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Indoor Fence for cat

dogmelissa
March 31st, 2008, 12:52 AM
I can't believe I'm even thinking about this, but I don't know what else to do...
:sorry:
Here's the story:
Taz, my way too smart for his own good cat, recently discovered that he could break through the magnetic cat door which separted him from the food that the other cats eat. A more visual explanation of the set up I have is here: http://tinyurl.com/ysxtgl (I'm sorry for the crappy lighting). Basically what I've done is taken a standard wire dog kennel (2' x 2' x 3' approx) cut a hole in the non-door end, and stuck a standard magnetic cat door on it. The 3 girls have the magnetic "key" (any magnet will work) on their collars, the dog and Taz do not. For 3.5 years this has kept Taz out. And the reason why I have needed to keep him out was because a) he is a chow hound and will eat until he pukes, and then eat some more (leading to obesity) and b) the food that the girls are on is different than his and gives him diarrhea (though I wonder if his stolen food = diarrhea incidents are more because it's food he's not used to than food that is bad for him).

Regardless, long story short, he has been stealing food for about 3 weeks now and it started because of an error of ours, then he shredded the cardboard covering, then the door was malfunctioning. We've had a webcam on the kennel for 3 days now and have never caught him breaking in (he never would do it when we were in the room and we hadn't caught him in the archives with any clarity to figure out how he was doing it). Tonight, as I sat on my computer directly in front of the kennel, I heard a cat at the kennel door, turned the webcam application to me and watched. Turns out that he has learned to literally back up and smash his face against the door, which is enough force to push the door past the latch and allow him entry to the kennel. :yell:

Over the last few weeks we've been researching methods that may keep him out and nothing seemed to have any better solutions in terms of doors or other barrier methods.

Unfortunately, we have come to the conclusion that in order to keep Taz in our house (and not force him to live in the basement), we have to try something fairly severe. We are considering an Indoor Fence. These work on the same principle as the outdoor fences, that if an animal get too close to the perimeter, they get a shock delivered via metal prongs on a collar. The difference is that you can set the barrier to be as small as 2' in diameter (it goes roughly in a circle from the transmitter).

I'm sick to my stomach that I'm considering shocking my cat, but I don't know what else to do.
Has anyone ever used an indoor fence (or an outdoor one for that matter)? Opinions on brands or levels of correction?
I would like to get the collar that can be set to tone/vibration only, but that one seems to only be available on the "stubborn" animal one, which is suited for dogs over 50 lbs. Taz is big, but 50 lbs he is not. The brands I'm considering (would like to find a local source, too) are PetSafe & Innotek.

Any help is appreciated,
Melissa

clm
March 31st, 2008, 06:42 AM
I would never use a shock collar on a cat. If you've ever seen a cat that's been badly scared, you wouldn't either.
Feed the cats at set times and keep Taz locked up in a separate room for an hour at feeding time. His food can be left out. The girls food cannot.

Cindy

Love4himies
March 31st, 2008, 07:19 AM
I agree 110% with clm. You should not use a shock collar on a cat. clm's suggestion is a humane way to control the cat's eating.

We have that same problem with Sweet Pea, who came to us as a starving, pregnant stray and she eats to the point of being sick. She is extremely protective of her food so she must be locked up while Jasper and Puddles eats. She now runs to her bedroom waiting for her food at meal time. No harm done, and she doesn't mind, I really believe she actually prefers it because she feels more protected while she eats.

Good luck.

sugarcatmom
March 31st, 2008, 08:13 AM
I'm also in agreement that a shock collar would be a bad idea. Just out of curiosity, I'm wondering what the different foods are that you're feeding your cats and why. Maybe I can help you in that category.

badger
March 31st, 2008, 09:35 AM
I agree, feed them apart. Your grazers will soon adapt. If food is the only problem, I don't see the need for barriers. I've got a couple of raiders, and it takes some ingenuity to restrain them, so I sympathize.

14+kitties
March 31st, 2008, 10:38 AM
I agree with everyone. And please take Sugarcatmom up on her offer.
Just to add to the great suggestions - if the girls are used to eating in their crate then turn it around to the door end and put them in there to eat at the specified time. No need for a separate room. No cat can get in the door when it is closed. This way no cat is having to "suffer" by having to go to another room.
I have two large dog crates in my kitchen at the moment because my kitties are in the house on a rotating basis recouping from their spays and neutures. Their food is in the crates along with their litter boxes. They don't have to worry about the dogs getting the food or entrenching on their territory. It works really well.

