You can love your cat and wildlife too by keeping your cat contained

Cat containment means taking measures to prevent your cat from roaming and keeping your cat on your premises 24 hours a day.

Cats can happily live indoors especially when they have been trained to be an indoor cat from a young age. It is important that their environment is enriched to ensure they get enough exercise and don’t get bored. Some suggestions include toys, scratching posts and plenty of vertical and horizontal climbing spaces.

The RSPCA has more information on how to ensure your home is a feline-friendly, stimulating environment where your cat is unlikely to get bored. The RSPCA has also commented for the Canberra Times that “Containing cats is good for wildlife and good for cats as well“.

Access to the outdoors is highly recommended as this greatly increases the opportunity for activity for contained cats. Contained cats can enjoy regular walks outside on a harness and lead with their owners. This gives them new scenery and scents for mental stimulation and exercise. Other options include providing access to an outdoor escape-proof cat enclosure or cat run.

Contact details for suppliers of cat enclosures can be found on the internet. For guidance on building your own cat fencing or yard see the Victoria Government’s How to build cat proof fencing and cat enclosures booklet (PDF 538KB).

Four reasons to contain your cat:

1. Roaming pet cats are killing our local wildlife

Local research shows that pet cats are having a significant impact on our local biodiversity, killing more than 67 species of prey including native birds, reptiles and frogs. See our page on cats as pets and predators to learn more.

2. Contained cats live longer and healthier lives than those allowed to roam

Roaming cats can be killed or injured through car accidents and fights with other animals. They may contract fatal diseases such as feline AIDS or be more likely to require veterinary attention for fleas, ticks, worms, abscesses, cuts and other illnesses. In an ACT community survey, 27 percent of cat owners reported that their cat had come home injured at least once each year and on two-thirds of these occasions had needed vet care as a result of these injuries. Roaming cats were four times more likely to have suffered significant injury at least once in the past year, than those cats contained on the owner’s property.

3. Contained cats are less of a nuisance to the community

In an ACT community survey, over half of residents reported a problem from nuisance cats. Defecation, attacks on domestic animals, fighting and noise at night were the main issues identified.

4. You have a responsibility to do so

Some areas of Canberra have been declared cat containment areas. Residents within these areas are legally required to contain their cat 24 hours a day or risk a fine. See our page on pets and ACT law to learn more about your legal responsibilities as a pet owner.

An ACT community survey highlighted that almost all of ACT residents (91 percent) recognise the benefits of cat containment, being that contained cats are a lower risk to wildlife, are less likely to be a nuisance to the community and are less likely to be injured, lowering vet bills.

Cats enjoying enclosures
Images courtesy of Catnip Australia