Over the last 30 years I have caught wild, adopted, raised, or found many kittens and adult cats. Unfortunately, most cat owners don’t take care of their pet cats. Many cat owners let their unfixed cats roam the streets at night knowing the results of such behavior with so many stray felines already.
Why cats are left outside?
One reason for neglect is the obvious benefits of not keeping a cat inside all day. Cats shed an incredible amount of hair that is hard to clean up. They spray or potty in unwanted areas if not properly introduced to a litter box or if not maintained. The litter box is messy and pungent if overused and under cleaned. Smaller homes provide little space to roam and dander causing allergies are only a few reasons cats are left outside. I provide additional tips for smaller homes in my article, Best House Cleaning Tips: How to Keep a Smaller Home Clean.
What are the problems with leaving cats outside at night uncaged?
When domestic felines are free to stray at night they get injured or killed in streets, poisoned under houses or in driveways, males fight with other tom cats and females have a high pregnancy rate. In addition, cats hunt at night and without a bell will kill anything it catches, including birds, mice, moles, lizards and any wildlife defenseless against these predators. This is also a good time for other human companions to snatch your cat for themselves.
What are the benefits of keeping your cats outside at night caged?
I decided to put our cats in a cage outside, because our female cat scratched me and my wife badly in separate incidences in what is called misdirected aggression. Misdirected aggression is where the cat is almost in a trance and lashes out at anything or anyone in their view. This was probably due to wild animals or stray cats outside our home.
Our cats have been in an outside cage for six years now and the female who scratched us is calmer and happier. We take them in as we like and they go out at night. All shedding is done outside and we’ve mulched most of the cage and put sand throughout meaning no litter boxes to clean. I spray the perimeter of the cage to help with bugs in the hot part of year and use advantage flea kits twice a year to ward off flea and tick infestations. They have a large watering bowl that we change every few days and a feeding bin that they share. Occasionally we give them wet food or treats for a change. Plus they have all the grass to eat they want and vomit outside not on the bed.
What are the caging requirements for domestic cats outside?
I could write an article on my outside domestic cat cage. Basically, I took three PetSafe dog kennels to form a large rectangle around three Bradford Pear trees. Then, I built a cat tree in the middle with two walking planks off the sides, a larger table with stairs and a cat walk. Third, I placed weld wire over the entire cage overlapping two 2×4″ openings and fastened the weld wire with hog nose clamps. The hardest part was cutting openings for the tree branches coming out the top which took hours to wire around the various branches ensuring there wasn’t space to get out. Fourth, I purchased a heavy duty tarp that covers the bedding areas and food as well as a shade cover over the middle of the cage and cat tree. I also put in a kids play house with a dog house and two pet carriers for sleeping with old blankets and towels. Last, I covered all surfaces with patio carpet which the cats love for scratching and clawing. The Bradford pears have doubled in size since building and now provide some climbing and great shade over the cage in hot summers. Please check the pictures for a better explanation of this cage.
This cage is home to three cats, but anymore I think would benefit from more space.
I believe our cats enjoy their outside living accommodations as much as we benefit having them outside the home at night. In addition to these benefits, it is safe housing for other animals as well when we need to go out of town. Someone can take care of our pets without having to go in the home.
I hope this is a guide to better understanding a cats needs and provides an alternative to letting your cats roam free at night. After putting my cage together, I was amazed at what I found online of outside caging ideas that other cat lovers created.
Please visit my DIY website @ DIYforanyone.com for more home improvement and pet caging ideas.