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Colony in an enclosure?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
We have very anti-outside cat governments and SPCA here. My town has no ordinance about outside cats but they are trapped by Animal Control and taken to the SPCA, where they are almost automatically euthanized.

For this reason and because we live on a busy street, we are thinking of constructing an outside enclosure with wire top and sides. We would outfit it with houses, climbing perches, an artificial cat tree or maybe a real tree. We have enough room to house 4-5 cats and would work with the rescue to save some of the trapped ferals from euthanisia.

I know ferals are often relocated and kept in crates until they become accustomed to their new surroundings. I don't think we'd have to crate them - just let them go into the enclosure. I plan a double gate system, so they couldn't escape. We'd feed them, provide a sandbox and the other amenities and of course, vet them one a year.

Opinions? Anyone ever do anything like this?
post #2 of 11
I'm going to do it. We live in an apartment, obviously not permanent. There's no way I can just leave them here after caring for them for years, so we aren't going to move until we can afford a house, and by that time I'll have enough to build a large enough enclosure for all of them. I'd like to hear opinions and stories too though.
post #3 of 11
One of the long time rescuers on this site, after having seen too many ferals die from poisoning (intentional or otherwise), being hit by a car, &etc. built a very large enclosure and released her ferals in there. It's got lots of boxes filled with hay for sleeping in the winter, lots of places to climb and play (I think large logs/tree limbs &etc. ?), cat trees, old furniture - it is great! (I think she uses those plastic kiddie pools for litter boxes).

I think it's a great idea!

post #4 of 11
I'm in the process of building an enclosure. I have outdoor farm kitties (all fixed), but many are getting up in years (and senility).... I'm still in the "thought" process part - figuring what I have on hand, what I need to buy, cost, etc. The hardest part is where to locate it!
post #5 of 11
So how much room would you need per cat? And I wonder if when I move to another town if I'd need a permit or something. (Sorry, I kind of hijacked the thread!!!)
post #6 of 11
Depending on size, a permit may be necessary. My cats are all old - and c-r-a-n-k-y. Keep in mind, don't think just "flat space", but also vertical space. If you have support beams in the enclosure, add shelves to it to make a cat tree. Make tunnels, hide-a-ways, & kitty balance beams for more space.

Take a look at these cat enclosures!
post #7 of 11
Interesting idea. What we do talk about is essentially a sort of zoological garden, the part: Feral domestic cats...
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
I read somewhere that a cat needs 500 square feet of territory. If you add the vertical spaces, I'm thinking a space measuring 15 x 20 feet would do. We'll probably use the turkey wire with the smaller spaces for the enclosure walls and top, nailed to 4"x4"x8' uprights.

I envision the space having two smaller rectangular "side rooms" - one for a roofed over part (for shade) and one for a double gate so there won't be any escapes.

I'm also thinking of adding a small shed where they could sleep. One corner of themain area (or maybe another "side room") will be a real sandbox so I wouldn't have to deal with litter boxes. The urine will drain into the earth and I would scoop every day or so. Depends on how many cats are in the enclosure but I don't see us having more than 4 or 5.

On the enclosure fence, I'd add catwalks and shelves and maybe a cat tree. I may plant a real tree and some shrubs for hiding places.

I want to put a stockade fence along the main road to protect the cats from prying eyes (and possibly kids throwing stones, etc.). I will need a permit for that but am exploring if I need one for the enclosure.

Anyway, those are my plans. Now to save some money!
post #9 of 11
Also - consider if the kitties will get along on not. 500 sq ft might work for most cats - but not mine (as I have some who despise each other). Have a "contingency" plan.
post #10 of 11
I am the long-time rescuer that Laurie referred to. I have a clowder of twenty currently residing in my enclosure. I have a large introduction cage that is in the middle of the enclosure where I put the newcomers (after a vet visit) so the others can get used to them without a major confrontation. It has worked out well. The photos below are when it was first built (over two years ago) we have made major changes inside, and I really should take photos of how it looks today.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wow, Hissy - that's too cool. It looks like your entire enclosure is roofed over and I love the houses.

I was thinking about whether to try to intro new cats or start with an intact colony. One of the things that started me thinking about this is that Animal Control is doing period sweeps and trapping whole colonies. I thought I could at least save one existing colony. I know as time goes by, newcomers will be inevitable, though, so I guess I'd better think about it.

How large is your enclosure? Did you start with one or two cats or a whole colony?
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