/ Home & Energy

Are you feline bad about cats killing wildlife?

If there’s one topic that’s likely to get us gardeners going, it’s the animals that share our gardens with us. And cats roaming free in our gardens is an issue that splits opinion.

We all regard the creatures that live in our gardens differently.

Some people are happy to see hedgehogs, but don’t like badgers because they can cause damage. Some of us are horrified to see sparrowhawks descending on our bird tables, while others are thrilled to see nature in action.

And sometimes our idea of a pet and wildlife can become muddled – some people feed foxes, but others are hell bent on getting rid of them, especially if they’ve got chickens – which are either pets or considered as ‘livestock’…

Predatory pets and our wildlife population

But if there’s one animal that really divides opinion, it’s cats. According to our recent survey, eight in ten people reported troublesome cats in their gardens. And half cited problems with these cats killing wild birds.

And in the June issue of Which? Gardening, garden writer and biologist Ken Thompson points to a survey that was carried out a while ago (but is still the best data around) about the antics of our feline friends. The survey suggests that over five months, British cats killed 57.4 million mammals, 27.1 million birds and 4.8 million reptiles and amphibians.

The survey leaves plenty of questions unanswered, but there’s no denying that this is slaughter on a pretty massive scale.

Ken says that we don’t know how far cats are just mopping up ‘surplus’ wildlife, ie. young, old or sick animals that might have died from other causes anyway. But what we do know is that fear of predation is a problem in itself, and can reduce wildlife populations.

Pouncing on the problem of killer cats

As a cat lover, this all makes me feel pretty uncomfortable. But not as uncomfortable as Ken’s suggestion: think twice about keeping a cat.

If you must have a cat, just have one of them. Also attaching a bell or alarm to a cat’s collar has been shown to reduce predation, and keeping it indoors means killing is kept to a minimum (nocturnal animals are protected at night, and birds during the day).

There’s one piece of good news – feeding birds in your garden doesn’t increase the number killed, since the large numbers of birds seem better at spotting cats and raising the alarm.

Dog owners out there may be feeling smug at this point, but Ken says that dogs can induce exactly the same fear as cats. And a big dog is one of the few things that can kill an adult hedgehog (cats and foxes can’t).

The animal lover’s dilemma – wildlife versus pets

So, it’s a tricky one, isn’t it? As a nation of animal lovers, we’re not about to give up our pets. Maybe it’s a case of managing them as best we can, and doing our best to help wildlife thrive at the same time (putting out bird feeders, for example, and creating wildlife-friendly gardens).

If you’re anti other people’s cats, you could try an ultrasonic device – our research has shown that while they might not deter cats altogether, it might stop them sticking around.

Ultimately, though, we probably just need to learn to live with everything that comes into our gardens. As Ken says: ‘If you provide an opportunity, whether living space or food, don’t be surprised when something takes advantage of it.’

Comments
Gill says:
31 July 2012

Very interested to read this article. I have a bengal tiger cat who lives next door to me, our gardens back on to a small river full of wildlife, including ducks. This morning I found the cat in my garden with a female duck whose neck it had broken. On previous occasions I have chased it off from the ducks but have also had a headless rabbit, a dove and a young blackbird that I’ve had to dispose of. Today was the final straw and I will talk to my neighbours about them taking some responsible action. Most of the killing takes place over night or early morning. I have no problem with the natural order of things such as sparrow hawks or foxes killing other wild animals but when the killing is done by a so-called domestic pet that is just not right. I would be interested to know if I can approach the River Authority about this as the river has been made a nature reserve and any advice from anyone would be most appreciated.

Dave D says:
2 August 2012

Cats are classed as wild animals not domestic ones so I would guess that the Rivers Authority are probably not going to be able to do much.

I’m amazed that the cat can deal with ducks: I know several people with cats who live near to rivers with ducks or, in two cases, who live in substantial country houses with their own duck ponds: in every case the ducks are far too big and powerful to be under any threat from the cats and the cats learned very early on that the ducks could easily hurt them. Are you sure that the killing is not done by some larger animal which is then discarding the bodies?

Amy_the_veggie says:
3 June 2015

Bengals, unlike other cats, like to swim so they might have an advantage in hunting water birds that other cats don’t.

