Cats are of course inquisitive creatures, which have a poor concept of boundaries! Cats are well known for roaming fairly widely and going where they choose to go, and it can be difficult to teach a cat that some places are out of bounds, even in some cases going as far as inviting themselves into other people’s homes!
If you have a catflap installed or some other means of allowing you cat to come and go from the house freely, there is always the possibility that other cats will use this entrance as a way to come into your home, should they be so inclined. This can of course cause problems with your resident cat or cats, which may lead to fighting or serving to make your cat feel uncomfortable within their own home.
If you find yourself the host to an unwelcome feline visitor that is bothering your cat, read on for our suggestions of some methods of tackling the issue.
Cats will often enter the home of another cat out of sheer curiosity, and may make one visit and then never return. However, if your home proves pleasing to the invading cat and your own cat does not chase them off, the chances are that they may well become regular callers!
One of the most common reasons for cats entering strange homes and making repeat return visits is food; if your cat has food left down for them at all times, this can provide an undeniable appeal for other cats! Even well fed cats with good homes will rarely pass up the chance to sample someone else’s dinner, so keeping your cat’s food bowls in an area of the house far from the catflap is a good idea. Ensure that the food bowls are never in sight of the catflap, or any other means of entry such as an open window.
Cats are also exponentially more likely to try to gain access to the home of another cat if both they and your own cat are not neutered; to fight, in the case of tom cats, and to do what comes naturally in the case of a tom cat and an un-neutered female cat. Having your own cats spayed and neutered can help to remove this desire and go some way to removing one of the appeals of entering your home!
There are a range of options available to the cat owner for physically keeping other cats out of the home. Your choice of catflap is one of the most obvious methods, and if you find that a strange cat regularly visits at around the same time each day, simply installing a locking catflap and locking it during that time can discourage roaming cats from trying again in the future. Don’t forget to ensure that your own cat can get in or out if they need to though, which may require monitoring the catflap while it is locked.
There are also a range of high-tech “smart” catflaps that can control access to the home, allowing your own cat in and out while keeping out intruders. Catflaps that run on a battery and read a small “key” attached to your cat’s collar is one way to go about this, but this is not without its challenges too. The batteries can run down, leaving your cat out in the cold, and of course, your cat may lose their collar and be unable to operate the catflap until you notice this.
Microchip catflaps are another option, and while these are very effective, they can prove pricey to buy. Microchip catflaps can be programmed with the microchip number of your own cat or cats, and only open when they read a recognised microchip number. These catflaps run on mains power, and also have a battery back up in case of power cuts.
Any method of using a catflap to restrict access for one cat while allowing another to come and go, however, is not without its potential loopholes! If your own cat activates a smart catflap and causes it to unlock, an invading cat may simply be able to follow your own cat in while the catflap has been activated if they are close enough to it! Also, even if your cat is not using the catflap or attempting to activate it, if they are in close enough proximity to it, they may trigger the unlock mechanism and allow another cat sitting in wait to come in.
While nothing is without its potential problems, generally, cat owners with a secure catflap report less incidences of feline intruders than those with free-access catflaps.
Also, remember that during the summer when the weather is hot, open windows can provide an easy method of access for roaming cats. Fitting mesh across open windows can help to deter this, and will also go some way towards keeping out flies and bugs!