We have been working closely with pet behaviourist Jon Bowen and Your Cat magazine on the Neighbourhood Cat Campaign, a new initiative that aims to learn more about the outdoor lives of cats and the contribution they make to our neighbourhoods.
As part of the campaign, we surveyed 896 cat owners about their cats’ home environments both inside and outside of the house. We also surveyed 206 non-cat owners to get an understanding of what they think of the cats in their neighbourhood. The survey has helped us to highlight why cats behave the way they do and has enabled us to offer advice on different ways to improve a cat’s environment for the benefit of both pets and owners, but also to improve neighbourhood relations, particularly amongst non-cat owners.
Cat Flap Invasions
Our survey revealed that 51% of households with a non-selective cat flap had experienced an intruder cat coming into the home. Cats are territorial creatures. The home is their core territory and if this is invaded, it can be very stressful for the resident pet. They can develop stress-related illnesses and feel edgy at meal times if the intruder cat is constantly coming in to eat their food.
To prevent home invasions, install a selective entry cat flap, such as the SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap, so that only your cat has access to their core territory.
Cats like to graze, but if a neighbouring cat can gain access to their food, they are more likely to gorge themselves than demonstrate natural eating behaviour.
33% of cats in the survey are fed 2 or 3 times a day. However in the wild, cats will eat small meals 10 to 20 times a day. Cats that only have access to food a few times a day will therefore search for food elsewhere, which is why they might intrude into a neighbour’s house in search of a bite to eat.
By supplying food regularly throughout the day, you can ensure that your cat develops natural eating habits, which will discourage them from intruding into another cat’s territory.
69.4% of non-cat owners said that their main complaint was that the neighbour’s cat uses their garden to go to the toilet. Only 14.7% of cat owners provide an outdoor latrine for the pet. If there is no place for them to go to the toilet in their own garden, then they will seek a suitable toileting spot elsewhere.
It’s very easy to create a toilet in your garden for your cat. Fill a hole with some loose sand in a sheltered area and your cat should get the idea.
These are just a few of the simple steps you can take to improve your cat’s environment so that they can live happier, safer lives. To find out more about the results of the survey, take a look at the Neighbourhood Cat Campaign Research Report.