Stuart Donnelly says:
11 August 2012

There’s a gang of about eight cat’s that come into my garden. Daily attacking the bird’s that i feed. Since the police woman has got her second cat. i,ve been woken up every morning for over six month’s now. When the wildlife get’s attacked or murdered, and the bin bag’s get ripped open, or the cat’s poo all over the place. the bird’s go psycho, especially the Magpie’s. I got myself a water gun. The fox just come’s at 9:30 pm for it’s Tea. My dog doesn ‘t chase anything, more protect’s the bird’s when their feeding. Put your cat’s on lead’s.

deegeepee says:
30 September 2014

a “gang” of eight cats? Unlikely since most cats are solo predators.
a “fox that only comes at 9.30pm for its tea” and you have ripped bin bags? I think you’ll find that is far more likely to be the fox than any cat.
“cats poo all over the place” is also extremely unlike any cat, they are generally a creature that tends to hide the fact it it has defecated, and will bury it. Foxes on the other hand have scat that is quite like cat faeces, and will tend to defecate like a dog on the surface, but less so. So again, it would point to the fox rather than any cat.

This post demonstrates a very obvious lack of understanding, but I am always be willing to be proven wrong if the evidence of a “gang of cats defecating all over the place and ripping open bin bags” should ever come to light.

PS: dog lover, and cat lover. we have cats by choice because we would consider leaving a dog at home all day every day cruel to the dog, and could quickly lead to barking and unruly behaviour. We keep our cats in at night and make sure they regularly come home during the day as well. And Cats, quite to the contrary do not kill many birds, and certainly not to reduce species numbers significantly, this has been proven by the RSPCA and other animal bodies. Most of a cats prey are in fact much smaller voles, shrews and mice, as anybody that knows cats would tell you. and Magpies are the scourge of the skies, they predate many of the same animals that cats do.

Melissa S says:
30 September 2014

And your post demonstrates the typical attitude that at least half cat people possess about the birds and other wildlife that your vermin cats destroy. It’s a lot like seeing a poacher in Africa suggesting “our killing elephants for ivory is not that bad for the environment, we don’t kill THAT many”. It is sick and disgusting.

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deegeepee says:
1 October 2014

wow. I love dogs as much as cats. and I have an avid interest in all wildlife including elephants and all African wildlife. The same place where lions and cheetahs roam free and kill smaller animals. if you actually took time to read my posts and the rspca and which research on what animals are actually killed by domestic cats you will find that birds are not up they’re in the main pretty. likewise you will find that bird numbers have not declined in large numbers for the birds that cays mousy likely milk like blackbirds etc. I agree that it is not nice for cats to kill birds. Nor is it nice for dogs to kill cats as happened to us last weekend. We are responsible carry owners who care for our cats and only let them out for short periods during the day and never at night. We make them wear Bells and reflective collars. They have killed about 4 birds in the last 15 years that we are aware of, but what they have also killed is numerous mice and rats. Our local farmers love the cays that keep the local rat population down. so do not assume all carry owners are the same. my comments are born from factual evidence and is supported by evidence on this very web site.

You seem to exhibit a view of the world that all cats and all cat owners are tarred with the same brush. and cats are not vermin. Most of what they kill is vermin. and before you go jumping up and down spotting boss ate not vermin, I never even hinted at it. They are not and I have a lot of respect and love of birds. I do not however like birds like magpies and crows that exhibit adhesive tendencies and often kill other birds .

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Melissa S says:
1 October 2014

[This comment has been removed for breaking our commenting guidelines. Please don’t make your comments personal. Thanks, mods.]

I keep garden doves which gives me and my elderly mother (over 100) great pleasure in watching them. We have a lovely garden and take great pleasure in the garden but are pestered by a cat that climbs into our garden and kills for the pleasure of it the doves and many other birds. The cat belongs to a lady who does not look after her garden and is frequently away for days on end leaving the cat to wander at will. The cat protection league who I contacted for advice were most unhelpful and pointed out that I must not harm the cat in any way allow it to wander and suggested getting rid of the doves and not feeding the birds. Sadly people like that are fanatics and fail in their duty of care to other people. I have tried without success using cat ultrasonic scarer’s, various plants and wire fencing to deter cats what else can I do. I do not want to harm the cat.

I’m most concerned to hear of what your local Cats’ Protection people apparently said to you, or more exactly did not say to you. I’m a member of our local Cats’ Protection and I can assure you that this would not be the level of advice that you would receive from us. Indeed a great many of our members are also bird feeders and fish keepers and our first step would almost certainly be to put you in touch with such a member and get them to come and visit you (if you were agreeable to that) and give you very specific advice for you particular situation. We certainly would not suggest stopping keeping the doves or feeding the birds at all.

