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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 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. Contained cats 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 and these can be a great way to enable contained cats to still have access to the outdoors without being able to go beyond their home property boundaries.
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. If you don't have an escape-proof backyard then you can train your cat to walk on a harness and lead - this can be a good solution if you live in an apartment and have access to a shared courtyard area. Avoid walking your cat in places that may cause them stress, such as near roads, in busy areas or where dogs are also being exercised.
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 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 is highly recommended. Enclosures and 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.
Despite keeping your cat contained to your property boundary you will still need to have them microchipped and registered with the council so that if they do accidentally get out and become lost they can be reunited with you. We also strongly advise that you have your cat desexed as this will reduce the likelihood of accidental pregnancy, fighting and urine spraying and the desire to roam to find a mate.
This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person's unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.