Does my cat need to roam to be happy?

Happy cats in a yard equipped with the Oscillot cat fence system

Happy cats in a yard equipped with the Oscillot cat fence system

Many people think that keeping a cat contained, i.e. not letting it roam beyond their own property, will lead to an unhappy cat.

But experts agree that this is simply untrue. The Government of Victoria puts it this way:

Contrary to popular belief, cats don’t have to roam. Providing their basic needs are met, cats can enjoy longer and healthier lives when safely contained to the property.

Serious problems can occur if cats are allowed to roam outdoors, particularly at night (around 80% of accidents involving cats happen at night). Roaming cats can get hit by cars, injured in fights, catch fatal diseases (eg feline AIDS) or become lost.

Roaming cats can also kill native wildlife – even well fed cats will hunt. Roaming cats can annoy neighbours too, by spraying, fighting, yowling and digging in gardens.

Source: Cat confinement – enclosures and fencing

The rest is really just common sense. Your cat’s environment – whether it’s indoors only or an indoor/outdoor combination with cat fencing – should incorporate the following:

  • Space – room to exercise and to offer variety so they don’t get bored
  • Security – so the cat cannot get past the boundary, and cannot injure themself in trying
  • Comfort – such as shelter from the sun and rain, a nice bed, litterbox, food and water
  • Stimulation – cat toys, things to climb on, maybe another cat to play with 🙂
  • You – yes, you need to spend time with your cat, playing and giving affection. And it’s good for both of you!

The Government of Victoria has more details on how to enrich your cat’s environment.

19 July 2019