Dr Angus McCurdie
The case of the feline intruder…
Many cat owners find that they have problems with other people’s cats. It’s estimated that in a third of the households where the cat has access to come and go as they please, there is a problem with an ‘intruder cat’ using the same access. This can lead to unfortunate trips to the vet for treatment to cat wounds and abscesses caused by fighting. Additionally it also increases the risk of your pet contacting unwanted viruses that are often carried by unvaccinated or feral cats. In Adelaide this commonly includes cat flu and FIV (feline aids).
Cats are curious by nature and some extroverts simply enjoy visiting neighbours. A lucky few are welcomed and cause no problem. Others cause a nuisance by, stealing food, spray marking and fighting.
Why do other cats come into my home?
25% are looking for food
21% want attention
21% are seeking shelter
18% are intent on fighting
How do I prevent intruder cats coming in?
Do not interact with other cats that come into your garden or property, even if they are friendly. This will just encourage them to explore more and has the potential to cause problems for your cat/s. Move food away from the cat flap so intruder cats are not tempted by the sight of a food bowl. Be wary of allowing your cat access to your home via an open window as other cats may follow. Upgrade your cat flap to one that opens by a sensor that will be picked up from your cat’s collar or microchip. Consider enclosing your backyard so your cat cannot leave the backyard and others can not enter. This works well for units or town houses that have small courtyards.
It’s very important to try to prevent intruding behaviour from cats in your area before it starts. Cats are very persistent and can be hard to discourage once they have started invading!