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Are cat owners more vulnerable to burglary?

Cats could be compromising your home security

Cats may be a great companion but owning one could potentially make you a target for burglary. Would-be intruders will always look out for signs that houses could be good targets. We all know the obvious ones: valuables in sight from the windows, notes for the milkman, no visible security etc. However, one you may never have considered as a security vulnerability is having a cat.

There are 3 main reasons that put cat ownership on a burglar’s wish list when it comes to choosing a target for theft:

1. Open windows

Often cat owners will leave windows open so that their cats can come and go as they like. Unfortunately, this can allow an intruder to come and go as they like as well. Any open window, even when you’re in the house, unless you happen to be in that particular room, can allow access to a burglar whether that be to let them in the property or just to reach in and grab items.

2. Cat flap

Adding a cat flap to a door immediately weakens it but the greatest issue is it can allow burglars to reach in and hook things like keys out with a tool or even found object such as a garden cane.

3. No burglar alarm

A cat often means that owners either don’t have a burglar alarm or don’t set it for fear of the animal triggering it while prowling around the house (or because of the windows they like to leave open for them – see above!).

What can you do?

The good news is you don’t have to re-home your beloved pet; there are ways to have a cat AND keep your home secure!

  • Do not leave windows open for cats. While your cat may appreciate being able to come and go as they please, it’s not worth the risk to your home’s security. Around 30% of burglaries are classed as ‘insecure’ which means entry has been gained through an unlocked door or open window. Many insurance policies won’t even cover you if this happens which could leave you seriously out of pocket
  • Ideally don’t have a cat flap at all due to the way they can weaken the door. However, if you really want your cat to have their freedom (and we’ve already established that open windows are a no-no) then make sure you get one that has a sensor that will only allow it to open for your cat and make sure you lock it up from the inside when you go away (and presumably your cat is safely stowed at a cattery or similar).
  • Keep all keys and valuables (including car keys) well away from doors so that they can’t be hooked out through cat flaps or letterboxes
  • If you have a porch or conservatory where you have another inner door that can be locked, consider putting the cat flap on that outer door so that even if someone managed to gain access via the cat flap, they wouldn’t be able to get any further but your cat would still be able to get in somewhere warm and dry
  • It’s actually a myth that you can’t have a burglar alarm when you have a cat or dog as you can have the system fitted with pet friendly sensors. These are designed to know the difference between pet movement and human movement so you can put your alarm on when you leave the house (or go to bed) without fear of Mrs Whiskerson setting it off. If you have an existing alarm with regular sensors, you can usually swap these for pet sensors without having to change the whole system
  • Some say that you should also be careful not to allow burglars to see that you have a cat but it’s not really practical to keep Mrs W away from the windows and there’s no way of really disguising a cat flap, however visible security such as a burglar alarm, CCTV and security lighting will all act as deterrents and make people think twice about targeting your home.

If you would like more information on swapping to pet sensors, having an alarm with pet sensors installed or indeed anything else regarding home security, give us a call on 01924 371941 or send us a message using the form above.