Confining Cats in Comfort

Cagey Cats

Is your cat being belted up by the local moggie – the gnashing neighbourhood nasty?

Or are you concerned because you live near a main road and your cat likes playing ‘chicken’ with the local hotrod? Perhaps your cat is attacking the local wildlife and you are having trouble stopping it from doing so. Well, the solution to all the above could be to confine your cat to your house or yard. While that’s easy to do with dogs, achieving the same with cats is not so easy. To confine your cat, the approach I advise is the creation of a Fantastic Feline Fun Park!

Where can I confine my cat?

It can be difficult, although not impossible to consider enclosing your whole yard. However, some cat owners are successful in confining their cats to a room or two inside the house while others choose to allow their cats to roam the whole house but do not allow them outside. However, most cats will be happier if their housing includes a ‘Fantastic Feline Fun Park’ on a balcony or veranda, or in a purpose built ‘Fun Park’ in the back yard. What your cat really wants is a semi-outside area where, via a cat door, it can have access to you and an outside environment, without becoming totally free. This is the theme of a Fantastic Feline Fun Park. New products on the market make the construction of an enclosure even easier. The Cat Nip system is constructed of modular cages and the Cat Max system is built from soft, but strong, nylon netting that is flexible enough to enclose anything from verandas to whole garden areas, including trees!

Cats don’t need aerobic exercise to the same extent as dogs. In fact, unlike dogs, cats mostly exercise isometrically rather than aerobically – that is, by stretching, jumping and climbing rather than running long distances. Most cat owners will vouch for the cat that cats are down right lazy and will sleep 90 percent of the time. When they are active, they are often intensely so, but for only a short period. By being wise and cunning, you will easily cater for this ‘wind in the tail’ time, while still keeping your cat in its Fun Park.

How do I ensure me cat is happy in its Fantastic Fun Feline Park?

Once you have given your cat areas for feeding, resting, toileting and exploration and have added regular stimulation, change and challenge you have given all that’s needed to make your cat happy. Cats need elevation rather than length. They are superior creatures and enjoy looking down on their world from loft heights. A fun park should therefore be at least 2 meters high and have a minimum floor area of 2.5 square meters. Resting areas are important and you should provide several at different levels. These can be hammock beds attached to walls of the Fun Park, perhaps made from shade cloth, or can be wooden shelves covered with pieces of carpet. If you can spare it, cats love wool to sleep on and adore sheepskin. They will particulary like to sleep on your woolen dinner suit or evening gown, but this might be going a bit far. You will find carpeted, climbing, sleeping, scratching and resting units in most pet shops. A pigeonhole-style shelf unit is an ideal sleeping and exploration area for cats. You should cut holes in the partitions between each pigeonhole so that Puss can explore from one to the other. Cover some pigeonholes but provide ‘peep’ holes in them, and leave some open. You can further satisfy your cat’s need for exploration by making an ‘arboreal aerobic area’. Do this by placing a thick, branched tree trunk against one corner of the Fun Park. Choose one with vertically striated bark to stimulate claw sharpening. Strategically placed branches will help your cat use the tree as a climbing frame. Arrange it so that it spans across to learn that the trunk is a scratching post (some cats prefer using carpet to bark).

If you want your cat to like being in its Fun Park, there is no better way than to feed it there. Still, you can do more then just throwing it a bowl of food. As well as its normal diet, hide tidbits of food in the various levels of the Fun Park. Hidden food treats such as dry cat biscuits or freeze-dried fish, quartered tasty vitamin tablets or pieces of kabana in limited quantities stimulate the need to hunt. Raw chicken wings or chicken necks are wonderful for cat’s caloric intake. For another idea, cut the end off a 2 litre plastic millk bottle, throw away the base and keep the end with the cap. Smear vegemite, anchovette fish paste or liverwurst in the cap and screw the cap back in place. Puss will have fun sticking its head inside the bottle trying to lick the smeared treats.

