While cats make wonderful pets, if neighbouring cats are using your garden as a litter tray this can be both unpleasant and even dangerous. People troubled by cats in their gardens often seek effective ways to keep them out. In this post we look at whether anti cat spikes are legal and effective.
The Danger of Cat Poo
Research has shown that as many as 350,000 Britons each year are being infected with a pet-borne parasite linked with schizophrenia and increased suicide risk. Toxoplasma, which can cause serious illness and has been linked with schizophrenia and other psychotic disturbances, can be spread by cats.
Toxoplasma gondii is a microscopic parasite that forms cysts in the human brain and other vital organs of the body. Tests on British blood donors revealed how infections come either through direct contact with cats or from eating contaminated meat or vegetables. People can become infected from eating raw vegetables that have not been washed enough to rid them of any toxoplasma eggs picked up from the soil.
It should be noted that around 80 per cent of infected people show no obvious symptoms of toxoplasma and remain unaware they are carrying the parasite. But estimates suggest that up to 70,000 people a year in the UK develop some kind of symptoms. Most of the new toxoplasma infections each year in the UK are likely to be caused by contaminated food.
Experts have warned that much of the lamb sold in the UK is likely to be contaminated with toxoplasma cysts in the muscle tissue, which should never be consumed rare. Medical professionals have warned that eating any rare or undercooked meat is not safe.
Its long been known that some cats carry the parasite and shed the embryonic form, called oocysts, in their poo. Once infected, cats excrete the oocysts for around 8 days and they can remain viable for over a year under certain conditions.
Since many gardeners grow a variety of vegetables, including those used in salads, there is risk that cat poo can potentially contaminate these foods.
Are Anti-Cat Spikes Legal
People troubled by cats in their gardens often look for effective ways to keep them out. Anti cat spikes is just one of a number of deterrents commonly used.
Anti cat spikes are entirely legal as long as they comply with specific restrictions. We have previously covered the subject of anti-climb spikes and the law () . Anti-cat spikes can be installed as long as the height boundary height restrictions are complied with. This means they shouldn’t be installed below a height of 2 metres.
Another important legal requirement when using any form of anti climb device is to prominently display appropriate warning signs. And anti-cat spikes should never be installed with the intent to cause injury to animals.
How Anti-Cat Spikes Work
Anti-cat spikes, such as our Prikla spikes, are blunt, plastic spikes specifically designed to cause discomfort if animals attempt to walk on them. They are carefully designed not to cause injury and the individual spikes are too close together for cats paws to get between them.
While cats are extremely skilled in negotiating challenging barriers they will not jump onto something that will hurt them, so they will avoid fence tops and walls where these spikes are installed. This is why its important to carefully plan the installation to target the areas favoured by invading cats and not to leave spaces they can exploit.
While it may be tempting to install DIY anti cat spikes made from glass, nails or carpet grippers these all have the potential to cause harm which can result in prosecution.
Are Anti-Cat Spikes Effective
Cats are creatures of habit so if your garden has become an habitual litter tray for neighbouring cats breaking this habit can be challenging. Anti-cat spikes have been reported to be highly effective, especially when used as part of a wider cat deterrent and repellent strategy.
Talk to Your Neighbours
Before installing any form of anti climb protection on shared boundaries between neighbouring properties you should always have a chat with the neighbours. Explaining concerns about cats using a garden as a litter tray may encourage neighbours to consider other anti-climb precautions such as planting shrubs along the boundary that can’t be easily overcome by their cats.