Cat Proofing the Garden

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sarie
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Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by sarie » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:01 am

Hey everyone! I know this one comes up every now and then and I've never been in a position to really consider it myself but I'm currently in the process of buying my first home.
It turns out my new house is a perfect candidate for cat proofing the garden as it has a rectangular garden off the back of the house with no gates or side access and has a 6ft fence all the way around it with no gaps underneath or to the sides.
SO I thought I'd take the opportunity (assuming I can get the neighbours to agree to it) and look into cat proofing it.

I move in on July 4th and will be keeping the boys in for a good month or two so that'll give me plenty of time to look into cat proofing but I thought I'd start working out what the best solution is now so I have lots of time to do my homework.

Any experiences with cat proofing and any advice would be greatly appreciated. I've been looking at the Secur-a-Cat as a solution as it looks relatively unobtrusive and it's affordable and I've heard read good reviews but I trust all of you far more as you're all cat obsessives like me ;)

Also, as a side effect of this, I need to look into ways to make the garden more exciting.
It isn't huge - it's probably about 80-90 sq/ft and right now it's just grass. I intend on digging in some flower beds and putting in plants and things but regardless the patch isn't huge and I worry the cats will get bored and this will make them go all Houdini on me. So any advice on ways of making the garden more interesting for them will also be really appreciated!
I plan on planting them some catnip plants and putting in some platforms/perches but I'm not really sure what else to do :)

Thank you ;)

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:32 am

Hi Sarie

I have just had this done in a garden which sounds very similar to yours. We used Protectapuss and they were excellent workers and creative thinkers. I was worried about it looking like a prison yard to our neighbours but it is really quite subtle and smart. Here is their website. They serve the whole country, travelling from their base in Stoke. The two guys who came to us were charming and hardworking.

http://www.protectapuss.co.uk/cat-fence ... wgod4qAAqQ" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

We too need to make our garden more interesting now and we have started with a little house from Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003 ... UTF8&psc=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

OH is also making some little climbing frames and shelters, and the trick is to keep them well under the cat proofing or so far away from it that they cannot launch themselves from there! Our two youngest cats have tried to jump up to the top of the fence, but the fences are high already and the brackets and netting proved it was impossible even if they had a bit more launch. Our boy fell to the ground in an undignified but unharmed manner, but I did have to rescue our little girl who was trying to hang off the netting! I hope the little scare was enough to discourage her from doing it again. The cat proofing has only been there for a week so we are watching them all very carefully. Our old girl is no trouble though - she's 17 just potters.

We have some zig zag shelving which we got from Lidl for our old home and have no use for now we've moved, so we're putting that on to the fences under the netting canopy so they have different levels to climb on as well. I think Protectapuss are also in the process of designing cat furniture for enclosed gardens too.

I'd been glad to hear other ideas from folk too!

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by moira » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:54 am

Hi

I had secure-a-cat installed a few years ago. The product itself is excellent but be careful how it is installed. Due to cost I had it installed by local tradespeople but unfortuntely they were not cat aware and there were gaps which made it useless. I had to block up escape routes as they became apparent.

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by sarie » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:38 pm

Thank you both! I had a look at the Protectapuss too; it looks very similar to secur-a-cat so I'm not sure what the pros and cons are of each, but knowing that they work is a very good start as I was a little dubious about just how cat proof they are ;)

Sarah, would you mind giving me a rough idea of cost at all? It's OK if you don't want to share! Just trying to work it out in my head as both companies list their materials costs but neither gives a rough idea of how much to get a pro to fit it all and if your setup is similar then maybe that will help me to work it out!

Funnily enough I actually already have a similar cat house haha! They're so good!! I'm definitely thinking things at different levels is a good idea too and I suppose I'll need to dig them a toilet too... :?

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:42 pm

Hi Sarie

Ours cost £1300 to do. I'm sure this will shock the lovely people who did it themselves and shared their experiences with me, but in the end the idea of two men turning up with all the equipment and the knowledge to get round the obstacles of our back wall, shed and gate, plus a canopy over the patio, was too much to resist.

If your garden is literally all grass, then yes, they will appreciate some help identifying the loo. We have some beds already dug out which we are in the process of extending and our two girls have already organised matters for themselves in that regard. I haven't noticed the boy going outside yet, but I'm sure he will!