Giving your cat two litter trays will cater for its toileting needs. I prefer to place small amounts of litter in two seperate trays rather that a large amount in just one tray. Using this method, the cat has another tray to use in case the first is dirty. Some cats will soil outside the tray when it is dirty and provision of two often solves this problem. Having two trays also allows you to experiment with two types of litter to find out which your cat prefers. You can also purchase litter tray ‘hutches’ if you prefer not to have the litter visible, or if you wish to control any odour that the trays may produce.

For some added excitement and change, consider placing a small pond in the Fun Park with a fountain in it. Cats will often find this fascinating and will play with the splashing water. Adding fish is not advisable, as they will usually not last long. Speaking of fish, an aquarium with a secure lid id often a very useful addition. Cats will watch the fish for hours just like kids watching television but the lid will keep the fish safe. Confined cats are the way of the future. Consider your options now and keep you puss safe, happy and content.

Dr Sarah McCabe - BVSc

Veterinarian

Sarah graduated from James Cook University in 2023. Sarah’s enthusiasm for animals knows no bounds, extending from small domestic to large farming animals to the intriguing world of exotics.

This diverse interest certainly keeps things lively and engaging. Outside of her veterinary duties, Sarah shares her home with two beloved cats, Cricket and Remmy, and a golden retriever named Chester.

Ashleigh Hendersen

Ashleigh Hendersen

Veterinary Nurse

Ash is one of our multi-skilled nurses, with a love for anything from horses to small animals. She enjoys the amazing variety of patients in our mixed practice clinics, and goes from anaesthetising a cat for surgery to wrangling a lame goat without skipping a beat.

She joined us in 2017 with a wealth of knowledge, having worked for Veterinary Specialist Services as an oncology nurse. Her dogs (Reeva and Ralph) and horses (Holly and Dolly) keep her busy outside of work.

Andrew Marland

Dr Andrew Marland     BVSc (hons)

Practice Principal

Growing up on a local cattle property Andrew developed a love of animals and desire to become a veterinarian at an early age. After graduating in 2000 he entered mixed animal practice in western Queensland before working in the United Kingdom for 2 years.

Andrew is an Australian Cattle Vets accredited Bull tester and National Pregnancy Testing accredited examiner. Although spending much of his time working with cattle and horses Andrew enjoys all challenges of mixed animal practice.

Susan Carroll

Dr Susan Carroll     BVSc (hons)

Senior Veterinary Associate

Susan joined Vet Cross in Bundaberg in 2004. After graduating in 1998 Susan started her veterinary career in a country practice in regional Queensland later travelling overseas. After the birth of her 2 children she has continued studies and has now completed a course with the Centre for Veterinary Education in animal ultrasonography.

Kate Schroeder

Dr Kate Schroeder     BVSc (hons)

Veterinarian

Kate grew up in Bundaberg and studied at the University of Queensland, Gatton. Kate loves all aspects of mixed practice, in particular equine medicine & surgery. She has a passion for horse training, which comes in handy with her more fractious equine patients.

She enjoys spending time with her gorgeous Labrador, Walter, her many horses and accidentally-adopted cat, Gizmo.

Meghan Schibrowski

Dr Meghan Schibrowski     BVSc PhD

Veterinarian

Dr Meghan graduated from the University of Queensland in 2005 and started her career working in general practice and veterinary livestock consultancy. In 2015, Meghan completed a PhD investigating the epidemiology and pathological agents involved in the bovine respiratory disease complex in feedlot cattle and returned to her family’s property in Childers. Meghan joined the Vet Cross team in early 2020 after returning to general practice.

Meghan is an Australian Cattle Vets accredited Bull tester, holds PennHip certification, is a ParaBoss WEC QA Service Provider and is an Accredited Veterinarian with Animal Health Australia for provision of Market Assurance Programs including GoatMAP, SheepMAP and AlpacaMAP.

