Living with Indoor Kitties

Living with Indoor Kitties

A question becomes very important for cat lover that how long do indoor cats live. We were looking for a new home, our new home was in a cat containment suburb. So the very first thing I did, even before we moved in was to build the enclosure for Bojangles. And then there was a series of other kind of events where I was sort of wanting to try something different, and I certainly like working outdoors with animals, being a bit creative, designing things, so I thought well, I built one, maybe I can build some more. Surprisingly, I thought initially that most of my customers would be in cat containment suburbs, but that hasn’t proved to be true. The vast majority of my clients are from non-cat containment areas. In terms of benefits, you say well what are the benefits of having an enclosure.

There are benefits for the cats, right, because statistics show that contained cats live up to four times longer than cats that roam free. And that’s a significant extra length to their lifespan. I mean we had a cat that was run over and it’s not a very pleasant experience to go through. Also they are less subject to illness, disease, fights, and being run over. So in terms of for cats, what they lose in freedom, as it were, they gain in many other ways. And in terms of owners, well owners get peace of mind because they always know where their cat is and that it’s safe. They also know that they’re not going to upset neigh bours, so from an owner’s perspective, knowing where their cat is and that it’s safe all the time is a positive. As well as reducing vet bills.

I’ve installed quite a few enclosures where this cat has just been involved in a fight and has had to go to the vet and has had a massive bill, so you’re reducing the likelihood of that. And then the last one is for the environment, so there are benefits where fauna is not subject to predation and threatened harm from the cats. So across various levels there are benefits of containing cats. The first thing one does is an assessment, because as you say no two homes are alike. So it can vary from people living in an apartment, to a townhouse, to a free-standing house. So the first thing is just to assess what kind of a property it is, what kind of access both for humans and for the cats. Whether there are any obstacles that one’s got to include. Sometimes people want a tree, that’s part of the enclosure.

So there’s a variety of things that one looks at, including how many cats they actually have as well. And then I base a design on those considerations and also what the client needs. And then the more complex it becomes and the larger it becomes, the more costly it becomes. So you can range from free-standing cat enclosures which are made out of net, or you can go to welded wire mesh enclosures, and there area number of companies in Australia that build those type of enclosures. And they come in kit form, so it’s a bit like going to IKEA and buying a kit and you put it together. And then also, well, the other one is to build purpose-built so that they- I mean part of my philosophy is that if the pet’s a part of your family, you want to sort of integrate the cat enclosure space with your own living spaces.

So it’s not a question of that’s the cat’s space and this is our space. In some instances, that’s what owners want, but I sort of favour a more integrated solution where you can- because a lot of the time you want to spend time with your cat, and the cat wants to spend time with you. And then one of the key things is that the cat has its own access to come in and out. So one of the downsides of the free-standing ones is that you would maybe have to go carry the cat in or out, which is alright for a day or two but after a while it gets a bit impractical. And cats do like their independence, so to come and go as they please is important. He uses it every day because his litter box is in there. So I mean that’s also one of the- a benefit of having an outdoor cat enclosure is that you get the litter box outside.

For a lot of owners that’s a priority. So in terms of him using it, come rain, wind, or shine he’s out there every day because his litter box is there. And then when it’s a nice day particularly in summer he will go out there because he’s got lawn, he’s got bushes, plants. They like the scents and the smells and the textures of the plants. And it’s his own little- his own space, so it’s not as if you build these things and they’re never used because as I said from the start, particularly if the litter box is there they’ll be out at least once a day if not more. It’s a cat door. It’s very important for-that cats can come and go as they please.

This is the netting, which is 19 millimetre square. It’s very- being black, it’s hardly noticeable. And also, one of the questions that clients ask is ‘Well will I feel caged in?’ and I think you can see and agree that you don’t feel caged in at all. It’s got a guarantee of about 10 years plus. Alright so this is the litter box. So I use children’s playground sand that you can buy at Bunnings.

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