Despite my blog name, the cats scarcely get a mention on my blog. I’m aware this post is quite specific and so won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s something we’ve put a lot of work into and I often wished I could have read other’s experiences whilst we were going through the process.
People have varying opinions on wether to keep cats inside or not. The benefits are that they’re safer from hazards like the road or theft, but are also unable to damage other gardens or kill wildlife. The obvious downside is that cats belong outside and wouldn’t have access to a natural place to play and do cat things like sharpen their claws.
Personally I wouldn’t feel comfortable keeping a cat inside, but have lost many cats throughout my life to the road and worry endlessly about all of the above. I first heard about Katzecure when a friend had it installed in her garden. I had heard about cat proofing for gardens before but they are usually made from deer fencing and make the garden look like a prison. Katzecure stood out for miles because not only did it keep cats contained in a way which was safe to them, but it looked really sympathetic to the garden … And it actually works (well, eventually).
Katzecure cat proofing consists of wooden rollers which attach to the top of your fence, so when the cat jumps up and grabs on, they roll and the cat is unable to climb over. Cats always land on their feet so this presents no risk of injury to the cat.
They offer two methods: self install or installed by Katzecure. We went with the self install and whilst it was all installed without too much hassle -thanks Aaron- we ran into many issues which I think would have been avoided had we gone with letting them install it. We sent lots of photos and measurements to them to get a quote for all the parts we required, detailing parts of the garden where patios or walls make the top of the fence a lot less of a jump. Whilst we were told it would be fine and sent the parts we needed, it actually proved to be a complete nightmare and I often wished we had just paid them to do it, as they promise to keep coming back and tweaking it. Working all weekend only to see Penny gracefully scale the whole thing like a cat version of Lara Croft was soul destroying after a while.
A lot of it has to do with your cat’s agility and between our four it really varies. Sheldon is a massive Persian-X who prefers not to jump too high. He spends most of this time around us and in the house so he wasn’t hard to convince to stay on this side of the fence. Hekla is too small to get that high but will also be a large cat when grown, although I hope as he won’t know any different he won’t try to escape when older. Penny is Sheldon’s sister so also a Persian-X but she’s far lighter and very agile, she can jump 6 ft effortlessly so keeping her in has been the hardest challenge. Luna is a Somali cat who is also very light and agile, although she’s small -Hekla is almost the same size as her at just a few months old- so she is unable to jump as high as Penny. Before we began we had no idea how they would respond and who would escape how, tailoring the garden to that has been a huge challenge.
Our garden is very wonky. It slopes down and back up, there’s no uniformity to it at all which makes it a tricky one to cat proof. Our garden runs around the house giving us a few different areas and the side garden has proven to be the biggest issue. After three months of fiddling with it, we concluded putting a gate up to separate that part off was the only option. We would fix one thing, only to expose a new way out. The agility and wit of the girl cats especially has never ceased to amaze me, Penny at one point scaled the entire first floor of our house using just her claws to neatly hop over and out. More frustratingly they often don’t go far, just sit on top of the fence enjoying being at the highest point.
At the very bottom corner of our garden there’s a hidden sand area which acts as an outdoor litter tray. As cats are very clean animals they bury their mess so we just have to rake it over and clean it out every so often.
I should add at this point the cats who escape come back and forth and aren’t traumatised or desperately trying to escape. They obviously don’t understand and just see any new obstacle as part of their day, I think to be honest Penny enjoyed the new extremely expensive assault cause we installed for her.
The boy cats who are far lazier were far easier to contain. They had a token effort at escaping, remembered which side of the fence their food bowl lived on and have been here happily since.
They say it takes 4 weeks for a cat to change a habit, something we’ve seen in practice with the addition of new kittens -who the cats despised but then became best friends with abruptly after a month or so- and after removing a cat flap from one door and putting it in another. Once contained, each of the cats has tried to escape and examined the new garden closely, before eventually seemingly forgetting they could ever go further in the first place.
Having lost a cat earlier this year on the roads, the peace of mind this gives us is huge. I love knowing my pets are safe and not being a pest to neighbours or wildlife. The cats are perfectly content with the area they have -we do have a large garden- and I make a big effort to change up their environment regularly. Our garden has lots of different levels, areas and textures which help the cats not get bored. In addition we’ve built scratching posts, shelters and things to stimulate them like a catnip plant.
Another amazing benefit has been that Hekla didn’t have to wait 5 months to go out, instead he had his jabs and has been chipped then let outside. No litter tray and he gets to enjoy tearing around the garden burning off his energy without destroying the house.
I got this rope from Amazon and wrapped it around a spare pole to make a scratching post which blends in with the rest of the garden.
In terms of cost, this is an expensive solution. Their prices are on the website but it entirely depends on your size of garden and how many corners you have. I would without a doubt do this in every property I live in from now on (all the axels and wood can easily be taken down and moved), but if I could do it all again I would always get the company to install it, because they would likely get it all bulletproof sooner and it would be less frustrating knowing someone else was dealing with it. I think the idea is genius and that’s essentially what you’re paying for, as some of the individual parts were extortionately priced -£20 for a piece of plastic which showed where to drill a hole- for what they were. The company are pretty slow to respond as I’m guessing their business has scaled a lot and they’re struggling with many enquiries, but again I feel like if we were working with them for the install they probably would have been quicker to respond.
All in all, I love that our garden is now cat proofed and am really enjoying having the cats around all the time, whilst knowing they’re safe.