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Cats Safe at Home
The Cat House on the Kings adoption contract requires that our adoptees be kept indoors. However, we are frequently asked how cats might enjoy the outdoors safely. Statistically indoor-only cats are likely to have a much longer life because of the numerous hazards for free-roaming cats outside, but it can be a challenge to keep some of them indoors.
The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon and the Portland area Audubon Society collaborated to develop the Cats Safe at Home program. Their website provides a good collection of resources for enabling a full and satisfying life for cats who are confined to your property.
There are three general strategies for keeping cats safe at home:
- Catification—Modifications to your home to better accommodate a cat's natural behavior and instincts.
- Catios—Enclosed patios or other outdoor enclosures.
- Cat Fencing—Alternative or enhanced fencing to keep cats on your property.
The sections below provide links to resources for creating safe home spaces for cats.
Another alternative is leash training your cat for outdoor excursions.
Please note: The Cat House on the Kings is not endorsing any specific product by including it in this resource list. No attempt has been made to provide a comprehensive list of alternatives nor to evaluate the cost-effectiveness or reliability of any individual product. Other equally effective products may be available and easily found with an Internet search engine. In a few cases, links to specific product vendors may generate a commission for The Cat House on the Kings if you should purchase the product after following the link.
Catification is the term coined by cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy for adapting your home to better meet your cat's more primal needs as well as your own aesthetic needs for a comfortable home. He has written several books on the subject. The Amazon links will tell you more.
The term "catio" is a contraction (a "portmanteau") of "Cat" and "Patio", an outdoor space for cats to enjoy being outdoors while still confined. The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon has assembled a good collection of resources for building enclosures for cats. They even organize tours of local catios for Portland area residents.
Some catio examples from our own volunteers & staff are shown on the right.
A variation on an enclosed porch is an enclosure which either stands-alone or is attached to the side of a building:
Cat fencing is a more open alternative to a catio to ensure your cat stays on your property. At The Cat House on the Kings we have 6' chain link fencing with a 4' overhang and chicken wire netting. Chicken wire is also buried on both sides of the fence to prevent cats or dogs from digging out and predators from digging in.
YouTube has a number of videos that show cat-proof fencing.
Here are some examples of cat fencing products available at the time of writing:
Leash Training your Cat
Take a listen to "Cat Daddy" Jackson Galaxy on walking cats on a leash. (Hint: He approves for cats who want it.)
The Spruce Pets has reviews of a number of harness/leash products with input from Jackson Galaxy.
Staff & Volunteer Catios
Click the photo for a larger version.