The view of cats being murdering menaces, is shared by people who continually call for cat owners to keep their animals inside, or at least ensure that they are fitted with bell – collars to help prevent them from hunting and killing wildlife.
Dr Peter Marra, a world bird expert was recently interviewed on on radio 4’s Today programme and stated that cats were killing billions of birds each day. For this reason, he stated that cats should be banned from going outside. He also stated that all free roaming/stray cats, should be euthanised if homes could not be found!
There are thought to be approximately 8 million cats in the United Kingdom and it is thought that they kill around 55m birds a year, but they mainly predate on the sick, the weak and the young.
As a cat owner, I cannot dispute that of all three of my rescue cats, the eldest, will take any opportunity to desimate our local wildlife. Predation is an inherant trait but it is their purrs and snuggles, which is a side that makes cats the perfect companian.
So aside from keeping our cats indoors, what other measures can we take to give our wildlife a fighting chance. Well, you could fit a bell to a quick release collar. Theoretically, the sound of an approaching cat will alert their pray and help them to ellude capture, however, in practise it makes little difference. Cats are too clever!
In short I see little evidence that our cats are responsible for driving our wildlife to extinction. The RSPCA also state that they see little evidence to suggest that cats are responsible for our declining bird population.
How can you help
Many of our cat clients are turning to cat proofing their gardens. The solves the dilemma of keeping cats in a safe environment and allowing them to enjoy the outdoors. Outdoor cats are also at risk from traffic dangers and sadistic people who relish the opportunity to injure and kill domestic pets. It will also prevent other cats from entering your garden, which can be a source of stress for many cats.
Cat proofing your garden will limit your cats access and you will need to work harder to enrich their surroundings and keep them entertained.
A bored cat will be tempted to nibble your plants, so you will need to ensure that there are no toxic plants in that area. Slug bait and poisons used to control pests are extremely hazardous and should never be used near your cats. Planting some cat nip and erecting a few platforms, will ensure that your cats remain happy and content while outdoors.