It’s clear in the situation which you describe that the neighbour who (supposedly) looks after the cat is the largest single factor in the equation as she isn’t making the cat feel secure in the knowledge that it will be regularly fed and given attention and care. It’s possible too that the cat may not be neutered.. If Male and un-neutered it’s going to roam and hunt more.

May I suggest that you try contacting the National Cats Protection centre (National helpline: 03000 12 12 12 or http://www.cats.org.uk/ or helpline@cats.org.uk) to ask for a local contact, possibly from a neighbouring area, and to see if they can give you some constructive suggestions too.

Cats Protection members and volunteers are fanatics, but not in the negative way that you have experienced, and they are generally fanatical about ALL wildlife and animals.

I hope that you get some better help from the sources I have suggested.

Melissa S says:
1 October 2014

I believe you 100% Rob, I’ve heard stories like this dozens of times. Cat people only protect organisms of which the DNA is feline, and positively nothing else. They don’t care about the suffering of humans, so for them to care about a dove is definitely reaching.

My suggestion? Move. If you harm their precious vermin cats they will probably send you death threats. Yes, this 100% has happened. I can share with you some of the most depressing and hair-pullingly angering links but I won’t do that to you. There is not much that can be done unfortunately.

They say there’s a lion on the loose in Essex so keep your cats indoors and pray for the birds.

deegeepee says:
30 September 2014

lol. There were rumours after we moved into our village that there was a large cat on the loose, and it quickly grew every time the story was told. We think it may have had something to do with our Maine Coone Tom (neutered) who everyone on site gasped “Bl**dy hell, that’s a damn big cat”, as he rolled onto his back and demanded a tickle.

Folklore and rumours, hey? Not sure if it was our cat that provoked the comments, but the timings certainly coincide. 🙂

I have (or had) problems with about 15 local cats defecating – as well as killing birds and small mammals – in MY garden. Their invasion causing my dogs to bark protecting their territory – I’ll repeat – it is their territory. Cats can be easily trained to use a “Kitty Tray” in their own house – just as mine was. I really think cats should be “house cats” only. My garden is the only local one not covered in decking and is full of wild life that my dogs accept.

After asking my neighbours for three years to restrict their disgusting cats (that also probably carry some form of disease causing 350,000 infections a year as reported today in the newspapers) – who refused point blank. I decided to remove the restraining fences I erected purely to hinder my dogs catching the cats – My dogs do not bark while chasing prey (after all cats are wild life) – so now I have a silent pack – the number of wild life (not cats) has increased – the number of cats diminished to less than one a week stupid enough to invade – My vet costs have gone down as my dogs regularly injured their paws and occasional other injuries at about £40 to £80 an injury. Now my peace is only rarely shattered by my three large fast dogs racing silently through the dog door to catch the invaders – and coming back happy and silent. The bird life is happy and I’m happy.

Longley Shopper says:
4 September 2012

Interesting post Richard….

You state (correctly, at least in the eyes of the law) “cats are wild life” and you imply that your dogs are injuring or killing the cats who enter your garden…..

Doesn’t that mean that your dogs are killing wildlife?

Oh dear …..own goal I think.

More seriously, as I understand it (as a long-time dog AND cat owner and lover) I believe that by failing to keep your dogs (NOT wildlife in the eyes of the law) under control you are breaking the law and risk prosecution, fines, imprisonment and the chance of your beloved pets being destroyed too.

If I was living anywhere near to you I have to say that I’d be reporting you to the Police and the RSPCA for irresponsible behaviour.

Sorry – I class cats the same as other vermin like mice and rats – They are not wanted in my garden –

I feed the birds in my garden not as food for disgusting cats but to enhance the environment. Sadly you inferred that my dogs have caught cats and killed cats – Though I know a dog owner who said his dogs have killed 29 cats – I have seen no sign of limbs or cat fur.yet – but nor would I lose sleep if I did. What has happened since I allowed my dogs free reign to chase in MY GARDEN is the number of cats seen in my garden has plummeted from 15 a day to less than ONE a week – that one being in the process of being frightened away..

Interesting isn’t it that cat owners refuse to keep their cats “under control” to stop them defecating in my garden and spreading disease into my plants and vegetables yet insist that I keep my dogs “under control” . My dogs are only off lead in MY GARDEN and obey commands – But when I’m not there somehow magically I must “control them” Absolute hypocrisy on behalf of cat owners.

Unless and until cats are kept under control by THEIR owners – I reserve the right to allow my dogs to chase them out of MY GARDEN. My dogs are excellent teachers of cats to NOT invade my personal private garden.

