Freerange cats

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by annaraven, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    Hi all:

    A question for those of you who allow your cats to free range.

    I know that some folks strongly believe in keeping cats indoors at all times. I'm not addressing those. I have had cats who were content with being purely housecats. But I also have a (neutered) male cat who jumped twice off a second story balcony to get out - and was back that evening limping but happy. Since that time, we put in a cat door to avoid him damaging himself getting out and he comes and goes at will, mostly in our own fenced yard. He's a great mouser and great at keeping the coons and squirrels and other unwanted critters out of our yard. When the neighbor cat comes to "challenge" him, he mostly sits there and ignore him with a look like "yeah, you and what army? Kids nowadays..." He doesn't bother our chickens, but I'm glad he's out there because it's less likely the neighbor cats will bother our chickens either.

    So, my question is, I'm curious if anyone has found a good way of keeping your cats from going into yards where they are unwanted. I know there are folks who would rather not have a neighbor cat come into their yard. I know there are some folks who want to let their cats outside but don't want them leaving their own yard. Has anyone found any effective ways of doing this? EDIT: My cat easily leaps to the top of our privacy fence and suns himself there - so a "tall fence" isn't the answer.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  2. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    If the yard is completely fenced you can add a cat fence to the top. These are slanted in with no top board or anything so a cat can't grab on to climb or sit on the top. The slant also makes it so they have to not only leap high but very wide to get over the entire thing. Very few cats will attempt it. You can find several different types/brands of cat fence and the feral cat coalition has instructions for making a cheaper version.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  3. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    I was going to tell you the same trick as Akane! [​IMG] It works very well. Also be sure no holes big enough in or under the fence for a svelte feline to slither through--they can get awfully thin when they want to.
  4. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    The term 'free range cat' disturbs me.

    It sounds like you're going to harvest them at some point.
  5. scrambledmess

    scrambledmess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 26, 2008
    NW Ohio
    Many years ago we had an invisible fence installed for our GSDs. The guy said he had installed a couple for cats and they did work on cats. The problem with cats is they will ALWAYS test the fence. With dogs, supposedly once they learn the rules, they will be good unless the batteries in their collars go dead.
  6. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Only cats huh?

    My dog walks over to the invisible fence every single day, leeeeans in, and sees if it's beeping.

    If it's beeping, he goes on about his business. If it's not beeping, he goes walkabout starting at that moment.

    I think invisible fence is a super idea for cats as it's hard to completely foolproof a fence against them.
  7. ()relics

    ()relics horse/dog shrink

    Jan 4, 2009
    To me "free range" = feral; Which in turn = problems
  8. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    I would think a lot of cats would be too sensitive for an invisible/electric fence. My sister's cats would probably kill themselves. My younger one would refuse to go outside the first time the collar went off. Probably even just the beeping would do it. My other cat would most likely just run as fast as she possibly can in whatever direction she planned to go in the first place irregardless of any "training" attempts.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Do some more googling, too -- something like "cat fence" or such -- because I was looking into this about a year and a half ago (ended up just building an extensive outdoor run system for the cats) and found a surprising number of websites with commercial or DIY designs for catproofing privacy fencing.

    None of it claims to be absolutely 100%, but some of it is likely to be real *close*, and in some cases not necessarily that expensive to construct. (I am not recommend you buy commercial systems -- you will fall over when you catch the pricing on some of them!! -- but they can give you inspiration for DIY versions)

    I am still hoping, myself, to get around to fencing in a 60x60 area of the side yard next year and putting inward-leaning catproofing on it, so the cats can have somewhere to be truly *out* as opposed to just confined in welded wire enclosures. I will have to make my system removeable for wintertime though as I am pretty darn sure I cannot DIY something that is both catproof AND snow-and-wind proof compared to what we get here [​IMG]

    I expect there probably are some cats in the world on whom radio fences probably work but I would really not bank on it for the majority. Electric is an option in some cases but if the cat is leaping to the top of the privacy fence then it won't be so useful.

    Good luck, have fun,

  10. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    I did know a lady who had cat runs in her back yard. They had plastic ripple roofs on them, and they were enclosed - they started on a porch, so part was concrete. The cats loved them, and the cats were safe. They had what she called 'furniture' in them - poles, thick branches, benches and a couple big rocks. It was so cool to see the cats loafing around in the sun and enjoying themselves. SOme of the cats were together with other cats, if they get along. She also had some smaller enclosures that went more up, and the cats were climbing up to the top and then laying with all their legs hanging down from the branches, LOL. They got a lot of climbing exercise and kept their claws in very good shape. I can't say I've ever seen more contented cats. No stress of looking out for dogs and other predators, and no exposure to disease.

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