Cats and Wildlife
by Dr Douglas Wilson BVM&S PhD VetMFHom MANZCVS CertIAVH
People who would like to keep a cat, but don’t want to kill native wildlife often ask me for advice. Here are a few suggestions.
A collar with a bell is a great idea (two bells are better). However, cats sit very still before pouncing and a bell does not usually give enough warning. In an attempt to overcome this problem, an electronic device, which can be attached to the cat’s collar, has recently been developed. This device emits a warning sound as soon as the cat jumps and is thought to be more effective than a bell.
Cats hunt mostly at night so it is a good idea to keep them inside from early evening. They are also more likely to hunt if they are bored so make sure you spend lots of time playing with your cat – even if it is as simple as pulling a ball of wool along the ground. Alternatively, why not get a harness or collar and lead, and take your cat for a walk?
Cats are probably less likely to feel the need to hunt if their natural appetite is satisfied. So make sure your feed a predominantly raw meaty bone diet (chicken necks, wings, and so forth). Never leave uneaten food outside since this may attract stray cats to the area. You should also avoid scattering bird feed on the ground since this provides easy prey for cats!
For those who want complete security for both cat and wildlife, there are several Australian companies who manufacture completely enclosed modules which allow your cat outdoor access, but prevent him from leaving your yard. Ask your vet for contact details.
Remember that desexing will reduce roaming as well as reducing the number of unwanted stray cats.
I hope these suggestions are helpful to those people who want to protect native wildlife AND have a cat.
Best wishes to your all.
Dr Douglas Wilson
Here are contact details for enclosures and collar alarms for cats. I suggest you contact them and ask them to place an advert alongside the article.
Cat Enclosures / Modules
Catnip Australia Pty Ltd
03 5358 4555
07 3342 4732
08 8346 6024
Quin Sports and Nets
08 8447 3577
Audio visual alarm Cat Collar
07 4057 7901
Page last edited: May 24th 2016