Frankly I’d take up with the RSPCA to prosecute cat owners for allowing their cats to defile my food and my garden – and killing birds and small mammals in my garden. (20% of birds are estimated to be killed by cats) I like birds.

I am perfectly responsible – my dogs do not invade other peoples gardens – do not defecate in other peoples gardens – Yet cats do and their owners ignore the problem. I pick up after my dogs yet cat owners allow them to defecate in other peoples gardens.

Interesting locally I can be fined £1000 for not picking up after my dog – though I pay rates to pay for street cleaning YET cat owners believe it is their cats right to defecate in other peoples gardens however the garden owner objects.

When I had a cat – It used a litter tray – was not “put out” at night (though it had a cat flap) – It spent 99% of its time with the dogs. Now if ALL cat owners did the same – I wouldn’t have a problem

It is the CAT OWNERS who are IRRESPONSIBLE – Keep the cats in their own home just like dog owners do. We would also have far more birds around if they did.

deegeepee says:
30 September 2014

do you have proof that 15 cats are defecating ion your garden? it is extremely rare that more than a couple would do so, as they mark territory and steer clear of other cats. They are not pack hunters like dogs.

your post also shows that you could be encouraging your dogs to intentionally cause harm to other animals. That in itself is an action that could carry a prison sentence and/or hefty fine.

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Melissa S says:
30 September 2014

He has a right to do what he wants in his garden. Just like you.

He is not killing animals off his property.

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deegeepee says:
1 October 2014

no he doesn’t. encouraging one animal to chase and potentially kill is against the law. Please get your facts right before posting remarks like that. a responsible pet owner ensures their pretty is under control and does not encourage such behaviour. I do not encourage my cats to kill birds, rats and mice. I actively discourage and do all I can to ensure the cats cannot kill by having reflective collars and bells. The only birds or cats have’killed’ are sick fledglings out of the nest or previously injured ones. I would never encourage my cat to kill any bird, and if you would care to check facts, you would find that the birds that are usual cat pretty ate not declining in numbers anywhere near as fast as birds that are dying due to man’s destroying of their natural habitat. humans cause by far the most damage to animals. It was even said so last night on the tv to support the facts on this and the rspb websites.

Melissa S says:
1 October 2014

[This comment has been removed for breaking our commenting guidelines. Please don’t make your comments personal. Thanks, mods.]

Hi everyone, thanks for contributing to the debate and for sharing your views.

But please try to remember the ground rules – refrain from writing in capitals and never make your comments personal. Instead, try be respectful by engaging with other views and adding constructive comments on the topic.

And can we please move on from the subject of killing cats so that we can have a more useful debate.

Just as a reminder here are our commenting guidelines: https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/

“We wouldn’t advise you to attempt to kill cats, but if we can now move on …”

Alex, that is a hell of a way to try to close this debate. Where do you stand on killing cats?

Sorry Felix, that was poorly phrased and thanks for noticing it – I’ve now tweaked my comment.

Your figures for cat-kill are so so precise as to reduce your point to very low credibility. It seems that you are trying too hard on your cat-kill message.

Yes, I have cats. Yes, I do not like it when they kill some creatures. But I am less upset when they kill others.

I myself kill mosquitoes and house flies. I am not a Jain.

I have just come in from the kitchen where I saw a cat slaughter the last of my doves. The cat is free to roam as it has not been domesticated and although I would not accept any form of cruelty to any animal, if cats are not domesticated like dogs they should not be allowed to just aimlessly destroy other animals and birds. In the past year I have lost all 9 of my doves only one to a true predator who kills for food (Sparrow Hawk) not just for fun (cats) and their owners who appear to lack respect for peoples property. If my dog was in a neighbours garden killing their cat or doves I would be facing possible charges – but cats can do what they like!! I am very upset to have lost all my doves, I would not harm the murderous cat but if I catch the cat in my garden again I will take it to Cat Protection Group to do what they want with it.

That is a truly heartbreaking story. But the whole food chain is full of heartbreaks. It will soon be Christmas and some people will order massively bulked up turkeys. And much of the meat will end up in the dustbin. Cats, at least, do not invent a religious excuse for cruelty. Nature hands out cruelty to all sorts, not just doves.

deegeepee says:
30 September 2014

Whilst I really do sympathise with the fact that your doves are being killed, if teh cat has not been domesticated then it is by definition “wild” or feral. and a feral cat or any wild creature will have a natural place as a predator in the food chain.