Kristin7
March 31st, 2008, 11:42 AM
My vet has 3 office cats and two of them were breaking into the office Rx food, so she has an electric fence around the shelves with food. The cats wear the little shock collars and stay out of the food now. I have no idea which brand/etc they are but I could ask if you are still interested in this approach.

I would personally just feed them separately at scheduled feeding times. i have had to do this with mine because one of them eats just like your Taz cat.

clm
March 31st, 2008, 12:01 PM
My vet has 3 office cats and two of them were breaking into the office Rx food, so she has an electric fence around the shelves with food. The cats wear the little shock collars and stay out of the food now. I have no idea which brand/etc they are but I could ask if you are still interested in this approach.



I'm afraid I wouldn't be going to a vet that uses shock collars on cats.

Cindy

Love4himies
March 31st, 2008, 12:53 PM
My vet has 3 office cats and two of them were breaking into the office Rx food, so she has an electric fence around the shelves with food.
:eek::eek::mad::mad:

I would not be returning to any vet office that did this.

Kristin7
March 31st, 2008, 01:41 PM
The office cats are great, the vet saved their lives from people who didn't want to treat them for whatever was wrong. They are fine and are very well adjusted, I enjoy petting them whenever I'm there (two meezers and one black cat). In fact, last time one of them even made friends with my cat Annie at her last wellness visit. If I stop going, it won't be for that reason. I haven't found any vets around me that I like all that much for one reason or another, this current one seems to be the one I dislike the least...

Love4himies
March 31st, 2008, 02:12 PM
The office cats are great, the vet saved their lives from people who didn't want to treat them for whatever was wrong. They are fine and are very well adjusted, I enjoy petting them whenever I'm there (two meezers and one black cat). In fact, last time one of them even made friends with my cat Annie at her last wellness visit. If I stop going, it won't be for that reason. I haven't found any vets around me that I like all that much for one reason or another, this current one seems to be the one I dislike the least...

I guess I am used to pets who have more human rights (they are human, right?:D)than the humans that are providing for them.

Kristin7
March 31st, 2008, 03:03 PM
of course human! :D

my other vet choices: 1) most annoying arrogant arse ever, or 2) place that killed my last dog by giving her meds that triggered all kinds of stuff in her body (long story - I know she didn't have much longer anyway, but still, it was horrible, and also, I did talk to someone else in my neighborhood who had the same thing happen with the same vet at the same place). I would consider going back to #2, as I think they got rid of that vet... but you can see why the hesitation. all other vets are further away than I would want to drive (esp with a dog who gets carsick).

dogmelissa
March 31st, 2008, 09:11 PM
clm,
I worked for 3 years at the local Humane Society. I've seen scared cats. I'm not trying to scare the life out of my cat, simply teach him to stay away from food that doesn't belong to him.

Love4,
An indoor fence is not a shock collar. It delivers an electric "shock" when (and only when) the animal is too close to the barrier. It is not a random shock and will not hurt him (if properly adjusted). Taz has been with me since he was a kitten of 4 weeks old - and he has an automatic feeder. It is not him being locked up at feeding time that is the problem as he is the one breaking through the cat door to get to the other food.

sugarcat,
Thank you for your offer, but it is not the kind of food that he is eating. I have been around cats for a very long time and currently work for Pet Planet - all my cats eat a high quality food (Taz eats a holistic food due to crystals in his urine), and the one and only reason that Taz is not on the same food as the girls is because I've struggled to find a food that all 3 of the girls did well on (I've recently changed it again), and the only food that Taz is doing well on is the one he's on. I also feed Taz, one of the girls and my dog plain yogurt every night (the other girls don't want to have any). Also every saturday the dog & Taz get a cranberry tablet in their yogurt, which is keeping Taz's crystals under control. Please note that since he has been breaking into the girl's kennel in the last 2 weeks, he has already gained weight, and though I haven't weighed him, I'm guessing he's already back up to his heaviest-ever weight of 23 lbs, from his "normal" 17 lbs. This is a SIGNIFICANT gain and his health is in jeapordy with such a rapid weight gain.

badger,
My grazers will NOT adapt. I have tried to put them on a schedule and it just doesn't work. I had a cat lose almost a third of her body weight when I tried to feed her on a schedule; because she would only eat a few kibbles at "scheduled" time and that's all she would eat in a day. Dogs are often able to be put on a schedule, and some cats, but not the 3 girls that I have.

