A FORMER helicopter systems engineer from Horsham has come up with an ingenious system for keeping marauding moggies penned in their own gardens – using wooden poles from a top Welsh timber company.
Andrew Farmer, runs Sussex-based Katzecure Ltd and has patented a cat containment fencing using timber supplied by award-winning Clifford Jones Timber, who are based in Ruthin, in Denbighshire, North Wales.
The system is based on a series of rotating wooden poles which harmlessly prevent cats climbing out of their owners’ gardens.
Since Andrew set up the company in Plummers Plain, Horsham, in Sussex, back in 2004, and it has sold thousands of the systems across the UK and Europe.
Andrew reckons it has saved countless feline lives by stopping them wandering out onto busy roads or mixing with other cats and picking up potentially fatal diseases.
And he’s now planning to make it even more readily available to pet lovers through local installers across the country.
Andrew, 59, originally from Newport, Shropshire, has a background in electronic engineering and used to design updates for complex radar systems fitted to Sea King helicopters for the UK armed forces.
He came up with his Katzecure system about 12 years ago, ironically to stop cats coming into his own garden rather escaping from it.
“They were coming into my garden and leaving behind a mess which I would then have to clean up,” he recalled.
“It was then I had the idea of a containment system of keeping cats in their own gardens based on a system of wooden poles fixed to the top of existing fencing or walls.
“Cats can climb up the fencing but once they reach the poles they can’t get any further because when they try to grip the poles they just keep going round and round.
“It’s harmless and humane for the cats because it doesn’t rely on sharp metal products, netting or electric collars.
“It’s also designed to blend in nicely with your garden surroundings.”
Andrew opted to have the key 75mm diameter wooden poles supplied exclusively by Clifford Jones Timber because of the company’s high reputation.
He said: “They are a good, reliable company and they supply timber from British Forestry Commission land, sourced and manufactured locally which is something I insist on.
“All the other parts for the system are also locally sourced, with both the metal brackets for holding the poles and the plastic end caps, which stop prying little paws getting into the mechanism, coming from craftsmen in Worthing, near our base in the Horsham area.
“There’s nothing else like the Katzecure system on the market at the moment and I’ve had it patented.
“Since we started we’ve supplied literally thousands of the systems all over the UK, from the tip of Cornwall, through places like Anglesey in Wales and all the way up to Scotland.
“We’re also selling it in Europe and I have an official local distributor in Holland.
“People can either ask us to come out and install the system for them after we carry out a survey or they can buy the parts from us on a DIY basis.
“However, we’re currently looking at selling it through supply partners such as DIY stores or fencing yards.”
Alan Jones, Chairman of Clifford Jones Timber, said: “Andrew’s system is very ingenious and it works very well – he’s got thousands of satisfied customers.
“Many people might think that we make a fairly basic product. We’re the UK’s biggest producer of fence posts but we pride ourselves on our versatility and we have a wide variety of customers for our products though perhaps a cat security system company is one of the more unusual.
“We’re delighted that Andrew has found a new use for our wooden poles though and there’s nothing more eco-friendly than timber.”
Clifford Jones Timber have 64 staff at Ruthin where, as well as four million round timber fence posts, they produce gates, laminated timber for the construction and outdoor play industries and dried logs and wood briquettes.
They use timber from forests all over the UK and also have a second site at Gretna in Scotland where they employ a further ten staff.
They send their fence posts as far afield as the Falkland Islands while other clients for their timber products have included Center Parcs, a luxury treehouse builder, award-winning vineyards and a deck-chair company.
Alan Jones, whose father founded the company in 1948, said: “Every piece of timber that comes through these gates is used. There isn’t any wasted and there aren’t many industries that can say that.”
Katzecure Ltd currently has a team of six expert installers and Andrew said he was in the process of appointing a local representative based in Wrexham.
He added: “The system is tailor-made to the requirements of individual customers and is very effective at providing a safe haven for cats in their own gardens.
“In fact, if we get a particular Houdini of a moggy who manages to get through it we’ll go back out there and make the necessary adjustments.
“Some cats just love to wander and can either get out onto the road where they can be knocked down or can pick up diseases which can be fatal to them.
“I reckon over the years we’ve been fitting our system we must have helped to save the lives of quite a few cats.
“Although I’ve had them in the past I haven’t currently got a cat myself but I do have a dog, a King Charles cavalier spaniel called Ronnie Barker, who I don’t have to worry about getting out of my garden.
“In fact, he comes with me as I travel around the country on surveys he is both a good travel companion and a great guard dog for the car and has even got his own passport for when I have to go to Europe!”