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by Kay » Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:52 pm

I enlcosed my patio over 12 years ago, and it has been the best money I ever spent - with 6foot fences you could do it on the cheap by fixing brackets which point upwards towards the inside, and draping netting over it - I had no fence so had a wooden framework put up, and used aviary galvanised wire - the wooden supports have to be replaced at intervals as they rot, but the aviary wire is as sound as the day it went up

cats do like dappled shade, so I have two corners with climbing frames in them, and clematis growing up the wire - to stop the cats climbing or jumping out I have trellis panels diagonally over the corners to provide a roof, which the clematis grows over and through

only one of my three prefers to toilet outside, and he has an earth pit, surrounded by a wooden framework to prevent him kicking soil everywhere

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by sarie » Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:17 pm

Thanks guys :) Sarah, that's not as bad as I was expecting to be honest, especially if you had some complexities in the garden too! I can imagine the temptation to just let someone else fit it all properly for you; my garden isn't going to be particularly complex but I'm still tempted to let someone else fit it all.

I'm quite lucky in that my garden is literally a rectangle with no trees, hedges, gates, sheds etc so it should be easy to enclose - I'm tempted to DIY it as it's such a straight forward shape but I am a little concerned I mess it up and leave them with escape routes.
I'm in Scotland so I think the travel costs for getting fitters from either secur-a-cat or protect-a-puss will be quite high as both are based down in the Midlands and below.
I'll certainly enquire with them though as I'd far rather it was done by a professional if it's affordable!

It'll be worth it in the long run for peace of mind. I'm also soaking up all the ideas for ways to make the garden more interesting for them, loving the ideas so far :) The climbing frames with clematis sound lovely!

Both of mine are used to toileting outdoors so I'm hoping if I provide them with a good deep flowerbed then they'll be happy to use it rather than use the tray :) Clive used to wazz in my neighbour's plantpots (much to her dismay) so maybe I should provide him with some of those.

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:20 pm

Depending on far towards the north of Scotland you are, if your garden is straightforward to do it may still be affordable. I'd be interested to hear what Protectapuss quote you.

I am charmed when I see my girls going to the loo in the flower beds. They have been indoor girls for a while now and to see them remembering or discovering (I'm not sure if Lou Lou ever did go outside in her previous home) the useful properties of soil for toileting purposes is just delightful to watch!

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by oggers86 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:01 pm

We cat proofed our garden really simply just by putting up brackets on every fence posts bent at a right angle and then covered in netting. It kept Elsa in no problems but would not keep Elise in, especially as we had a pergola. We put a huge square of netting about 2 foot square but she still managed to get around it!! In the end we took it down as neither cat was happy but we will be redoing the garden in a new house using the materials from Protectapuss for our new kitten who has never known outside and giving the girls a separate way to access the big wide world.

If you feel fairly confident you could just go down the DIY route using their materials like we will be doing.

I want to put in bushes, a tall bird feeder, a pond and some cat trees to give him some entertainment. If your cats have never known what it is like to roam then you stand a pretty good chance of keeping them happy. Mine were too set in their ways to change unfortunately and it just stressed them out.

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by mr_frisky » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:22 pm

I did something similar a couple of years ago. here are some early pictures
http://www.photobucket.com/catgarden" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I also used 'tree collars' (bits or more rigid mesh around trees).

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by mr_frisky » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:23 pm

I should add that the brackets were a pound each from screwfix, and the netting £12 for 65 feet from ebay.

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sarie
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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by sarie » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:06 am

Hmm I am a little concerned about whether or not it's going to work which is why I was hoping for your experiences. They're 4 and 6 and both have always been able to roam in the past.
This is a new house and a new garden though so I figured maybe if they haven't experienced it yet then they'll be more accepting if I cat proof it before they start going out but it really isn't an overly large space so I'm not sure how happy they'll be, even if I make the garden more interesting.

I'm just so worried about them being loose, I'd far rather have peace of mind knowing where they are at all times but it's so hard to get the balance between their happiness and their safety!

The area I'm moving to is alright but it's not the nicest of areas and I feel like there's more risk of human abuse as well as dogs around there so I'd feel a lot happier if they were confined to my property.

I'm loving all the advice and photos from you all, thank you :) ! I may yet have a go at DIY'ing given what a simple garden it is; plus it'll make it less painful on the pocket if it turns out to be a failure as it looks like it'll only cost me around £200-300 to catproof it if I DIY even if I use parts from secur-a-cat or protect-a-puss.. even less if I provide my own parts like mr_frisky !