If this is done regularly by a domesticated cat, then that is different and should be taken up with the owner (politely). It may be that the owners are unaware, or that there is a particular time of day/night that it seems to happen. By keeping the domesticated cat indoor when it is most likely to come across prey (dawn), then most unnecessary killing can be reduced. Remember, cats generally only take the weaker or sickly prey, as most birds cat fly away faster than a cat can run (unless you have lots of suitable hiding places ready for a cat to wait unspotted and pounce?)

Caitlin says:
14 May 2013

I am an animal-lover in the extreme – and a vegan. I have two cats who, since they came from a farm, kill a lot of wild animals. I hate that they do this and have tried everything – they both have collars with bells on, but one of them is very good at ‘losing’ his collar which can get very expensive to replace every few weeks. I’ve tried keeping them in, but since I’m a teenager and still live at home, they usually end up being let out by members of my family although they have been given strict instructions that the cats MUST stay inside – they also then shout at me when the cats leave presents in the garden, despite the fact THEY let the cats out. And following on from from a point someone else made – yes, they are neutered, no they are not some special breed – their mother was a farm cat, their father was some unknown cat she met on her travels. After having the cats for four or five years, I still cry with every animal I have to clean up, and have to shower about five times and still feel like I have the animal on me despite being very very careful not to touch it. Cats are a very awkward animal. Their fierce independence and self-reliance is what I love about them, and yet it means getting the blame for not keeping them under control when they are impossible to control.

Harmony and balance says:
14 July 2013

Cats are not part of a natural food chain. They are artificially brought in so the is no balance in the number of wildlife they kill.
They are a pet. They should be controlled as a pet. It is not ok for someone else’s pet to enter another garden, poo all over it and kill all the wildlife in it. Apart from being a health hazard, it is disgusting and no one should shave to put up with it.
They should have the same controls as any other pet and owners should be fined for for not controlling them -their behaviour and their toilet.
It should be a requirement of law that cats are registered, have a bell, be in at night and be controlled.
If they kill wildlife they should be restricted in their freedom so that they can’t.
Lets stop the ‘my cat doesn’t do this or that’ excuses. Cats kill. That’s what they do. Unless they are under your nose all day and night every day and night, you have no idea what they are getting up to.
They are decimating wildlife. that is a fact. Lets start doing something constructive about it.

@Harmony and Balance – your post’s content seems to be at odds with your chosen user name, not that that matters much.

Just where exactly do you think cats are “Artificially brought in” from? Are you suggesting that cats are either some sort of alien beings or that they are created a la Frankenstein’s monster???

The fact is, contrary to what you say, that cats are indeed both naturally part of the “harmony and balance” of the wildlife of this country as much as any other in the world and as such are legally classified as wild animals, which is why, even when we did have dog licences, cats were never licensed.

There are many animal lovers, including me, who believe that in fact ALL pets should be licensed and that the licence fee should be substantial. This would be a deterrent to people who do not care for their pets properly and those who abuse animals. It would also have some of the benefits to which “Harmony and Balance” alludes in his or her message. Sadly the politicians (and many of the public) do not agree with this system.

Many, though probably still a minority of, cats are “under your nose all day and night every day and night” – usually those which have been brought up from kittenhood in loving (and spoiling) homes – they have no need to waste energy stalking and killing prey and are often trained not to by the fuss that is heaped upon them by doting owners.

As for cats messing in your garden, the majority of occasions when this happens are when your “garden” is so overgrown and unkempt that the soil is too hard for the cats to dig and cover over the deposit and / or the grass (weeds) are so long that they offer a hiding place in which to perform and in which the deposit is covered by the growth. Not 100% the case I know, but very often the case. Perhaps if the people who moan about cats making a mess did their gardens properly they would have less trouble?

Lastly, any dog owner reading this should please take note of the second paragraph of “Harmony and balance”‘s message: “They should be controlled as a pet. It is not ok for someone else’s pet to enter another garden, poo all over it and kill all the wildlife in it. Apart from being a health hazard, it is disgusting and no one should shave to put up with it.”.

Oh how I so agree with this .. but about dogs much more than any other animal. I am sick and tired of dog owners encouraging their dogs to poo all over allotments and public areas and making no attempt to clear up after them. I do understand that dog poo can actually carry a bacteria which may affect children’s eye-sight – not sure how frequently this happens – but if that’s the case then even more reason to have dog licenses and make sure dog owners clear up. And not clear up the way two women who walk their 5 dogs near our allotments do, where they collect the doggypoo in plastic bags (good so far) and then hang the bags on the railings of the nearby school, right by the gate. Despite interventions by allotment holders, allotment staff, school staff and the Police Community Support Officer these two women, who are now well known in the area, continue to do this and are very abusive about “why should we make our cars smell by taking it home” when spoken to by the PCSO’s.

