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Will (plastic / Vinyl) Fencing Keep Semi-ferals In The Yard?

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by sevenwonders, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. sevenwonders

    sevenwonders Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Feb 8, 2012
    North Carolina
    Hi Folks!
    Been a looooong time since I've posted... Really long story.

    Hope everyone and their Kitties are doing well!

    Anyway, we are considering moving, but within a couple of miles away. I know that some Kitties have a tendency to try to return "home." It would permanently scar me if one of my babies got hit by a vehicle, or killed by a coyote or fox on their way "home."

    So, I'm wondering if a 6 (8?) foot plastic or vinyl fence would keep them in the new yard? Obviously, I would have to have it installed "inside out" so that the horizontal supports are on the outside.

    I know that dogs can usually dig under a fence... Do Kitties do the same?

    Would I still need to put 4 (6) inch PVC on top of the fence to prevent them from getting a grip?

    I might start another thread about this, but does anyone have experience with the angled mesh fence topper things that are supposed to keep critters (and Kitties) from going in & out?

    Any experiences or advice will be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks, Dave
     

  2. margd

    margd Chula and Paul's roommate Veteran

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    Feb 24, 2015
    Maryland USA
    :welcomeback2:

    Speaking only from second-hand experience, I hate to tell you but a six foot fence will definitely not be high enough and that's probably true of an eight foot fence as well. Hopefully, someone who has actually built an effective enclosure will chime in but from what I've read, you almost certainly will need to put something at the top to prevent them from going over. Even those angled mesh toppers you mention aren't fool-proof, depending on the kitties.

    I'm going to put a call out to one of our members who has, for the most part, successfully kept her kitties from roaming. I think her enclosure uses those angled fence tops so she may be able to give you some tips.

    In the meantime, you may want to let your former neighbors know about the situation and ask them to call you if they see one of your cats back in his or her old territory.
     

  3. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Actually, a six foot fence will do the job if and only if you top it with a 45 degree in-ward facing overhang about 18" in width, make sure that they can't clamber over where the fence meets a wall, and that there are no trees they can climb and jump from.
     

  4. kittychick

    kittychick TCS Member Super Cat

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    Ohio
    I too can only speak second hand - - but it doesn't seem as though 6 (or even 8) foot vinyl will keep them in - at least not 100%. From personal experience - I can say that our neighbors who live behind us put up a vinyl fence (like I think you're talking about) - think it's 8 foot - to replace the 6 foot wooden slatted ones that several of us have. Our TNR guys obviously can scale the wooden ones with no problem -- but I've noticed they don't even try to go up the vinyl one. BUT the big "however" (isn't there always one?) is that they also work with the TNR bunch in our neighborhood and didn't want to stop them from being able to move around - so they left a gap at one end of the fence between ours and theirs. So not sure if the fence actually deters them - or if they're just very aware that if they go 4 feet over they can go around it. :) Smart little buggers :)

    I do know the inward angled cat-specific fence toppers work very well.

    Let us know what you do - and interested to hear how it works!
     
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  5. SheriB

    SheriB FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    Western US
    I wonder if you could maybe keep them in a smaller enclosure until they know that your new place is home. I built an enclosure out of a shade structure, wrapping it with fencing from the big box home improvement store. I topped it with deer proof netting from Amazon. It is pretty secure, nobody has escaped, and the coyotes and other predators here have not broken in. Maybe you could do something temporary like that for a few weeks until your guys make the adjustment.
     
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  6. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Mount Fuji, Japan
    I think it really depends on what the fence is made of. Can you post a picture of the material you are planning to use? If it's something the cats can climb it makes no difference how high the fence is. You will need an overhang to prevent them getting out. Even then it's not 100% cat proof. Here are some pictures of our fence.

    This was the first attempt. The plastic stops them climbing the trees, but the overhang wasn't wide enough to keep them in.

    Catfence7.jpg
    We extended the overhang with more netting and gardening poles, but one of the cats had realised he could get out and just kept on trying until he got over.
    NewHouse30.jpg

    We've been here for three years, so there is no danger of them trying to get back to their old territory anymore. Most of the time he just climbs on top of the fence and sits there glaring at me. I think he's just trying to prove his point.

