree. This must be a consideration in making the cat fence 100% successful. You can fit barriers on trees to stop the cat climbing the tree.

If I move to a new home, which might be a house in the country, I would definitely fit a cat fence like the Purr…fect fence. Knowing that my cat was safe while doing what he likes best would be a big improvement to my life and well worth the expense.

12 thoughts on “Cat Fences”

  1. Ruth, you and I agree that humans are bad, but I cannot picture any future, however distant, in which they get any better. If anything we’re constantly devolving, not evolving, at least in a moral sense. Even if humans stop abusing animals, they will just abuse other humans more. All the education in the world can only make a few people do a little better in certain areas for a little while, but it can’t change the system of things in this world ruined by man’s rebellion. My only explanation that we are still here at all and have not destroyed ourselves yet is that we have a merciful God who for some inexplicable reason loves us. A lot of people who visit this site would say that doesn’t make sense, but humanity doesn’t make sense to me. Nowhere is the true condition of the human heart brought to light better than in the way man treats animals. There’s something just wrong there, wrong with us. And the truth is, the more I try to live in a better way, the more I find I just can’t do it. I’ve known nuns who felt they were not truly good people. But if you made of list of all their good works, the things they had done to help make this world a better place and all they had denied themselves in order to better serve others, you’d think if anyone deserved God’s love it was them. But they were quick to point out that it’s not until you really start to try to do better that you realize how messed up you really are. When I start to feel pretty good about myself, I realize I’m probably not trying very hard to do the right things and just living as if my god is my belly, like so much of humanity. There’s a lot more I could be doing to help animals and other people, but I just get lazy and it’s easier to turn on the tv and grab a snack. Monty makes me do a little bit better because I love him so I get off my butt and take him outside even when I don’t feel like it. I guess he’s in my life so that my heart doesn’t grow too cold, so that I continue to learn about love. Sure, we learn through human relationships, but in reality, all those other humans are as screwed up as we are. Monty isn’t messed up because he’s not human. He’s naturally good and just as he was intended to be, completely natural in all his actions. There’s a great deal to be learned from our animal companions. God uses animals to provide object lessons for us. The animals can be our teachers, and I think that’s a good way to look at it, rather than the usual perspective of always trying to put humans on top as superior to the animals. I don’t think it’s non-Christian to see it that way, I think it’s actually very Christ like, because it imitates His humility. He told so many stories of the shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. Yes, he ultimately meant Himself, but why use that analogy unless He was also teaching us something about what it means to care for others? It is significant that He used animals as the “others” in His example. To me that also says that anyone who loses his pet and grieves, that grief is known to God and it’s as real to Him as any other grief and He sympathizes with it. He’s there with us when we love our pets enough to be willing to die before we’d let them be hurt, because he used exactly that example of a human/animal relationship when teaching His disciples.
    In talking about fences the good shepherd stories are also great examples because the sheep pens back then didn’t have a gate or door. The shepherd would sleep in the doorway to the pen, so that he was forming the barrier keeping the sheep in and the wild animals out. He became like a human fence, and in the end, that is the best. There is so no substitute, if you truly love your furry friend, for being out there with him protecting him yourself.

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  2. It puzzles me what sort of mentality the people who invent these things have. It seems they think it’s acceptable to cause animals fear and pain to force them to do what humans want them to do.
    I don’t think this earth was supposed to be that way with humans having so much power and getting away with abusing animals, birds and fish.
    If humans are still around in the long distant future they will be horrified at how what some people see now as ‘lesser beings’ are abused in every way you can ever imagine.

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