New homes transforming our pets’ lives
We are a nation of cat lovers and Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show we have an estimated 2.7 million kitties curling up on our laps each night.
Unfortunately, Australia is also home to between 2.1 and 6.3 million feral cats, which are nowhere near as cute. Feral cats spread disease but their impact on native birds and animals is of far more concern.
The fact is, feral cats (and domestic moggies who are allowed to roam, particularly after dark), threaten more than 100 species of native birds and mammals, and have already caused the extinction of some, says the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
Feral cats are difficult to contain, but you can do your bit for our precious environment by keeping your four-legged friends indoors at all times. If your fur-baby objects to being locked indoors, you might like to consider buying or even building a cat patio - or 'catio'.
FENCE YOUR CAT IN
Catios, that is fenced in patios or even completely separate enclosures you can set up in your yard, have taken off in recent times with a swag of Aussie pet companies getting in on the act. Right now you can buy a fully-contained cat run or multi-level enclosed cat tower and have it delivered to your door within days. You can spend into the thousands if inclined, but there are basic versions too. Those who love a bargain and are handy can build their own. One of the simplest ways to do is by using two Ikea Henje frames and some chicken wire or fine metal screen cloth.
DIY YOUR DREAM CATIO
Ikea hack lovers have shared many versions of their Henje catios which they have created with little more than the aforementioned items and a heavy-duty staple gun.
All you need do is first assemble your Henje shelving, cut the chicken wire or mesh cloth to fit and then staple it tightly so that three sides of the shelving is enclosed.
Next, place the back of your catio against an open window and voila - your kitty now has a cool playground in which to enjoy fresh air, get a little exercise and watch the world go by while staying completely safe and, perhaps more importantly, not causing any harm to wildlife either.
Don't forget to attach your catio to the window or wall so that your kitty is not able to escape. And add a snugly bed, a treat or two and some hanging toys to play with.
Originally published as New homes transforming our pets' lives