Do Fences Keep Cats Confined??


And here's why...

Although fences have been suggested as a deterrent to keeping cats out of sensitive bird nesting areas, there is no evidence to show that any fence (unless enclosed on the top) is effective in keeping cats out. Coman (cited in Potter 1991) reports that fences have had poor results, even electrified ones, and they are expensive. During the tracking portion of a study by Carol Fiore, urban cats were routinely seen scaling privacy fences 8 feet tall, climbing on roofs, up trees, and over every obstacle in their path. The use of an electric fence carrying 6.0kV along plain wires spaced 60-90mm intervals around an enclosure in the Northern Territory of Australia did not comprehensively exclude cats (several cats got in!), and Coman reports that various predator fences were tried with less than satisfactory results in wildlife parks in other places in Australia (Potter 1991). Coman goes on to say "With cats, height of the fence is immaterial as they are adept climbers. Almost certainly, electrification of the fence would be required and, even then, it is difficult to avoid weak spots, particularly at corners or over rough terrain. Cost is likely to be very high, and of course, the possibility of short-outs and breakdowns can render the whole fence inoperable."

Potter, C. (ed.) 1991. The impact of cats on native wildlife, proceedings of a workshop, 8-9 May 1991, Endangered Species Unit, Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

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