14+,
See above. Please note also that the cats have a hierarchy which they adhere to, and they respect a certain eating order. Putting them all in a kennel at the same time with food would be asking for trouble. Again, see above.

Kristen,
I PM'd you and thank you for the reply.

Love4,
I don't think the use of a training collar to teach an animal where NOT to go is inhumane. The outdoor "invisible" fences are in use all over North America and no Humane Society will ever tell you that you're being inhumane unless you set the boundary so small that the animal you're trying to contain has no way to escape the correction. I have thought long and hard about this, and there are no other options for Taz. It's either try the indoor fence, or keep him confined to the basement (where we don't go except to do laundry). Which is more inhumane??

Thank you for all your responses, however, there has to be someone out there who has used an indoor or outdoor fence and is willing to post (or PM) their opinion on them. THOSE are the responses I'm looking for, not an argument on whether or not I should use it on my cat.

Melissa

dogmelissa
March 31st, 2008, 09:17 PM
clm,
I worked for 3 years at the local Humane Society. I've seen scared cats. I'm not trying to scare the life out of my cat, simply teach him to stay away from food that doesn't belong to him.

Love4,
An indoor fence is not a shock collar. It delivers an electric "shock" when (and only when) the animal is too close to the barrier. It is not a random shock and will not hurt him (if properly adjusted). Taz has been with me since he was a kitten of 4 weeks old - and he has an automatic feeder. It is not him being locked up at feeding time that is the problem as he is the one breaking through the cat door to get to the other food.

sugarcat,
Thank you for your offer, but it is not the kind of food that he is eating. I have been around cats for a very long time and currently work for Pet Planet - all my cats eat a high quality food (Taz eats a holistic food due to crystals in his urine), and the one and only reason that Taz is not on the same food as the girls is because I've struggled to find a food that all 3 of the girls did well on (I've recently changed it again), and the only food that Taz is doing well on is the one he's on. I also feed Taz, one of the girls and my dog plain yogurt every night (the other girls don't want to have any). Also every saturday the dog & Taz get a cranberry tablet in their yogurt, which is keeping Taz's crystals under control. Please note that since he has been breaking into the girl's kennel in the last 2 weeks, he has already gained weight, and though I haven't weighed him, I'm guessing he's already back up to his heaviest-ever weight of 23 lbs, from his "normal" 17 lbs. This is a SIGNIFICANT gain and his health is in jeapordy with such a rapid weight gain.

badger,
My grazers will NOT adapt. I have tried to put them on a schedule and it just doesn't work. I had a cat lose almost a third of her body weight when I tried to feed her on a schedule; because she would only eat a few kibbles at "scheduled" time and that's all she would eat in a day. Dogs are often able to be put on a schedule, and some cats, but not the 3 girls that I have.

14+,
See above. Please note also that the cats have a hierarchy which they adhere to, and they respect a certain eating order. Putting them all in a kennel at the same time with food would be asking for trouble. Again, see above.

Kristen,
I PM'd you and thank you for the reply.

Love4,
I don't think the use of a training collar to teach an animal where NOT to go is inhumane. The outdoor "invisible" fences are in use all over North America and no Humane Society will ever tell you that you're being inhumane unless you set the boundary so small that the animal you're trying to contain has no way to escape the correction. I have thought long and hard about this, and there are no other options for Taz. It's either try the indoor fence, or keep him confined to the basement (where we don't go except to do laundry). Which is more inhumane??

Thank you for all your responses, however, there has to be someone out there who has used an indoor or outdoor fence and is willing to post (or PM) their opinion on them. THOSE are the responses I'm looking for, not an argument on whether or not I should use it on my cat.

Melissa

clm
March 31st, 2008, 09:25 PM
clm,
I worked for 3 years at the local Humane Society. I've seen scared cats. I'm not trying to scare the life out of my cat, simply teach him to stay away from food that doesn't belong to him.


