These enclosures also assist in separating individuals during the process of gradual introduction of newcomers. Enclosed pets are less inclined to contract fleas and ticks. Some responsible cat owners construct these fortress havens to prevent their pets from invading and annoying nearby residents.
The cats can observe the wildlife without killing them. Some of the designs are not only spacious but have so many features that pets never seem to develop claustrophobic behaviour patterns such as pacing. There is scientific evidence that indoor cats, on average, live five times longer than their outdoor counterparts.
These outdoor habitats and the access tunnels allow and stimulate exercise by the willingness to explore, which helps reduce obesity. Cats are stimulated by observing movement outdoors. They may even simulate predatory stalking behaviour. They need not have to catch and kill the bird or lizard because most of the thrill is the former activities.
Cats have become perfect city pets because they cope very well being indoors their entire lives. One cannot confine any cat which has spent time outdoors and enjoyed free-rein. To restrict such an animal will cause excessive vocalisation, urinating and defaecating indoors, displaced aggression and even destructiveness such as scratching of curtains and furniture.
Many entrepreneurs involved in architectural design see this concept as a modern pet movement which emphasises the principle that people should not have to sacrifice taste, comfort, suburb or corporate rules to live with pets. Many pet owners in South Africa find complexes, townhouses, apartments and cluster complexes pet-unfriendly. The accessories which may be purchased or custom-designed are limitless.
The materials may be made from powder-coated galvanised steel for the effects of salt air at the coast or humid areas. Composite recycled plastic material is good as flooring because it is comfortable, relatively warm, easy to clean, durable and does not get damaged if scratched by pets’ nails.
The same design principle for small dog breeds is to keep them safe from predators in areas adjacent to game reserves where raptors, pythons, caracal etc. may wish to prey on an unwary pet. A Miniature Dachshund playing on the lawn can be easily swooped up as prey by a Martial or Crowned Eagle. It helps restrict small dogs from being attacked by large dogs, where the former are usually the instigators.
Over 50% of small dogs prefer the indoors during the day. The “doggy digs” are sturdy, escape-proof and built with non-toxic material. The enclosure can be custom-designed to suit the individual dog’s needs. A circular tunnel track can keep the dog on the move for lengthy periods and avoid weight gain.
In situations where pack integration is necessary and small dogs are intended to co-habit with medium and large dogs, these digs for dogs can provide sufficient visual appreciation of each other with the benefit of physical separation and safety to avoid serious injury.
Some cat owners who have had serious problems with inter-feline aggression particularly intruding cats fighting with resident pets have enjoyed the relief by placing a reasonably sized bird aviary adjacent to their bedroom and constructed a secure access from the bedroom window into this facility.
These catios, cat dens, pet havens, doggy digs or whatever name people derive for the vast variety of innovative pet habitats, is a sensible and necessary consideration when developers construct novel modern dwellings for humans and their families. They can be constructed within the home, attached or an access tunnel to a reasonably distant area. One just has to use one’s creativity and imagination and a whole enterprise can emerge.
Keeping pets fenced in has been so successful overseas that it has become an enormous and popular industry. Also, good fences make good neighbours!