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:43 am

Hello Sarie

I know there are folk with very strong opinions both ways and I was criticised on Facebook by OH's cousin for not allowing our cats to fulfil their 'natural instinct to hunt and explore' but I am happy in my mind with what we'be done. Our three rescue cats all came to us in the last 18 months and spent respectively 15 months, 10 months and 2 months in our previous home, a three bedroom apartment, with no behavioural problems at all. Our old girl who is 17 had some garden access before her previous mum became terminally ill but by the time we met her she was not going out at all and had little human companionship either. Her life transformed when she came to us and 15 months of having no option to go out was not an issue at all. She is now loving her outdoor space and we allowed her out before the cat proofing went up as she wouldn't jump and there was no way out of the garden at floor level. Little Lou Lou is 10 and she came to us from Battesea who advertised her as an indoor cat. She is very agile so we knew that if she was to have garden access we needed cat proofing as she is a tiny girl who would have no road or dog sense at all. She has been initially timid about going out but she now explores and plays happily and I'm delighted she is more active as she would sleep the day away cuddled on a lap if she could, she is so human centred. However, I am certain that her safety would be unacceptably compromised by allowing her to leave the garden and wander near the busy Upper Richmond Road. Finally, Edgar is an ex stray/feral with no fears. He was in foster for 3 years and 2 months indoors with us. I'm sure he would like to get beyond the garden but he also loves his home comforts and being a home boy. We give him lots of stimulus and I remain comfortable that this is safer and better for him than cars, foxes, dogs and idiots. X

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by Kay » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:03 am

one of my three can climb out of my enclosure, so I let him in and out of the gate if he asks - despite being much younger than the other two, he rarely stays out for more than 10 minutes, although there is plenty of garden, and fields beyond, to explore

that makes me think the other two are happy enough to be enclosed all the time, and when the sun is out they spend all their time lounging around outside, doing absolutely sod all, and looking very much at peace with their restricted world

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by HRHFluffy » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:53 am

Hi Sarie,

I totally agree with Sarah. A good compromise like cat proofing sounds the best option. If need be I wouldn't hesitate to do it. As it happens I don't need to as Fluffy can't get out of my garden and I supervise her most of the time anyway. She is 14 and not that adventurous nowadays. If you say that there is more of a risk from human abuse then that is one good reason in itself to cat proof your garden. Then your cats would have the best of both worlds and you will have peace of mind. Well worth the effort and the money in my opinion.

Carol

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by meriad » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:14 am

Sarie; I have 6 cats and have cat proofed my garden. I have an OK sized back and front garden and both are now enclosed - I did it myself and it probably cost no more than £500 or £600 in materials etc. I was fortunate enough to do it in such a way that three of the six can come and go as they please as they are used to that, but when I got cat nr 4 I realised that for his safety cat proofing would be needed. I have since adopted another two cats and they also are confined to the garden and any future cat that may join my household will be confined as well.

The three that come and go are used to it; I moved to where I live now in 2007 and the cat proofing was only done in 2012 and I didn't think it would be fair to them to confine them after nearly 5 years of 'freedom', esp as where I live is actually an OKish area. But if I ever had to move and start again; they all would be confined.

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by ProtectaPet » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:27 pm

Thanks so much for the fabulous endorsement Sarah: it is great to hear that ProtectaPuss worked out so well for you :)

We’ve recently rebranded from ProtectaPuss to ProtectaPet (advertising link removed)
Good luck to everyone in search of the optimum quality of life and peace of mind for your cat.
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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by MarySkater » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:11 pm

I looked at the cat-proofing options, but some parts of my garden would be tricky to do. As a compromise, I'm going to get part of it enclosed and roofed with netting. I've marked out a rectangle of which one short side is the house wall, including the kitchen door, and one long side is the existing 6-foot fence, so I need posts to support the netting on the other two sides. It will give the cats a space 3 metres by 10 metres, and includes my dustbin and log store, so I don't have to worry about them escaping whenever I step outside to either of those. If they get bored with exploring the grassy bit, they can sit on top of the log store and watch the world go by.

