SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Keeping Cats Safe at Home

Companion Animals

SPCA advocates for companion cats to be kept at home to keep them safe from harm and promote positive welfare, whilst minimising their negative impacts on wildlife and nuisance in the community. Cats can be kept healthy and happy at home through a variety of ways including an enriched indoor environment, a safe and secure area such as a fenced garden, or with a cat enclosure or “catio”.

Cats can be successfully kept at home through providing an enriched indoor environment, catios (an outside enclosure), or cat proof fencing and cat curfews at night-time or providing supervised outdoor time.

Keeping cats at home requires an owner to provide for the cat’s physical, health, and behavioural needs. Cats should be provided with a secure area that allows them adequate space to move around and express normal behaviours, the ability to interact with other animals and humans where appropriate, suitable shelter from all conditions, and access to adequate food and water. Owners should promote positive welfare by providing multiple resting and hiding places, toileting areas (litter trays), places to scratch and opportunities for mental and physical stimulation with enrichment.

Keeping cats at home reduces risks including: disease transmission, injury or death (e.g. being hit or run over by a car; being attacked by a dog or fighting with other cats; eating poison bait intended for other animals), becoming lost or stolen. Keeping cats at home helps prevent unwanted reproduction, nuisance behaviours (e.g. roaming, fighting, spraying, soiling) and transmission of zoonotic disease.

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