Posted on: 28 April 2016
Domestic cats can be wonderful pets and companions, but many of the cats you find in Australia are a little harder to get along with. Feral cat colonies are one of the most dangerous invasive species threatening the delicate balance of Australia's native ecosystem, and marauding feral cats can easily find their way into your garden to dig up flowerbeds, foul your lawn and menace any pets, chickens, quails etc. you keep in it.
Fortunately, while feral cats are tenacious and intelligent predators, it is possible to foil them by creating catproof fences and gates around your garden. There are a number of ways to turn your garden fence into a serious obstacle for cats:
Choosing fencing panels
Obviously conventional picket fences pose little problem to infiltrating cats, so your catproof fence should be constructed of panels to stop them slipping through gaps. Solid wooden panels can serve quite well, although they tend to have rough surfaces that cats can use their claws to climb up, so it will need to be supplemented with other catproof measures. A good alternative is dense chain-link fencing -- if the gaps between the links are small enough cats won't be able to fit their paws in them to climb. Be sure that the small gaps between panels and posts are well covered. You may also want to bury your fence panels if time and budget allows -- cats are not natural tunnellers but can easily squeeze through gaps at the bottoms of fences with a little digging.
To supplement the security provided by your fence panels, consider installing overhangs on the outward-facing side of your fence. Simple wooden boards or wire nets attached horizontally to the top of your fence can be an effective way to stop cats climbing or leaping over your fence, although any nearby trees or buildings may allow cats to bypass them. You can also purchase specialised rotating overhangs, which automatically dislodge any cat that manages to grab them.
Installing overhangs can be a time consuming process and may be impractical when it comes to catproofing large stretches of fence. Installing spike strips on the top of your fence can be a quicker and easier alternative option. These plastic strips can be nailed or glued to the top of your fence, and bristle with blunt pyramid-shaped spikes that, while not dangerous to cats, are uncomfortable enough for them to avoid walking on.
A serious solution to serious cat infestation problems, supplementing your fence with live electric wires can be tremendously effective as long as it is done properly. A single electrified wire placed at the base of your fence delivers an unpleasant but harmless shock to curious cat noses, and does not require much power to run, requiring a simple battery or solar powered charger.
If you wish to electrify the top of your fence to deter climbers, a little more effort is involved. Since electric fences only shock animals that are grounded, a cat standing on the top of a wooden or brick fence is largely immune to shocks. To circumvent this, you will need to link the fence-top electric wires to the ground with insulating wires, which can be pegged into the ground for added stability. Fence-top electric wire can also be installed on overhangs to supplement the protection they provide.Share