In the United States, many cat owners choose to keep their cats indoors. However, this is not without controversy. Clearly, there are valid points on both sides of the argument, for example, a cat is by its nature an independent animal that craves freedom. On the other hand, there are certain dangers posed to other animals and the cat itself if allowed to roam freely.
Obviously, if a cat is kept indoors an owner should ensure that their animal is getting enough exercise and is adequately stimulated. However, if an owner chooses to let a cat roam freely, which is common practice in many countries, including the United Kingdom, there are some precautions that should be taken to ensure that your cat is not causing destruction to wildlife.
Facts About Cats
There is no escaping the fact that cats are natural-born killers. Their instinct is to prey upon smaller creatures, such as mice and birds. Actually, it is believed that one pet cat can kill up to 40 other animals every year. This should come as no surprise because cats were domesticated for that very talent. However, it causes problems, particularly among birds. Therefore, it is important for owners of outdoor cats to do what they can to minimize the threat from their pets.
Keep Your Cat Indoors Overnight
It is during the hours of darkness, that a cat’s hunting instincts are at their peak. Therefore, simply keeping your cat indoors for this period, will dramatically reduce the number of victims it claims. For those who worry about limiting the cat’s natural inclination, it should be said, it is believed that the fewer cats are able to hunt the less propensity they have towards stalking and killing other animals.
This actually has an added benefit to your cat too, because feral cats are most likely to be looking for a meal during the hours of darkness. Subsequently, your pet is less likely to encounter problems with rival cats, fights or unwanted pregnancy.
Make Your Yard/Garden Attractive to Birds
It may seem counterproductive to attract birds into a garden with a cat, but there is safety in numbers. Birds have a much better survival rate if there are more of them to raise the alarm when danger is near. So, to make your garden attractive to birds, you may wish to purchase a bird table, alternatively, you may prefer to buy some hanging feeders.
Announce Your Cats Presence
Many owners choose to attach a bell to their cat’s collar to warn potential prey of the cat’s presence. Typically, these are more effective for mammals than birds and you may find that eventually, your cat will discover stealthier ways of moving that do not cause the bell to sound. In addition, collars pose a danger to the cat if caught on branches of trees and bushes.
However, there are collars that are elasticized to reduce the danger of snagging. It may also be worth investing in a sonic collar, which emits a sound that will warn birds of the potential danger. Alternatively, if you wish to stick with an old fashioned bell, it is wise to attach two bells to your cat’s collar, as this will make it more difficult for the cat to move silently.
Ensure That Your Cat is Neutered
Many veterinarians advice neutering at an early age. It may seem that this measure will not be particularly helpful in protection wildlife, but it does have some effect on a cat’s hunting extinct. More importantly, neutering reduces the number of unwanted kittens, thereby, reducing the number of abandoned cats who become feral and will are forced to kill smaller animals to survive.
Whether owners choose to keep their cat indoors or allow it to come and go as it pleases, these measures are just some of the steps that all owners should take to ensure the safety of their animal and the preservation of wildlife.