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Dr Jacqueline Greiner     BVSc

Veterinarian

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Dr Alanah Evans     BVSc

Veterinarian

Georgia Taylor

Dr Georgia Taylor     BVSc

Veterinarian

Dr Georgia studied at JCU in Townsville and moved to Bundaberg with her sister Kate and their cavoodle Spock.

Lilli Glass

Dr Lilli Glass     BVSc

Veterinarian

Doctor Lilli is from Harvey Bay and studied at JCU in Townsville. Dr Lilli has a keen interest in cattle reproduction and pretty much all aspects of the veterinary industry. In her spare time Lilli loves going to the beach with her beautiful boy Lenny who is pictured here with her.

Amy Cox

Dr Amy Cox     BVSc (Hons)

Veterinarian

Welcome Dr Amy. Dr Amy studied at UQ Gatton and graduated in 2017. Amy started working at a clinic in Maryborough before moving here in 2022. Dr Amys special interests are surgery and cattle.

Anna Logan

Anna Logan     QVN (Cert IV)

Senior Nurse

Anna has been working as a veterinary nurse for the Vet Cross team since 2008 graduating as a qualified veterinary nurse in 2011. Anna is a key team member being actively involved in training junior nurses, 2013 saw Anna take time off to start a family. Anna has a dog called Moose who is a rescue dog.

Amy Jensen

Amy Jensen     QVN (Cert IV)

Senior Nurse / Practice Manager

Amy has been working at Vet Cross since July 2009 and qualified as a Cert IV veterinary nurse in January 2014. Amy is a talented nurse and is often found helping clients on the phone or at the front desk. Amy is an asset to the Vet Cross team. She has a Shih Tzu called Penny and a Labrador called Norman.

Bec Nicholson

Bec Nicholson     QVN (Cert IV)

Senior Nurse

Bec joined the Vet Cross team in 2015. She is most happy nursing for our bovine patients, with cattle medicine and surgery being one of her passions. She also enjoys being able to provide physiotherapy for our small animal orthopaedic patients. Bec has been in the veterinary industry for 9 years, having started as a kennel hand when she was 14 years old. Bec successfully completed her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing in 2016. Outside of work she is kept busy with her hobby farm and dogs as well as her 2 sons Charlie and Tommie.

Sarah Manderson

Sarah Manderson     QVN (Cert IV)

Senior Nurse

Sarah is our resident ‘Crazy Cat Lady’. She joined the Vet Cross team in 2016, having been a qualified vet nurse since 2012. Her special interests are radiography, orthopaedic nursing and anything feline, with a special ability to calm even our most anxious kitty patients. Sarah has two extra fluffy, extra lovable cats, Felix and Cooper, and enjoys playing the cello.

Courtney Milne

Courtney Milne     QVN (Cert IV)

Veterinary Nurse

2021 was a busy year for nurse Courtney, she finished her studies and became a qualified veterinary nurse (QVN) and gave birth to her and her partner Mat’s first child Hailey. Baz the cattle dog and Jax the Border Collie are very excited about their new sister.

Brooke Jackson

Brooke Jackson

Veterinary Nurse

Brooke is currently studying her certificate 3 in veterinary nursing is looking forward to starting her cert 4. Brooke has 2 very energetic dogs named Maloo and Maggie.

Dr April Fegredo - BVSc (hons)

Veterinarian

Dr April pursued her studies at UQ in Brisbane, earning her degree in 2023. Her professional interests span a wide spectrum, with a particular focus on behavior, emergency and critical care, neonatal care, soft tissue surgery, and weight loss consultations.
Sheridan Philips

Sheridan Philips

Veterinary Nurse

Sheridan started with Vet Cross in October 2020. Sheridan is born and bred in Bundy, her family have been living in the area for over 130 years. Growing up on a hobby farm Sheridan has had many different pets over the years and enjoys riding the family horses. Sheridan’s most treasured pet is Annabelle the 14 year old Mini Foxy.