Melissa

And what if your insistance on using this device does scare the life out of him?

You asked for opinions, like it or not you got them. :shrug:

A lot of people here think that these devices are inhumane and you seem to have already made your mind up to use one, so good luck with it.

Cindy

14+kitties
March 31st, 2008, 10:14 PM
Wow! Certainly not the response I, and I suspect others, expected. You asked for and I quote "Any help is appreciated, Melissa " . That is what we have tried to give you. I am really sorry our responses disappointed you. :shrug:

dogmelissa
April 1st, 2008, 01:33 AM
clm & 14+
I was hoping for opinions/thoughts on specific brands/levels of the indoor fence. Since none of the people who posted except for one had anything to say specifically about the fences other than "don't use them", yeah I'm disappointed.

As I've said before, I've tried other methods. I've gone above and beyond things that MANY vets and experts have suggested to me. I searched out, begged & pleaded and finally got an auto-feeder worth $700 in an attempt to keep Taz happy and healthy at the same time. I've spent over $300 and countless hours in setting up the kennel system I have now, that he has now figured out how to bypass. Do you think I sleep easily at night with the thought that I have to resort to something like this?? Of course not! Would I rather he just leave the food alone?? Of course I would, but that's obviously not happening. His health is at risk here and I don't think that a collar that delivers little more than a static shock- my husband looked at one today- is going to scare the life out of him, or cause him any severe grief. If it does, after a couple of days' use, then I can return it and try to think of other methods.

I don't suppose that I shouldn't need to mention that none of you live with this particular cat, and I am an expert when it comes to knowing what has been tried (with or without success), and what things (ie nothing) scare this cat. I have some doubts that he'll even notice the electricity at all, and trust me that thought is way more scary to me than the thought that he could be hurt by this device - because if this doesn't work, he may end up being euthanized.

We all know full well that there are lots of people on the internet who are asking questions about things that YOU may find offensive. And in real life if you overheard a conversation or saw an ad on a bulletin board for many many things, you'd simply roll your eyes and walk away. Yet for some reason, most people feel the need to express their negative opinions of people for the things they ask about, without having any knowledge of the situation or the person asking the question. I have encountered this on many many forums, and it is the reason I often leave. In this case, I have gotten desperate and was seeking advice about a SPECIFIC PRODUCT. I was not asking for opinions on whether or not I should use this product or how it will affect my particular situation. Yet those are the answers I have gotten.

Please, if you don't have anything constructive to add, like a brand review or suggested level of correction, don't post in this thread anymore.

Thank you,
Melissa

Disclaimer: I am not here looking for your approval, admiration or appreciation. I'm often considered abrasive, rude or inconsiderate. And I'm 100% ok with that. If you don't like me, feel free to ignore me. My life will go on.

growler~GateKeeper
April 1st, 2008, 02:44 AM
I just want to mention 2 things:

The electric perimeter fences for dogs for which this fence you are looking for is based on, still may not keep the cat from the food. Often times dogs that have these collars on will run through the "line" to the other side out of their yard despite the shock & then get shocked again going back in. So your cat might get 2 shocks not just one.

if this doesn't work, he may end up being euthanized.

What about rehoming him instead?

clm
April 1st, 2008, 06:48 AM
clm & 14+
- because if this doesn't work, he may end up being euthanized.

Disclaimer: I am not here looking for your approval, admiration or appreciation. I'm often considered abrasive, rude or inconsiderate. And I'm 100% ok with that. If you don't like me, feel free to ignore me. My life will go on.