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by Kay » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:50 pm

I have an enclosed area at the back, and the one thing I would recommend is a couple of simple shelf units in places which catch the early morning and late afternoon sun, if you can

Corners are best so you can grow climbers to provide dappled shade - I use trellis panels as a diagonal roof over the corners to support clematis

On sunny days my two are out there happily snoozing their little lives away, and I am often there too with my Kindle

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by MarySkater » Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:08 pm

Thanks for the tips, Kay. My back garden doesn't get morning sun at all, but does get afternoon sun. (If we ever get any sun again... :? ) I'll think about how to give them comfortable dozing spots.

Mary

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by meriad » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:31 am

I did mine myself, using brackets from Screwfix and fruit cage netting. For the back garden I spent extra time and effort (and money) to paint the brackets black (using a galvanised primer first and then the black paint) but for the front garden I just used the brackets as they were. The black does look a bit neater but it really doesn't make much difference

As long as you have some DIY skills, an electric screw driver, a decent metal saw to cut the brackets and a ladder then you're OK.

http://s808.photobucket.com/user/meriad ... 20Proofing - back garden
http://s808.photobucket.com/user/meriad ... ter%202014 - front garden, where I also put shelves along the fence so the cats could have something to jump up along

The cost for both back and front probably came to no more than £500

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by meriad » Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:14 pm

Another thing I did for mine in the back garden was attach decking boards to a trellis I was using as a garden divider. Since this photo was taken I have totally removed the smaller bit of trellising that is to the right and also cut a square into the existing trellis to make the access to the middle shelf easier for the cats

They love sitting up on the top ledge and watch the world go by :)
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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by Kay » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:23 pm

cats do like lying on ledges, don't they - must be the latent leopard in them

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj29 ... dtiffs.jpg

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by meriad » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:25 pm

Yup... I need to cut back the hydrangea in front of the trellis as it's grown too big and Harry can't quite make the jump, but they all just love sitting on there

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by PeanutsFriend » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:16 am

Great suggestions! This is a dream of mine, to be in the position to have one of these. Safe and secure. My cats need to be outside, so they say.

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by bobbys girl » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:39 pm

Nice cat shelf Ria! Your garden looks interesting too. I love nosing around people's garden. :)

Our lot have and endless supply of trees and roofs to lounge on/in.

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by MarySkater » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:44 pm

My cats have had a month indoors with me, and before that 4 months in a shelter pen. Today their outdoor run was finished, so they finally got some fresh air, although the weather was drizzly and unattractive. The garden is winter-barren at the moment, and has been trampled by the workmen putting up the fencing, but still it's a change of scene for them.
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In summer I let the grass grow long on the bank, so that will be a change of habitat. Later I'll get some shelves up for them, and plant some climbers to make it look less of a prison camp.

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by Lilith » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:48 pm

Lol Mary - I call mine 'Altracatz!'

Yours looks very professional - smashing job - all I did was line my fence with weldmesh and bend it inwards to form a lip. When my youngest, Molly (aka Houdini) arrived I had to make some modifications and a much-loved and incredibly fragrant honeysuckle had to move from a south to a north wall (it wasn't best pleased) but I see the remnants are spreading tentacles on the old wall again; perhaps Moll will be too placid to climb it when it regains its bushiness...faint hopes.

But so great to feel they have somewhere to run and explore but that they're SAFE :D

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by bobbys girl » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:21 pm

It looks great, but does the wire go underground a little? I know cats are not known as burrowers, but my lot have been known to scrabble under timber like that - just because they can! :roll: It would give them something to do, a little project. :lol:

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Re: Cat Proofing the Garden

Post by MarySkater » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:33 pm

Lilith, it is professionally built. I called in the people who built my garden fence and got them to do it. The framework is, to be honest, much stronger than it needs to be to support the netting, but that will give me a good foundation for adding cat furniture to it.

Bobbys girl, no, the wire doesn't go underground. I told my fencing contractor that it didn't need to. I will keep an eye on the cats to see whether they show signs of digging, and I'll reinforce any possible weak points. I also need to watch out for any neighbourhood cats who may try to come over the wooden fence from the left, to make sure they don't get tangled in the netting.

Ever since I've had Rocky and Bridie, they've had a habit of sitting on the mat by the kitchen door, asking me to open the door for them, and I had to say no. Now I say yes, and open the door. (Cat flap to come later.) And they sit on the mat asking me to make the rain stop... :lol:

Mary

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