Approximately 25 per cent of owners saw improvements in their cat’s health and behaviour after installing a contained outdoor area.
Researchers Dr Luciana Santos de Assis and Professor Daniel Mills of the University of Lincoln, found that time spent outside in a controlled outdoor space such as an enclosure, cat fence, or catio, had a significantly positive effect on both cat and owner well-being.
Owners reported improvements in their cat’s health and behaviour including reduced anxiety, increased active relaxed behaviour, reduced spoiling in home, and fewer episodes of unexplained irritability.
While benefits to owners included reduced concern over leaving their cats outside without the fear of them escaping or another cat entering the garden.
Allowing cats to free-roam, without the use of an enclosure, leaves the cat to increased exposure to threats to their welfare including infectious disease, fighting, theft, and the risk of road traffic incidents.
While keeping cats exclusively indoors can cause frustration and unwanted behavioural challenges leading to stress and compromised health, especially in multi-cat homes.
Over 400 cat owners took part in the UK study, which is the first to examine how physical containment systems effects cat welfare, with results suggesting that a controlled outdoor environment can provide a practical solution for many of the issues surrounding cats being allowed out.