Thursday 8 October 2020

Modern prefabricated homes should have a catio option

Modern prefabrication techniques for the building of homes is far superior than the way it was after the Second World War. Even some of those small prefabs, that were put up quickly, still stand today so I think we can expect good things about modern factory built homes. It goes without saying, when you think about it, that if a house is built in segments and those segments are manufactured within an enclosed space where conditions are warm and stable and where machinery is used to cut the parts accurately, that the homes are going to be of a higher quality than if they are built piecemeal by possibly unskilled or semi-skilled people in all weathers using old-fashioned techniques.

Timber prefab home which should have the catio option. Photo in public domain.

Perhaps a problem with prefab homes is their image because in the UK people perceive the prefab home as the Second World War version. Times have changed dramatically. I would expect factory built, prefabricated homes to be of substantially superior quality than conventionally built homes. And they will be cheaper and they can be erected far more quickly, perhaps in days.

The government of the UK has to build homes rapidly to accommodate a rapidly increasing population in part due to mass immigration over the preceding 20 years.

The government is considering using some of its £3 billion housebuilding fund to support this new generation of prefabs to ease the housing crisis. It is reported that the government wants to see 100,000 new homes constructed off-site in a factory in a rush to build new homes. In November, the UK government is going to publish a White Paper on this project.

With that background in mind, and knowing how beneficial some outside space is to a domestic cat if they are confined to the home, modern prefab homes should come with a catio option. What I mean is this: the manufacturers should build into their designs the option to tack on to the side of the building a catio. I would not expect this to be hugely complicated because these are, after all, kit houses built in sections.

There are very many cat owners in the UK. And the British people need to be encouraged to keep their cats inside. There is a default culture in the UK that the domestic cat is allowed to go outside no matter how dangerous it might be because of road traffic, for instance. Providing an option of a catio would encourage them to consider keeping their cats full-time indoors. In America this is an option which is often taken up partly because in that grand country they have predators such as the coyote which preys upon domestic cats.

In the UK we don't have the same animal predators of the domestic cat but we do have human activity in a much more compressed urban environment than in the USA. There's more traffic on more roads presenting an ongoing danger. I want to see Britons encouraged to consider keeping their cats inside and in this regard a catio option on prefab houses for the future would be beneficial.

Looking very long-term into the future there will come a time that even in the UK there will be calls to keep cats indoors in the interest of wildlife predation. There is talk today about domestic cats preying upon wildlife. Wildlife is under huge pressure from human activity. The domestic cat contributes to this and there is a general decline in biodiversity in the UK. I foresee a change in attitude perhaps in 20 to 30 years time. In preparation for that moment, let's consider the catio option for prefab homes.

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