Cats are adorable, they’re cute and cuddly and in general are relatively low maintenance pets. Yet there is a dark side to kitty ownership which becomes most apparent when they reach adulthood and those instinctual behaviours begin to be tested in the real world! Yes, let’s call a spade a spade, you have indeed brought a predator into your home!
A cat’s natural instinct to hunt is coded in its DNA. This isn’t about satisfying hunger, as despite you providing a regular meal for your kitty, there will be an internal drive for your cat to chase and pounce on anything that resembles natural prey.
It can be quite upsetting the first time you receive your cat’s ‘gift’ of a beheaded mouse or bird and sometimes even worse when you receive one in your home which is very much alive!
Whilst you can’t curb your cat’s instinct to hunt, it is possible to reduce the carnage with a few simple actions. So, here’s how to stop cats bringing home dead animals.
Sound the Alarm
One of the very best ways to protect your garden wildlife and wild animals in your area is to fit your cat with collar with a bell – yes it really is that simple. According to new research by Bird Charity the RSPB, it can, in fact, reduce cat predation by up to a third.
The bell sounds when your cat is nearby, and this scares away potential prey. There are different types of collars available and you can even purchase electronic sonic collar which emits a higher, louder sound frequency.
So, if you’re looking for a simple, efficient and cheap answer to how to stop cats killing birds and wildlife, then this is it.
Prime Hunting Season
It can be useful to be aware of the time of year where wildlife is most vulnerable, as this can then enable you to be on high alert and put in place the necessary measures to stop cats killing wildlife.
As cats are opportunistic hunters and will chase anything that crosses their path, and which closely resembles their natural prey – birds and small rodents. Prime prey season is the spring and summer months which are nature’s baby boom season. The most at risk during this time are baby birds, as they fall from nests and fledglings spend a higher proportion of time on the ground as they learn to fly.
Just like the spring and summer baby boom, there is also a prime time of day where a cat’s ideal prey is most active. Birds and most rodents tend to be active during the early hours of the morning (dawn) and early evening (dusk). Therefore, if you choose to keep your cat inside your home during these peak times, it can help reduce the potential casualties.
Providing plenty of stimulation for your cat through play can help provide an alternate way to exert that energy and an opportunity to exhibit these naturals behaviours in a mock environment. Like other animals, your cat is less likely to seek out sources of fun and games if it has had these needs met.
Be sure to make this play time closely resemble their stalk, catch and kill instincts.
Feeding Garden Wildlife
Now, you may think that as you have a cat it might not be best to encourage wildlife into your garden. However, remember your cat has a wide territory that will reach far outside your back garden, so this isn’t necessarily a deterrent.
Providing homes for wildlife is just as important for wildlife so you might want to reconsider if you thought the solution was to rid your garden of trees, shrubs and hedges.
If you do intend on feeding the birds in your garden though, the one thing you’ll want to ensure is that you do not put bird feed on the ground and instead put it up high in tall bird feeder.
Ensuring you provide the correct diet and access to food for your cat, can help to reduce their instinct to hunt. Yet, be warned that this is not a stand-alone solution as we’re all partial to a snack when we’re not hungry!