Good News: Electronic Containment Systems Deemed Safe for Our Feline Friends
A new study revealed that the use of electronic containment systems to prevent our feline friends from venturing are safe for cats and does not result in long-term wellbeing problems.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, showed no evidence of long-term welfare problems in cats living with invisible or virtual fences that deliver a static pulse, discouraging the animals from crossing certain perimeters.
"Electronic training of animals can be controversial and we know that it can lead to poor welfare when used without a good understanding of pet wellbeing and training," said Dr. Jonathan Cooper, Principal Lecturer in the University of Lincoln's School of Life Sciences and co-author of the study, in a press release. "However this new study suggests that with invisible electronic fences, at least, cats can be effectively contained without compromising their quality of life."
For the study, the researchers analyzed two groups of cats volunteered by their owners. The first group had experienced electronic containment system for a year while the second group was allowed to roam outside of their home for at least an hour.
Using different behavioral tests to assess the moods and anxiety of cats in both groups, the researchers found that the cats that are restricted using electronic boundary systems appeared more confident when it comes to new experiences, compared to the cats that are allowed to freely roam in the neighborhood.
With their findings, the researchers noted that it is safe to use electronic containment systems to restrict cats from wandering too far. Such systems could also help prevent cats from dying or being injured in the roads.
However, researchers also recommend against caging your cats inside your home and not letting them roam once in a while. Cats that are housed solely indoors are most likely to develop a range of health problems, including obesity, Feline Urologic Disorder and dental disease.
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