    Button36.jpg

    Yes, cats will attempt to dig under. You need to have the bottom of the fence either pegged down or sunk into the ground.

    Keeping the cats crated for the first month usually helps them to accept their new home. Is there any way you could do that? Do you have a shed or garage you could use?
     
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  7. SheriB

    SheriB FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    @Norachan that last picture cracks me up! What a look!
     
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  8. sevenwonders

    sevenwonders Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Feb 8, 2012
    North Carolina
    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    I know that they can easily climb a wood fence of any height, which is why I am considering 8' vinyl, with the horizontal supports on the outside.

    The material is like a thick, smooth, hard plastic. String trimmers don't damage it so I'm thinking that they won't be able to dig their claws into it. With the horizontal supports on the outside, there will be nothing for them to grab, unless they can jump 8' into the air. (Some tall, lean kitties might be capable of that I fear.)

    I'm thinking that I might have to do an angled topper, like some have mentioned. I read on the web that some people used (4 or 6 inch) round PVC pipe, cut a groove out lengthwise, and placed it on the top of the fence, again with the goal of not giving the Kitties something to grab at the top of the fence. I'm not entirely convinced that this would work for all Kitties... Some can be quite determined!

    The only good thing about doing the fence is that I also have a small Plant Nursery, so I want to have a fence anyway, and I can deduct the cost as a business expense.

    I currently have 8 outside Kitties. They really are "semi-feral" by now, and I can pet all of them, and even hold a few... Would their relative tameness make them less likely to try to go back "home"?

    There are a few relationships that are too edgy for me to put them together into too small of an area. I'm too soft to keep them crated that long.

    I like the garage or shed idea, but aside from building a narrow slot through which I can give them food & water, I don't know how I could keep them from escaping (if I had to open a door.) Also, where would they go to the bathroom? I guess I could buy a metal dog cage and attach it to the shed, so they could go out to pee.

    Now that I have explained the vinyl fence better, please let me know what you think. I'm dreading the expense of this, but I would go crazy every time I couldn't see one of them.

    Thanks again!
    Dave
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018

  9. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Havelock, North Carolina
    Sounds like that would work, but you do still want that overhang, and it should be something that they will actually easily see, looming over their furry, escape-focused little cat brains. If I didn't say it before, thanks for caring about these little forgotten ones!
     

  10. sevenwonders

    sevenwonders Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Feb 8, 2012
    North Carolina
    Thanks for your reply!
    If I need the overhang even on an 8' Vinyl fence, maybe I should save a few thousand dollars and just go with wood?
     

  11. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Mount Fuji, Japan
    I think that the cats are going to attempt to climb the fence anyway. If a wood fence with an overhang is going to save you a lot of money then go with that. Putting sheets of vinyl at the top of the fence, like in this video, might work too.



    If you decide to do the shed thing for the first month you can set it up with litter boxes and water bowls and maybe crate some of the "fighters" that don't get along with the other cats.

    Have the shed inside the enclosure with the fence ready built anyway, just in case one of them sneaks out. When I moved my feral cats they spent the first week hiding under the tent I made for them from the chairs and sofa throws of our last house. If they're in a strange environment their instinct is to hunker down and stay put, so keeping them in a shed would actually be quite comfortable for them.
     
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  12. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    SheriB and Mamanyt1953 purraised this.

  13. sevenwonders

    sevenwonders Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    411
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    Feb 8, 2012
    North Carolina
    Thanks again everyone!
    Lots of good ideas here!

    Wife has had the flu (despite having had the shot) for 3+ weeks, Grandmother (105 years old) had to go to the hospital... She's hanging in there.

    Anyway, been really busy here lately, but I wanted you all to know that I appreciate your thoughts and ideas!

    Be back soon... For the past week, we've had one of our girls vomiting every morning around 4am... Perfectly fine otherwise.
    Always something! :dunno:
     
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