Brooke Land

Brooke Land

Veterinary Nurse
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Sarah Boersch     QVN (Cert IV)

Veterinary Nurse
Leah White

Leah White

Nurse

Welcome Nurse Leah. Leah and her Husband Blake moved to Bundaberg from North Brisbane in 2022. Leah has been in the veterinary industry for 2 years and is currently studying her certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing. She is the loving fur mum of Cinders the Bull Arab X.

Rachel McGregor

Rachel McGregor

Veterinary Nurse
Rachel is a Bundy girl and her family have cattle properties out at Mt Perry. Having grown up with large animals Rachel has a keen interest in them and is looking forward to starting her studies in 2022.
Amanda Polizel QVN

Amanda Polizel

Nurse

Amanda Bickmore

Amanda Bickmore

Marketing / Receptionist

Amanda started her Vet Cross journey in 2013 as a receptionist. However, she soon demonstrated her creative talents and is now primarily our marketing manager. She loves the ability to tell the stories of our furry and feathered friends, as well as being able to inform and educate clients, both old and new.

She has a Labrador named Molly.

Jo Logan

Jo Logan

Gin Gin Receptionist

Jo is the face of Vet Cross Gin Gin. She loves being able to greet our clients and is always up for a chat. She joined us in 2011 and she has become a massive part of the Gin Gin family.

Jo is kept busy by her three big dogs Ruby, Zip and Zeus.

Jackie Sergiacomi

Jackie Sergiacomi

Receptionist

Jackie Joined the Vet Cross team in 2016. Jackie has over 24 years experience and says she couldn’t imagine her life without the excitement and satisfaction that comes from being in the veterinary industry. Jackie’s experience has ranged from a nurse right through to accounts and management. Jackie has been competing in endurance racing for the past 30 years and loves that the sport takes her to beautiful parts of Australia that otherwise she may have missed.

Jess Raines

Chloe Hancock

Receptionist

Chloe joined the Vet Cross team in 2018. Chloe and her now Husband Guy were married in May 2019, they moved here from Ballarat. Chloe has a Foxxy named Maggie and a ginger cat named Milo.

Jade Switzer QVN

Jade Switzer QVN (Cert IV)

Veterinary Nurse

Jade has been with Vet Cross since August 2021 but her career in the veterinary industry started 24 years ago. In that time Jade has worked as an equine nurse and has experience with all large animals. Jade has a particular interest in working with anxious dogs and loves providing physiotherapy to small animals.

Kirsty OG

Kirsty Jansen

Receptionist

Kirsty splits her time between our Bundaberg and Bargara clinics. At home, she’s the proud companion of Nudge, a delightful character who wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of a photoshoot. In her spare time, you’ll find Kirsty behind her hooks, enjoying knitting and crocheting.

Jess OG

Jess Raines

Receptionist

Before joining us, Jess embarked on an adventurous journey, exploring every nook and cranny of Australia for a whole year. On top of her wanderlust, Jess proudly calls herself the parent of a charming cockatiel named Monty. In addition to her love for travel and animals, Jess is a keen runner and trains most days.
Tammie 2

Tammie

Melbourne

Tammie joined Vet Cross in 2022, bringing with her a rich farming background. Over the years, she has cared for horses, cattle, and pigs. Currently, Tammie is the proud owner of two horses, Mia and Nikki, as well as two dogs, Gordo and Ruby. On weekends, she enjoys taking joy rides on her Vulcan 650 Cruiser.
Tim Hill

Dr Tim Hill     BVSc MACVS

Practice Principal

Tim graduated from University of Queensland in 1993 and, because of his interest in soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery, gained Membership of Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Surgery in 2006.

Tim completed the PennHip certification in 2009 enabling accurate assessment and evaluation of hip screening, he also has a diploma in animal ophthalmology. Tim travelled throughout Australia and the United Kingdom and gained extensive experience in mixed and dairy practices.

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