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Hello all. First time here and I'm thrilled to have found you. I just spent a while reading all the topics for the last year or so that came up on a search for the words invisible or fence. So I know that just about no-one here is in favor of using the Petsafe or other invisible fencing with cats. I've also read many of the horror stories about outdoor cats. Here's my situation:

We have 3 cats. One lives indoors completely and is not part of the problem. The other two currently reside in a 6' x 14' x 6' high enclosure in the gargage. I take them out on harnesses to let them run and climb trees and pee all over the world as often as I can - probably about 5 days a week for an hour or so at a time. I also let them roam around the garage with me in it (as I am now on the laptop). How did we get here?

The two that are now garage dwellers used to live inside. They are brothers and about 4 years old. When the third cat arrived (about 1.5 years ago), one of the original homeowners started marking. We tried just about every over the counter spray deterrent and two psychological drugs to no avail. Eventually I put the one in the garage. When he started marking my powertools he bought himself an enclosure home. Feeling awful about his home, I started taking him out. His jealous brother saw him out there and went bezerk until we let him join him. Then he mimiced the marking behavior and so now we are where we are.

The good news: we're moving soon! Yeah. The new house includes an extra garage which is about 20 feet from the woods line. I plan to devote part of the garage to the marker cats and want to give them a portion of the yard / woods so they can go out whenever they want. (Aside: since they grew up indoors and have no evident fear of cars and they don't have front claws (regrets...) there's no way I'm letting them loose to get splatted or eaten or worse.)

So what to do? I had been thinking I'd put up a 4 ft high fence to keep dogs out around an area about 100 ft x 100 ft including some woods. Then I'd put down the invisible fence wire to keep the cats inside the fence. Dogs out. Cats in. Good. Then I'd get one of those cat doors that only opens when the magnet on the cat's collar makes it open so that possums and racoons and stuff couldn't get in their indoor house. BUT... now that yall have me fairly convinced not to do the invisible fence, I'm thinking about a 6' high fence with a means to prevent making it over the top. That still leaves many of the hazards, like evil humans, that can get over the fence. So another option is to build a complete enclosure - roof and all. That will be difficult and very expensive if I am to extend it into the woods and around trees. My cats really love to climb trees when I take them out and I'd like to give them that oppt.

So what do you think? Some other option I'm missing? I guess one other is to keep them in a similar enclosure in the extra garage all the time except when I take them out - just like now. But I really feel their quality of life stinks being couped up most of the day.

Thanks in advance and I apologize for being so verbose.
 

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Hi and welcome! Sounds like you are totally on the right track with the enclosure idea.

One of our clients built a huge outdoor enclosure and used bird-netting over the top. We did a big article with photos and instructions in our newsletter if you'd like to take a look; might be exactly what you need!
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... volume1no8

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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capotato, you haven't been looking under play yard or outdoor enclosure. I've been suggesting it since I joined the forum as an alternative for people who say their cats are outdoor cats and would not be happy indoors. I'm glad you found the forum, though! :D I hope we'll be seeing lots more posts!

Dr. Jean, your enclosure is really huge! That's great. Of course people can make it any size they want and can afford. It's nice if there's a kitty door leading into the house. My cats have never been outside, but I worry about cats running loose. If the enclosure isn't too big, wire over the top would make it safer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
cool enclosure!

Jeanie, thanks for the searching tip. I'll do that after work tonight to see what other ideas have been offered. I plan to have a cat door into a portion of the interior of the extra garage.

In the meantime, thanks Dr. Jean for the link! Somehow I only made it to your November 2003 newsletter where I saw a much smaller pen. The enclosure / playground in the Oct.03 newsletter is awesome! My kitties are going to love it! I'm so excited for them. :D The netting is a great idea, which eliminates the main barrier I had to doing a "roof" - expense of using hogwire over the whole top. Plus it appears to be much more flexible - easier to work - than hogwire. I talked to the cats and they said that if I could design it to let sparrows and finches in, but keep hawks and eagles out, that'd be purrfect. I don't know about that. :)

Thank you so much!
 

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Capotato, a message for your kitties! Jeanie feeds the finches and sparrows, so no birdies for you. :D Just little tiny binoculars!

capotato, I think only one or two others have even mentioned these enclosures. I posted links, and one member posted pictures of a wonderful enclosure. There are so many members who are worried about their cats not getting enough freedom and fresh air, and as the daughter of a carpenter, I believe it's a relatively easy job, making sure your frame is square and true and stapling wire over the top. I think a dead tree limb would be great for the cats. I think almost any of our members could do it. If it's tall enough, they could add a gate so the human mother or father of the cats could go in and clean up, or just sit and play with their furry friends. Places to hide and tall perches would be great! I don't know why more people don't do it!
 

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Thanks Jeanie

Thanks Jeanie. I visited the our new home (under construction) today and visualized the new cat enclosure. I think it's really going to be great.

Btw, I feed the birds and the squirrels too. I really love watching the squirrels play. I'll have up to 8 or so of them at the tree eating, then chasing, then eating, then.... Cute little goobers, they are.

I'll let you know when I get to building.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Well, Mike, I can't blame you for what your kitties are thinking! :D Our main bird feeder is near the front of the house, and the birds are joined by Mrs. Squirrel and son and a growing family of chipmunks, who love to chatter at the cats. Mrs. Squirred climbs the pole and helps herself, and te chiipmunks join the mourning doves on the ground. I'm sure we pay as much for bird (squirrel and chipmunk) seed as for dog and cat food. And they are much more messy eaters! :) Last year our other bird feeder was broken by hungry deer. I can't begrudge food and a hunk of plastic to a hungry animal. I wish I could feed the deer too. PA has more deer killed on its highways than are hunted in all the other states combined. And we have a woods behind the house. So, as close as we are to Pittsburgh, the deer are plentiful. It's hard to think of animals starving. :(

I can only imagine how excited you must be about the new house and an outdoor enclosure for the cats. I assume it will be in the back. Of course, it's in the planning period now, so we'll learn more as the plan develops. When I said it would be easy, I meant the plan could be relatively simple, not that it wouldn't entail a bit of work, of course. But I am an experienced sidewalk supervisor, and I've never found my job to be difficult! I work cheap too..... :wink: I have, on occasion, seen some wonderful plans, and have posted some here, but I should have bookmarked them. But it seemed that everyone liked the idea and hardly anyone did it! I wish I could be of more help to you. Keep us posted on the house, the cats, and their palace to be!
 
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