Electrical Wiring in the Home/Electric fence on deck

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QUESTION: I will start out by saying I don't know if I am at the right place for my question.

I have a second floor deck approximately 16' long 26' wide that I let my indoor cats go out and lay.  What I am wanting is to put a small electrical wire around the top of the railing so my cats will not jump up on it.  I have looked at electric fences but the shortest one is for 2 miles.  I just want to give my cats a little sting to stay off I don't want to electrocute them.

Any suggestions?

ANSWER: It's probably not the right place, but I also know a lot about cats, so I can answer your question.  I also happen to be a rep that represents the company that makes pet fences.

There is a big difference between a pet fence that gives a static shock from their collar and an electric fence that keeps cattle and other large animals in.  While an electric fence may be OK for large animals, it would be inhumane for cats.

They make a pet fence for cats, but it did not really take off all that well.  The problem is that any pet fence requires training, and cats do not train easily. I would think that another problem would be that cats could easily jump over the fence.  The collar works only near the wire, so once they get past that, then they are no longer being corrected.  (For dogs, a wireless fence keeps correcting once the dog is outside the area.)

So, you may either want to put a tie out for the cat (which I do), but can get easily tangled, and you have to constantly watch them. Or you can put some thin plastic netting over the top of the railing.  You don't want to secure it very well, because if it is sturdy, the cats could climb on it.  They also make small tents for animals which zip up.

You may want to check the following web sites for ideas: Petsafe.net, Petco.com and Petsmart.com.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: You confirmed what I thought.  Would you explain the thin plastic netting that would go over the top of the rail?  What type of netting are you thinking about and how would that keep the cat from getting on the railing?

I really got lucky asking you about my cats and I appreciate you making the time to help me.

Answer
You can use a lightweight plastic netting.  It is used for keeping animals out of fish ponds, and off of garden plants.

Depending how important it is to not have the cats go off of the balcony (if they might get hurt jumping off, or a lot of traffic), you will need to keep your eye on them for a long time.  Cats tend to be very curious and may find a way around it. Rather than putting a frame around it, that they can jump on, it might be best just to put a few poles to hold it, so that the top would be too unstable for a cat to climb on. You'll probably find the product outside under the canopy at Lowe's or Home Depot.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Bob Sponaugle

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Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

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