The nightmare of a Cat and Cattery Owner

Enhancing Our Outdoor Enclosure for Maximum Safety and Security

At our cattery, the safety and well-being of the cats in our care are our top priorities as part of an ongoing process. This includes maintaining high standards in hygiene, pet health monitoring, addressing specific pet behaviours, implementing and maintaining safety measures, continuous staff training, and defining, improving and following our standard operating procedures (SOPs). We share our experience with other Pet Boarding Facilities and try to learn from each other. 

Despite our best efforts, we are not free from misjudgment in risk assessment and have learned the hard way that improvements are necessary.

Recently, we experienced an unfortunate incident where one of the cats in our care managed to escape from the outdoor enclosure of the main cattery. We were deeply concerned and saddened by this event and empathized with the owner, who was in fear for a week until we were able to locate and trap the cat to return her safely. This incident has prompted us to re-evaluate and enhance our safety measures to prevent such occurrences in the future.

Our Previous Setup

Our previous outdoor enclosure was constructed using double-lined mesh rated for pet enclosures as the first layer up to the roof and stainless steel cat netting with reinforced edging imported from Australia as the second layer up to 2 meters in height. This netting is designed to withstand harsh climate conditions. The enclosure also featured motion sensor-triggered lights and a webcam for observation from our website.

We performed regular perimeter checks and treat with rust converted for weaknesses and daily visual inspections before opening the cattery and yards, and we were confident that the risk was very limited. While it provided little comfort, we have hosted over 4,000 cats since our establishment and have had very few incidents. We also had to work within the limitations of available materials, prioritizing areas that seemed to present a higher risk for installing a second layer.

Despite these measures, based on our analysis, a cat managed to hang on the first layer at over 2 meters in height and chew a small hole. Since this was above the second layer, the cat was able to escape. This small gap in the second layer at that height was not initially considered a major risk factor, as we believed the height and durability of the first layer would prevent any issues. We took the biology and behavior of cats into consideration, knowing that cats do not differentiate details well with their vision and tend to find weak spots by trial and error. We assumed any attempt for chewing would begin at ground level or on a platform where a second layer was installed.

We have since learned that even the more secure setups can have vulnerabilities.

The Challenges of Finding a Solution

After the cats escape, we knew we had to find a more robust solution. One of the main challenges we faced was sourcing materials that are not readily available in New Zealand or finding suppliers who could provide custom sizes. Our goal was to find a material that would offer ta higher level of security without compromising the comfort of the cats.

Enhancing the Outdoor Enclosure

We closed the Outdoor Enclosure for the time until further Improvements were performed. The gap in the second layer will be securely closed. Additionally, we have added a third layer of protection using zoo mesh made out of stainless steel, similar to the type used for small wild cats like servals imported from overseas. This material is highly durable and designed to withstand the escape attempts of even the most determined cats as wildly used in Zoos and Animal Sanctuaries. 

The new setup includes:

  • The first layer of mesh pet enclosure covering all parts of the Outdoor Enclosure, the Front Area and the Family Room Enclosure as before
  • The second layer of premium cat netting made out of stainless steel made for harsh conditions like coastal areas like before, covering now up to the ceiling the complete area.
  • A new, third Layer of stainless steel zoo mesh was installed for the Outdoor Enclosure, but also for the not affected Front Window and the Family Room Enclosure toprovide superior strength and durability.
  • Enhanced security features: The Camera was upgraded to a Full Security Camera including Cloud Recording and Motion detection for example at night in case of outside sources that may damage the Enclosure.

We want to assure our existing and potential customers that we are fully committed to the safety and security of all cats in our care. This recent enhancement is part of our ongoing effort to provide the best possible environment for your pets. We continuously review and improve our practices to meet the highest standards.

We will announce here, when this work was finalized.

We appreciate your understanding and support as we work to make our cattery the safest place for your beloved pets. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns, and thank you for trusting us with the care of your furry family members.