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Cat curfew to run 24 hours in Yarra Ranges Shire

A Victorian council will banish cats from its streets after it voted to impose a 24-hour cat curfew.

Cats in the Shire of Yarra Ranges will be confined to their owner's property at all times when the curfew is enforced in six months.
The new law received overwhelming support in an online poll. Almost 60 per cent of 234 respondents were in favour of the 24-hour ban and another 39 per cent supported a night curfew.

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some cat owners who would never dream of letting their pets roam free outside have come up with a creative compromise: an enclosed space — usually in the form of a screened-in porch or deck — that allows them to share the great outdoors.

Please don’t call it a cage. They prefer the term “catio.”

“The cats, they like to sit out there,” said Stefanie L. Russell, 44, referring to the balcony of her 12th-floor Greenwich Village apartment, where a homemade enclosure keeps her three Burmese cats safe. “Before, we basically didn’t use the balcony at all, because we were afraid that the cats would fall or jump.”

Two years ago, she and her husband, Robert Davidson, who are on the faculty of the N.Y.U. College of Dentistry, fenced off half the balcony, which runs the length of the apartment. They used industrial-grade PVC pipe and heavy black netting, creating a fully enclosed space that they decorated with furniture, plants and carpeting.

Now the couple and their 9-year-old daughter, Sophie, leave the terrace door open for Oliver, Lily and Jackson, who are, as Ms. Russell put it, “the type of cats that love to run out in the hallway.”

The cats seem happier, she said, and there has been an unexpected bonus: “Before, we used to have pigeons nesting on the balcony, and it was just a mess.” These days, the birds keep their distance.

Catios have made inroads in the suburbs, where they range from small, practical structures — like a box made of wood and chicken wire — to all-out fantasy cat playgrounds, replete with tunnels and scratching posts. But such enclosures remain a rarity in the city, where giving up even a square foot of real estate to a litter box can seem like a sacrifice.
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Keeping your cat safe and secure
The average life span of a free-roaming cat is less than three years, compared to 12-15 years for the average indoor-only cat. Our own experience with caring for cats confirms these numbers. And, we believe that the weight of these numbers is behind the trend of cat owners making the safety, health, and happiness of their pet a priority by:    

    Keeping their cats indoors
    Creating safe enclosures for unsupervised outdoor activity
    Enjoying the outdoors with their pet in shared activity
#catEnclosures #petsafety
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Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries
Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Cats (Victoria)
Recommended Best Practice

Cats should be confined to the owner's property from dusk until dawn and preferably at all other times, for the protection of the cat's welfare. Keeping cats confined reduces the chances of them being hit by cars or involved in fights with other cats or dogs, contracting diseases such as cat flu and feline AIDS from other cats as well as protecting them from poisons, theft or trapping. It also reduces predation by cats on wildlife. Cats are generally sedentary animals and can be confined to the owner's property at all times without a risk to their welfare providing environmental needs are met (including exercise e.g. through play).

If cats are kept inside on a permanent basis, they need to be provided with a litter box placed well away from the cat's eating and sleeping areas. Litter must be cleaned daily to remove urine and faeces for hygiene reasons. Many cats will not use soiled litter and will therefore soil elsewhere in the home.

Cats require some exposure to sunlight to ensure good health. If they are kept indoors for long periods access to sunlight through a window or fly screen is usually sufficient.

Care should be taken to protect cats from hazards within the household such as electrical appliances, power cords, household poisons and water sources such as toilets or swimming pools.

Suitable accommodation and carers must be provided for cats when owners go away on holidays e.g. a boarding cattery that is registered with the local council or ensure a responsible person is providing the necessary daily care for the cat.

Guidelines

Cats can be contained to their property by:

keeping them in the house at all times;
building or buying cat enclosures, these can be separate or connected to a cat door into the house;
enclosing verandahs; or
making property fences cat proof, eg placing netting at an inward angle on top of the fence or adding a ledge to the inside of the fence so that cats cannot climb over.
Cat modules/enclosures can be created either separately or linked to the house and can be a great way to provide an interesting environment while containing cats to the property. Such cat housing needs to be easily cleaned and maintained and human access points are needed in case of emergencies.

An important aspect of cat enclosures is the complexity of the environment. Cats require regular exercise. Environmental enrichment and exercise needs can be met through the use of platforms at different heights in the vertical space connected by walkways (static and swinging), climbing frames and an interesting visual outlook. Constant confinement without stimulation for exercise and play can lead to a dull, apathetic cat or to the development of destructive behaviour. Scratching poles need to be provided for confined cats.
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WHY DO OWNERS RESTRICT THEIR CAT'S ACCESS TO THE OUTDOORS?

According to our Neighbourhood Cat Campaign survey, reasons why owners restrict their cats' access to the outdoors include:

Road traffic
Cat may go missing
Worry that other people may hurt cat
Injury sustained in fights with other cats
To prevent hunting
To prevent prey being brought into home
Worry about disease — AND concern about theft.

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Re: Breeder's Contract - keep cats enclosed
"My contract stipulates that cats are NEVER to be allowed out on their own, and must either be kept as house cats or have a cat run/professionally cat proofed garden which is the only place they are allowed to explore. I am absolutely not flexible on those points. Why? Because every one of those little kittens that leaves for a new home takes a piece of my heart with them, and I will never stop caring for them or loving them, no matter how many years they've been gone. I don't want to hear that one of them has been run over or gone missing, because it would torment me that I, by my choice of home, had put my cat in that situation. Most breeders never stop caring about their cats, so I can understand why this is in many contracts these days.

If a cat is let out to roam, there is a possibility that it might be stolen by someone else. In this situation, who knows the kind of home it could end up in.

The bottom line is this. Those cats are in this world because of me, and as such, I will always have a responsibility to ensure their welfare. For me, this includes making sure they aren't stolen or become road kill, and if someone refuses to cooperate with that, then they don't get one of my cats, simple as that."
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"Outdoor cat enclosures became an obsession of mine many years ago when I made the transition from letting my cats go outside to making them become indoor cats all the time, an action I have never regretted for one moment. I didn't want them to be totally deprived of cat outdoor life, so I heavily researched outside cat enclosures"
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