Euthanizing an animal instead of trying to rehome him for something like not being able to keep him away from food is the type of thing that no animal lover would do IMO.
And don't worry, you'll never have my approval, admiration or appreciation after making that statement. :laughing:

Cindy

sugarcatmom
April 1st, 2008, 08:23 AM
sugarcat,
Thank you for your offer, but it is not the kind of food that he is eating. I have been around cats for a very long time and currently work for Pet Planet - all my cats eat a high quality food (Taz eats a holistic food due to crystals in his urine), and the one and only reason that Taz is not on the same food as the girls is because I've struggled to find a food that all 3 of the girls did well on (I've recently changed it again), and the only food that Taz is doing well on is the one he's on. I also feed Taz, one of the girls and my dog plain yogurt every night (the other girls don't want to have any). Also every saturday the dog & Taz get a cranberry tablet in their yogurt, which is keeping Taz's crystals under control. Please note that since he has been breaking into the girl's kennel in the last 2 weeks, he has already gained weight, and though I haven't weighed him, I'm guessing he's already back up to his heaviest-ever weight of 23 lbs, from his "normal" 17 lbs. This is a SIGNIFICANT gain and his health is in jeapordy with such a rapid weight gain.


Hi Melissa,

The reason I asked about the food was because pretty much without exception, ALL cats do best eating a meat-based, low carb WET food, and the fact that Taz has had crystals and tends to pack on the pounds makes that even more crucial. You might find this shocking since you work in a pet food store filled with big bags of kibble, but cats should not be eating any dry food, holistic or not. I could go on in great detail about the why's of it all, but instead I'll leave you with a couple of links to check out:

http://www.catinfo.org/
http://www.catnutrition.org/obesity.php
http://maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm

I urge you to find a quality canned food for all of your kitties. Wellness (which I know Pet Planet carries) is a good one.

sugarcatmom
April 1st, 2008, 08:27 AM
***********

dogmelissa
April 1st, 2008, 03:28 PM
Euthanizing an animal instead of trying to rehome him for something like not being able to keep him away from food is the type of thing that no animal lover would do IMO.
And don't worry, you'll never have my approval, admiration or appreciation after making that statement. :laughing:

Cindy

Cindy,

This is just ONE additional problem that Taz has. Re-homing him would be near impossible as few people will take on a cat that's not a kitten to start with, let alone one who has issues like Taz has. If I take him to the Humane Society, he will end up euthanized, and if that's going to happen, at least his last few minutes will be spent in my arms rather than in a cold room with a stranger.

This is not a decision I will come to easily, and the indoor fence is one further attempt to keep him in my home in relative happiness. It will be used to protect the kennel and only the kennel - he will continue to have free run of the rest of the house, and access to the yard. I'm sure he'd rather have access to 99% of the house than be dead, as would I.

And please don't flatter yourself that I even remotely care whether or not you think I'm a bad person or an animal lover. You don't know me or Taz or anything about my life so don't even begin to judge me.

Melissa

dogmelissa
April 1st, 2008, 03:33 PM
Hi Melissa,

The reason I asked about the food was because pretty much without exception, ALL cats do best eating a meat-based, low carb WET food, and the fact that Taz has had crystals and tends to pack on the pounds makes that even more crucial. You might find this shocking since you work in a pet food store filled with big bags of kibble, but cats should not be eating any dry food, holistic or not. I could go on in great detail about the why's of it all, but instead I'll leave you with a couple of links to check out:

http://www.catinfo.org/
http://www.catnutrition.org/obesity.php
http://maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm

I urge you to find a quality canned food for all of your kitties. Wellness (which I know Pet Planet carries) is a good one.

This is your personal opinion and not one that I share. Thank you for your information, but I have extensively researched the food that I feed to all my animals and have had much success with it. The reason that Taz packs on the weight (he is not a small cat at his normal weight, but his size is not obesity) is because he eats more food than he should. Before he "discovered" the kennel, his weight had not changed in almost 2 years.

Thank you for the information anyways,
Melissa

sugarcatmom
April 1st, 2008, 04:18 PM
This is your personal opinion and not one that I share.

Actually, it's not just my "personal opinion" but a fact based on science. I really hope you at least read the links I gave you so that even if you choose not to apply the info to your personal situation, you can at least be more informed for the customers of Pet Planet.

Thank you for the information anyways,
Melissa

I really hope you do find a solution to your problem. It just seems to me that it would be easier to work with your cat's diet than to go through the trouble of installing fancy devices to keep them separate.

phoozles
April 1st, 2008, 06:15 PM
I agree that it is easier to have scheduled feedings with wet, rather than dry food. I had a grazer too, but once I switched him to wet, and he figured out that after 5 minutes my other kitty would be gunning for his food, he learned to eat his food in one sitting (smallish portions, of course).

dogmelissa
April 2nd, 2008, 01:19 AM
Actually, it's not just my "personal opinion" but a fact based on science. I really hope you at least read the links I gave you so that even if you choose not to apply the info to your personal situation, you can at least be more informed for the customers of Pet Planet.

