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From: Keith ( -173.180.108.53)
Subject: Re: keeping cats indoors
Date: August 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm PST

In Reply to: keeping cats indoors posted by Leslie on August 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm:

Where I live there are eagles that have been seen to carry off wayward kitties, and occasionally a bear or cougar swims over to the island. Not to mention some insane holiday traffic. Letting a cat roam outdoors is not a smart option here.

We started by keeping our cats indoors. However, they were bored. They also don't like each other much but had nowhere to go to get away. So, the first project was to build them a room on the deck. It is made of stucco mesh (heavier and more rigid than chicken wire), three feet high, five feet wide and ten feet long. I put a solid roof over it. There is a cat door so they can go in and out whenever they want.

Then, we decided to enclose an area of the garden so that they could run around and hide behind plants. I fenced an area about 50 by 30 feet next to the house. Over top of the enclosure, I put nylon netting. It hangs horizontally from the fence inwards about three feet (supported by strings from trees and various supports), making it impossible for them to climb out. Much of the area is covered by large panels of netting, spoiling the flight path of any predatory bird. It is not solid so that any small birds that get in can fly out. The enclosure is connected to the room on the deck by a ramp and a kitty-sized enclosed walkway. The outside of the fence is protected against intrusion by raccoons or the neighbour's big bully cat by an electric fence.

I also made a small cat house that sits in the room on the deck. It is fully enclosed, with insulation in the ceiling, and a 40W light bulb in the base for heat.

The end result is that the cats can go in and out whenever they want. They can sit on the deck, out of the rain, or they can run around outside. But they can't escape, and predators can't get them.

Keith



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