Despite being a huge cat-fan, I’ve long been concerned about the numbers of birds and tiny mammals killed by domestic cats in the UK. So this article in the guardian, forwarded to me by BDB, was scary in that it puts a figure on it – up to 300 MILLION birds killed a year by domestic cats! That’s a terrifying number, especially when some of our song birds are endangered.
So what to do? Well, there’s some obvious advice in the article about not feeding birds in places where the cats are going to jump on them. It also talks about belling them, but there are counter arguments that it’s pretty distressing for the cat to have a bell tinkling away round its neck all the time (as it would be for us, I’m sure).
The best alternative for cat lovers is to a) get all their cats neutered – there are too many cats around anyway, way more than there are responsible owners – and next time you get a new cat, instead of getting kittens, adopt an older cat, preferably a ‘house cat’ – one that for whatever reason needs to stay in-doors, or is a proper aged feline and thus can’t catch anything anyway. They are harder for the rescue centres to home, but make MUCH better pets than kittens do – more mellow, friendly, cuddly, less skittish, less likely to destroy curtains etc.
While the Fairly Aged Felines do go out, they don’t go out much and certainly don’t go far, and in the year we’ve had them have so far brought in one bird between them, which was most likely dead before they found it. In the winter, when birds are most likely to be feeding in our garden on the bird feeders, the boys stay inside anyway.
So, there you go – aged felines are not only the cat-friendly choice, they’re the bird-friendly choice too…by