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Is it okay to keep my cat contained within my property boundary all of the time?
Yes, there are many benefits to keeping your cat contained to your property boundaries. Contained cats are less likely to become lost or injured (hit by a car or attacked by a dog). They are also less likely to get into cat fights and therefore less likely to have cat fight-related injuries (abscesses) or catch diseases such as FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). Containment to the owner's property boundaries also increases the opportunity for owner-animal interaction and reduces the impact of hunting by cats and disturbance caused to neighbours.
Where cats are contained, steps must be taken by owners to ensure that adequate exercise and environmental enrichment are available. Cats that are contained to the owner's property do not have to live totally indoors - access to an outdoor escape-proof enclosure is highly recommended as this greatly increases the opportunity for activity and stimulation for contained cats. There are also specialised backyard fences that rotate inwardly thereby keeping cats contained within the owner’s property boundaries and these can be a great way to enable contained cats to still have access to the backyard and the outdoors without being able to go beyond the owner's property.
Contained cats can also enjoy regular walks outside on a harness and lead with their owners. This gives them new scenery and scents for mental stimulation and exercise. Train early and use reward-based training. Reward the cat for walking forward with a tasty food treat (positive reinforcement).
Some cat owners also like to take their cat into the backyard under their direct supervision so they can have some time outdoors. Make sure your cat is safe and won't jump over the fence and get lost or hurt.
A kitten/cat that has only ever been contained to the owner's property is likely to cope better with living in this way as they have never known any other lifestyle. Start training kittens to be contained to the owner's property early on!
A cat that has experienced living outdoors beyond the owner’s property boundary may become distressed if suddenly kept totally indoors. In these cases cats may begin to display behavioural problems due to the stress of confinement and their health and welfare may be compromised. For these cats extending their access to the outdoors via an escape-proof enclosure or specialised backyard fencing but still within the owner's property boundaries is highly recommended. Enclosures and specialised fencing should not be electrified. A gradual reduction in the amount of time that the cat spends beyond the property will also allow them to adjust to containment to the owner's property over time.
Cat containment tips
Here are some measures you can take to ensure that your home is a feline-friendly, stimulating environment where your cat is unlikely to get bored.
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