Sunday 27 July 2008

Invisible electric cat fences

Do Invisible electric cat fences work? I have fitted a very large one and seen the results. I should know.

A number of years ago I fitted an invisible electric cat fence on my parents property with the help of the supplier of the fence. It took about 3 hours to fit. My mother had recently lost a cat to traffic and was anxious, very anxious about keeping a cat. It affected her badly. Her garden is quite big by UK standards at about half and acre.

Invisible electric cat fences are essentially a fine cable through which an electric current is passed (the current is low and will do no more than give a mild shock). It is buried under the ground near the surface or attached to trees and fences around the perimeter of the property. The cat wears a receiver device which gives an audible warning when near the cable and passes a small electric shock to the cat when the cat is in close proximity to the cable. The cat turns away and stays inside the garden. That is the theory and in practice it works pretty well but, and this is a big and critical but, it is not 100% successful. Cats find ways over and around or they ignore the shock. If you turn up the current the shock is bigger but this still may not work and anyway we don't like giving our cats electric shocks.

As we fit these devices for peace of mind the fact that it is not 100% secure makes it next to useless, I am afraid. In fact it can be worse because some people may be lulled into think it is secure and it isn't and secondly, when the cat gets out it is harder to get back because of the invisible electric cat fence.

So, the end result for my mother was to build a proper cat enclosure in the garden about 12 foot square. This is 100% safe and it gives my mother the required peace of mind she needed and sought. It has been highly successful for cat and mother.

However as a postscript, it occurs to me that invisible electric cat fences could be made more effective if two are fitted one beyond the other. This I think is the answer to the slightly insecure single barrier. I feel fairly confident that a double line of cable a yard apart would present a nearly 100% secure barrier. For example, the first cable could be on the ground and the second on the garden fence.

For me though a well constructed cat enclosure is the ideal compromise for cat and human in a dangerous world for a cat.

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