I really hope you do find a solution to your problem. It just seems to me that it would be easier to work with your cat's diet than to go through the trouble of installing fancy devices to keep them separate.

The main point of the articles you posted (which I did read) is that cats are obligate carnivores. As in, they need meat protein to survive. Again, this is a situation where you know nothing about me, what I know and what situation I'm in. I have a BSc in Zoology, worked at the Humane Society for 3 years, and drive all the way across town to take my pets to a vet who I met at the shelter. I have extensively researched the food that my animals eat, and I know that their needs are being met with their foods. The food that Taz eats contains minimum 32% protein and maximum 10% water, which means that on a "low protein, high water" batch, the minimum amount of protein is 35.6%. (The max would be 36.6%) Cats require a minimum of 32% protein in order to survive. Looks good there. The *type* of protein is also important, and I have Taz on a fish-based food as he has shown some sensitivity to red-meat based foods (though he was on a Venison food for awhile with fairly good results). The first 4 ingredients in his food are: Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon Meals, Ground Brown Rice, Chicken Meal. Yup, all animal based proteins and a good, highly digestible carbohydrate source.
Now, if I were to feed him the complimentary wet food that goes with this, I would be putting 40.9% protein into him. When he was (very briefly and after a proper transition) on Innova Evo, the cat food with *very* high protein levels (over 50% "as fed"), he developed very severe bloody diarrhea. Too much protein is NOT good for this cat, and realistically, the 4% difference in protein is not going to make a difference in his health (he is getting more than he needs as it is).
Plus I'm paying for 78% water. The canned food is not cheap, not easy to measure proper amounts, and much more difficult to store. Not to mention that there simply aren't any auto-feeders which are meant for canned food, can feed more than 2 meals a day, and are anywhere near Taz-proof. So then I'm back to a cat who wakes me up in the middle of the night begging for food, being stressed about when he's going to be fed, and requires a much more involved cat-sitter should I ever want to take a weekend away. As it is now, it's not pretty, but he can survive without his anti-anxiety pill, though I try to make arrangements for someone to come and give it to him. Trying to get someone to come 3-4 times a day (or more!) to give him food would be much more difficult to do.

Multiply that by 4 if I'm feeding the girls wet food (which wouldn't even go over, as one of my cats refuses to eat any kind of wet food and I've tried almost every brand I can buy locally). I love my pets, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my lifestyle, my sleep schedule & my hobbies to feed them a food that is marginally better at more than 6 times the price! I only wish I made enough money that cost wasn't a factor, but unfortunately it is.

I'll be honest with you all. I spent almost an hour today explaining my problem to someone in a position to simply sell me the most expensive product they had. Though I left with the Innotek indoor fence system, I also left with a new electromagnetic cat door, which has it's latch more in the centre of the door, a better latch to start with, and didn't seem vulnerable to Taz-attacks. The Innotek fence is designed for dogs, and frankly even seeing the collar scared the poo out of me. When we turned it on and I felt it, I was positive there was no way I was putting that on my cat, let alone any dog less than about 100 lbs and incredibly stubborn. I will take it back. We will try the new door, and if it doesn't work to keep him out, I will be ordering a PetSafe Indoor Fence with a collar designed specifically for cats. A recommendation to get the Invisible Fence brand (which is also by PetSafe) is not designed specifically for cats and also incredibly out of my price range ($474 for the collar that's not included with the $198 transmitter?!?!?!).
Going back to price, why would I spend a butt-load more money on food when a small, one-time expense of a new cat door will result in the same thing?

That's all I have to say today.
To those that actually helped me, thank you.
To those who felt the need to offer me their opinion that I am offering my pets the wrong food, thank you anyways.

I will repost in a few days with the results of the new pet door, for those who are interested.

Melissa

sugarcatmom
April 2nd, 2008, 07:59 AM
Plus I'm paying for 78% water.

It's this statement here that tells me you don't really know as much about feline nutrition as you think you do. But whatever, I tried. Good luck with your new indoor fence thingy.