Is Your Cat Killing Native Wildlife?
There are a lot of news stories at the moment in Australia about cats killing native wildlife. It is estimated that there are 20 million feral cats in Australia and they kill approximately 75 million native animals a day – each feral cat kills between 5-30 animals per day. While they appear to prefer small mammals, they also eat birds, reptiles and amphibians (source: Australian Wildlife Conservancy).
Obviously there is not much us as individuals can do about the feral cat situation, except of course don’t feed them, that is something that needs to be sorted out at a government level. But we can make sure that our pet cats don’t contribute to the killing of native wildlife.
You might be reading this thinking “but my kittykins wouldn’t do that” and maybe he or she wouldn’t but, do you know what they get up to when you aren’t around? Cats are natural hunters and noctural – they hunt at night. Usually we are tucked up in bed when our little darlings are outside potentially terrorising the local wildlife.
How to stop your cat killing native wildlife
Killing other animals is natural to cats who are hunters, so you can’t just say “stop doing that” you need to actually take measures to ensure that they don’t do it. Here are a number of options you can consider…
On a Leash
Some owners will keep their cat indoors except when they take them outside on leash. When they are on the leash the owner would usually stay with them to make sure that they aren’t busy killing anything. Some cat owners will take their cat for a walk on the leash, much like a dog…. This does mean that usually the cat would only go outdoors in the daytime and only for a short period of time. Depending on your cat this may or may not work.
If you want to try this, you need to put the leash harness on indoors and check that your cat can’t escape from it BEFORE going outdoors. You also need to work out the size of your garden and the length of the leash, you want to give your cat some freedom but not 100s of metres.
Other owners just have indoor cats, who don’t actually go outside at all. Some people see this as mean for the cat, but if it is all the cat has known then they don’t actually know what they are missing.
In an Outdoor Run
An outdoor cat run, is the easiest way to make sure that your cat is safe from other animals, e.g. feral cats and also the wildlife are safe from it. You can get a run to more or less whatever size you want, depending on the size of your garden.
Some owners make the run so that it leads from the house and the cat can come and go as they please, whereas others will have it as a stand alone feature in the garden that they take the cat out to when they want to.
There are lots of options for cat enclosures, from steel wire like this Omlet cat run to nylon mesh. Some people like to build them themselves (warning this usually takes MUCH longer than you anticipate), you can get them custom build or buy a kit like the Omlet one which you assemble yourself.
Cats in Australia are already massively contributing to the decline and extinction of native wildlife, so rather than thinking “one more won’t make a difference” or “mine won’t do that” think about how you can stop your cat.
This entry was posted in Cats