Impounded cats will now spend time in a newly installed catio while awaiting collection from pet owners at the City of Busselton Animal Care Facility. Cat owners can see first-hand what a well-designed and constructed catio looks like, including all the essential features required to ensure cats are safe and comfortable while contained.
With increasing numbers of cat owners installing catios in the Geographe Catchment, the catio display was built to show owners of impounded cats how to prevent them from roaming. It also offers a practical example of steps that owners can take toward responsible pet ownership.
“We want to support cat owners to create safe spaces for cats to enjoy. Responsible pet ownership benefits both cats and local wildlife, such as our critically endangered Western Ringtail Possums,” said GeoCatch officer Nicole Lincoln.
The catio was designed and installed by local catio builder Jason Mansfield from South West Cat Enclosures and includes enrichment items that keep cats happy and entertained.
During the catio construction phase, one of the cats available for adoption took a shine to Jason. Ray, a ginger cat, managed to win over Jason’s heart with his cheeky personality. “I might put in an adoption request if no one collects him,” said Jason.
Dr. Heather Crawford, a cat behaviouralist from Murdoch University, says that cats can be content in an enclosed space if provided with the right stimulus and enrichment activities. “Cats can live happy, healthy lives in catios, provided its design provides mental and physical enrichment, such as climbing posts, plants, and other activities within the enclosure,” explained Dr. Crawford.
Responsible pet ownership is encouraged by the City of Busselton, with all cats over 6 months old required to be sterilised, microchipped, and registered. Narelle Smith, from the City of Busselton Animal Care Facility, says the number of cats entering the facility is concerning.
“We see at least three roaming cats arriving here per week. This can increase to 15 cats per week during kitten season, which is fast approaching in springtime. Hopefully more catios mean fewer cats in the pound,” said Narelle.
If you have considered building a catio and would like more information, visit the GeoCatch website geocatch.asn.au.
This project is delivered by GeoCatch and City of Busselton with support from South West NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.