How Do I Stop My Cat From Jumping Over the Fence?

How Do I Stop My Cat From Jumping Over the Fence?

Preventing your cat from jumping over your garden fence can be an extremely frustrating problem, and it is one that I have the first-hand experience of. If you are anything like me, you want your cat to have the freedom to explore your garden, but you are also concerned about its safety. Perhaps your next door neighbour has a dog that you would rather your cat kept away from, or maybe your cat has even been damaging your neighbour’s plants.

How Do I Stop My Cat From Jumping Over the Fence? Your best option is to make some simple modifications to the fence:

  • Make the fence higher

  • Install a cat-proof fence

  • Attach roller bars

  • Build a dedicated cat run

  • Instal motion-sensor repellents

  • Instal anti-cat spikes

It is also important that you take additional steps to cat-proof your garden, not only for the benefit of your garden but also for the safety of your cat, as I will explain a bit later on.

Preventing Cats From Jumping Over Fences

For many owners, the freedom for their cat to go outside – at least into the garden – is essential. However, the problem with this is preventing unwanted behaviours and one of the most common is jumping over the garden fence. This can be problematic for many reasons, ranging from putting the cat in danger if neighbours have dogs or other pets, through to making your cat a nuisance for neighbours due to damage caused to their gardens.

Assuming you do not want to restrict your cat to simply staying in the house at all times, the solution to this is likely going to have to involve modifying your garden in some way. Fortunately, there are a number of options available, and most of these will not require you to break the bank either.

Higher Fence

The first thing to consider is the height of your current fence. If your fence is currently very short, it may be worth investing in a higher fence. With that being said, this is by no means a guarantee that your cat will not be able to jump the new fence, either now, or in the future, so you should consider this carefully.

Cat-Proof Fence

Installing a cat-proof fence may be a more effective method, because it can work on almost any fence, and will contend with the challenges of cats being able to jump higher in future. Cat-proof fencing tends to consist of either netting or a fence extension, which leans inwards at an angle of around 45 degrees. This will then prevent the cat from being able to jump onto or over the fence, and it is usually an extremely affordable solution too.

Roller Bars

Roller bars are another similar solution. When placed on the top of a fence, they can prevent cats from climbing on to the top of the fence, because they move as your cat’s paws come in contact with them. There are some potential downsides to this solution, however, as they will not prevent instances where a cat is able to jump over the fence without first balancing on the top of it. There is also a minor risk of injury to the cat.

Anti-Cat Spikes

Otherwise, you might opt to add anti-cat spikes on your fence. This sounds a lot worse than it actually is, as there are spikes specifically designed to deter cats, and these are blunted, in order to ensure your cat cannot actually be hurt. Instead, cats stay away from them, because they do not like the sensation under their paws. Again though, the limitation of this is that it may not be useful on lower fences, which cats can easily jump over.

Other Possible Solutions to the Problem

While making adjustments to your garden fence is likely to be the easiest and most cost-effective solution, this is not always possible, for a whole variety of reasons. For instance, some renters are prohibited from making major changes to the garden, while some homeowners have boundary issues or disputes with neighbours. Fortunately, there are a number of other solutions, which can prevent your cat from jumping the fence in its current state.

An Outdoor Cat Run

If you have the right budget to work with, one of the best solutions can be to build an outdoor cat run, or cat enclosure. The purpose of this is to confine your cat to specific parts of the garden, while preventing it from reaching others. Not only can this help to solve the problem of your cat jumping over the garden fence, it can also help to keep your cat away from any plants, flowers, trees, or water features in the garden as well.

Nevertheless, building your own cat run or enclosure can be expensive. It may also require similar permissions to modifying your fence, especially if the enclosure is a permanent structure, rather than a portable one. For this reason, you may instead be seeking a slightly more simple answer to the problem.

Cat Repellent

One option here is to buy a cat repellent and place it near the fence in question, to stop the cat from going near it. There are a variety of products that do this, ranging from ultrasonic deterrents, through to motion-sensor repellents. The former will give off an annoying sound, in a frequency that cats can hear, but humans cannot. The latter, on the other hand, detects motion near it and makes use of a spray that serves to scare cats away.

Why Do Cats Jump Over Garden Fences?

At this stage, you may also be wondering why your cat constantly wants to jump over your garden fence anyway. Indeed, this behaviour can even make some owners worry that their cat does not enjoy their company and wants to spend more time away from them. However, you need to understand that most cats possess a natural curiosity and it is often in their instincts to roam and explore, rather than stay in the same place for long periods.

One of the reasons why cats tend to jump over garden fences and explore the outside world is linked to their historic need to hunt. Despite the fact that modern domestic cats are well-fed within the home, and no longer have the need to source food for themselves, they seem to retain a natural hunting instinct and they seem to enjoy the process involved. This is why your cat may occasionally bring back dead animals as gifts.

Another influence on this behaviour, especially with regards to male cats, is the mating instinct. Indeed, unfixed male cats roam with the express intention of finding a female cat to mate with, and research shows that this instinct causes them to roam further too. Cats that have been neutered often stay much closer to the home. Therefore, you may notice your cat is slightly less likely to jump over your fence if it has been neutered.

Regardless, cats are likely to want to explore, even when it is not motivated by either hunting or mating instincts. It is simply in their nature and you should not see it as a reflection on how they feel about you. Similarly, while you may need to deter it, you should not view it as ‘bad’ behaviour that needs to be overtly punished.

Additional Ways to Make Your Garden Cat-Proof

Aside from preventing your cat from jumping over your garden fence, there are also other steps that I would advise you to take, in order to ensure your garden is ‘cat-proof’ and a safe place for your pet to be more general.

One of the major concerns many cat owners have is protecting the plants and flowers in their garden. While it may be possible to do this through careful placement of nets, meshing or other obstacles, one of the best options is actually to spray the plants regularly with a repellent substance. There are commercial products available, although diluted lemon juice will do the same job. Remember to re-apply the repellent regularly, especially after rainfall.

With regards to plants, an issue that is sometimes overlooked is the fact that certain plants can be extremely dangerous to cats. Although cats are carnivores and require meat to survive, this does not always prevent them from chewing on plants. Yet, a number of popular plants and flowers are toxic to cats, with examples including mistletoe, azalea and foxglove. Therefore, you should avoid these plants, or ensure they cannot be accessed.

Finally, trees can also pose a number of problems. Cats can be tempted to climb trees, resulting in them getting stuck, while trees may also offer them a way to escape over your garden fence, even if you have taken the precautions I mentioned earlier, such as the use of inward-leaning fencing, or roller bars. As a result, you may need to carefully manage your trees, removing low branches to prevent climbing, or fencing them off with wire mesh.

Barbara Read

Barbara Read - Cat owner, researcher and behavioural expert. Cats are not only fantastic pets but also wonderful and complex animals with great personalities. It takes time and effort to learn their behaviour but its completely worth it.

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