Does your Cat Like to Wander?

January 16th, 2020

Cats can be fiercely independent creatures who like to explore beyond the confines of the home. While we don’t want to stifle their sense of curiosity and adventure, cat owners need to be aware of the dangers that can befall the wandering cat (and others caught in its path!) and ways they can guard against them.

What are the risks of your cat wandering around?

  • Angry neighbours. It’s hard to comprehend but your neighbours may not be fellow cat lovers.  If your cat strays onto someone else’s property and causes a nuisance, you might end up with a disgruntled neighbour on your hands. This will not only create strained relations but a formal complaint may be made against you to council, which can result in a fine or other disciplinary action. Digging, scratching, rummaging and spraying are all cat behaviours that may not be tolerated on someone else’s property.
  • Cat fights. Cats are extremely territorial and will often get in fights with other cats if the watchful eyes of their owner are not on them. If you’ve ever heard a cat fight you will have an idea of how vicious they can get! Your cat or another neighbour’s cat could get injured and the noise of loud hissing and guttural growls may irritate your neighbours.
  • Hunting and hunted. Cats like to hunt at night and this can become a problem if they injure endangered birds and native wildlife. Cats can also be preyed on by other neighbourhood pets, strays, wildlife or even humans.
  • Car accidents. One of the biggest killers of the wandering cat is being hit by a car. They can also be the cause of other accidents if cars swerve to avoid them.
  • Lost. While cats generally have a keen sense of direction, they are susceptible to getting lost if they wander too far. A cat’s sense of adventure means they can also find themselves in tricky situations like getting stuck in an abandoned building or up a tall tree.

Steps for minimising the risks:

  • Know your Council’s rules on pet care and ownership. For instance, some councils have curfews that require your cat to stay on your property during certain hours. Make sure you keep informed on the current legislation to avoid getting into trouble with the law.
  • Keep your cat inside at night. Most of the risks mentioned above are likely to occur at night so consider keeping your cat indoors when it gets dark to keep them and others safe. Make sure there are no exit routes for your cat to escape through i.e. if you have a cat flap get a lock on it. You can also train your cats to stay in at night by feeding them at dusk time so they have an incentive to come home of their own accord when it gets dark.
  • Get your cat microchipped. This is usually a council requirement and will also put your mind at ease as a microchipped cat has a much greater chance of being returned to its owner if lost.
  • Cat enclosures. Fortify your backyard fences to prevent your cat from wandering outside. One way to do this is with chicken wire at the top of the fence. Another option is to get an outdoor cat enclosure- you can even deck it out with fun equipment and other play devices for your cat to entertain themselves with. The Victorian Government have a handy guide for buying or building outdoor cat enclosures you can check out here.

The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Petcover

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