A fence to keep pet cats in the backyard may sound unrealistic, given a cat's ability to jump over and climb almost any vertical surface. However, such fencing systems do exist, and they work.
Outdoor fencing for cats is used to keep pet cats contained in their own yards. It works by utilizing flexible mesh that is difficult to climb or balance on, and a curved top that stops the cat from reaching the other side of the enclosure.
Cats can enjoy the outdoors without risks to their health and safety. Restricting cats to their own backyards with a fence that also keeps out predators will prevent encounters with stray cats and wild animals such as skunks and coyotes.
Free-standing cat fences consist of mesh walls strung between metal poles around the perimeter of the property. The top is curled inward, so if a cat manages to climb the mesh, it simply falls back to the ground under its own weight (see Resources).
Fence-top systems place a strip of mesh at a 90-degree angle to the top of an existing fence. The mesh is strung across a series of triangular brackets that keep it taunt and flat (see Resources).
Snow can accumulate on the fence-top models, and can break the mesh or bend the brackets if it is not removed. Therefore, it's important to clean off a cat fence as soon as possible during any storm with heavy snowfall.
When first presented with a cat fence, the cat will try to escape--vigorously--only to keep bumping its head into the mesh at the top of the fence. The cat may persist at trying to outsmart the system, but within a short period of time will realize the futility of trying to escape and accept its new enclosure.
- Catherine Chant