If “Harmony and Balance” doesn’t wish their screen name to be a bit of a joke they need to be a bit more harmonious and take a more balanced view, rather than grinding a one sided axe.

Totally agree with you Dave.

I wouldn’t reintroduce dog licences [the administration outweighs the returns] but I would double the VAT on dog food!

Hello all, an update for you – could catbibs be the answer to stop cats killing birds? https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/stop-cats-killing-birds-catbib/

No doubt there are many things which do not live off other living things one way or another. Maybe some plants manage it without rotting matter.

Humans are not one of those things. Nor are dogs, cats and birds.

Where do you draw the line? If cats should not eat birds, then should birds not eat worms or berries? How far do you go?

At the end of the day, every life form makes its own rules and ensures that it survives (failing the unavoidable), even the smallest life forms. Genes, cancer cells and viruses do not worry about us. They get on with their lives. That is the way it is.

So where do I come out on cats? I love cats. they enhance my life. Ditto birds. If a cat kills a bird, I am sorry. But I am not going to kill all cats in order to save all birds so that hey can eat all worms.

Night says:
1 December 2013

[This comment has been removed for breaking our guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

Despite my low IQ and even lower principles, I am open to persuasion. Can you say a little bit more about the ecology and biology that really applies here, in words that would persuade a 5 year old.

Dave says:
1 December 2013

@night.
Whilst i know this is an emotive and hotly debated issue, I fail to see what was ridiculous or deceitful or misleading about Holman’s post? Can you elaborate a little please? Your post has confused me because I have grown up being taught ( in science and history lessons) broadly what Holman said, which you now tell us is wrong. What is the correct version please?

Night says:
5 December 2013

I cant believe it. This is coming from the person who said ‘ I like cats, so if a cat kills a bird, then so what, because i like cats’ Wow. You also absurdly suggested if cats cant kill birds, then birds shouldent eat worms or berries? That is absolutely absurd. You obviously dont understand how the ecosystem works and how native wildlife is there for a reason, and i should not be having to explain this. You need to understand the differences between native wildlife, and non-native, selectively bred invasive species domestic pet cats and how wild creatures keep the balance but domestic cats mess up the balance. Also, why did you get my post removed? You are expecting me to explain about my last post but yet you got it removed. That was very underhand

Night says:
5 December 2013

You fail to see it? really? You must be on a wind-up. That is someone who is trying to make out cats killing wildlife is just ‘an animal killing another animal’ and someone who even went as far as to suggest if cats cant kill birds then birds shouldent eat worms, and that because he likes cats then wildlife can suffer, and you fail to see what is wrong with the post? This poster doesnt understand the simple, clear difference between a non-native, invasive species domestic pet, and a native wild creature. And yet they are asking me to explain what is wrong with their post. I also fail to believe that you know anything about the ecosystem and wildlife either, as you would be able to comprehend the difference surely. Sorry, but i take it you are a cat-lover too or you are on a wind up. Also i noticed one or both of you got my last post removed, strange really, considering you are asking me to explain further but my last post has strangely dissapeared, so i am unable to look back on it. Im not too suprised though, as that is a common deceitful tactic i have noticed in these types of articles from ‘cat lovers’

Hello Night, your post was removed by our moderators for breaking our guidelines: https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines

Do not make personal attacks on other commenters – instead engage with their views and put your point of view forward. Please respect others if you want to continue having a part in this discussion. Thanks.

1. There are always two sides to an argument. I am sorry that you are so upset.
2. It is not clear if you are responding to points made by me or by Dave. Maybe it makes no difference.
3. I have not removed any posts. Don’t know how. I suggest that you ask WHICH who did it. (That does not rule out the possibility that I use deceit).
4. Your main point seems to be that there is a clear line between native and non-native and that cats are are the wrong side of it. So, they upset the balance. I would like to know what date the ecologists use to make this determination and why. Why is that date is the right one.
5. I can see that cats must have arrived no earlier than their food supply. But that is true of every living creature everywhere.
6. Humans were non-native at some point. Also, we upset the balance. Should we be removed from Great Britain. Where could we go where we are native and do not upset the balance?
7.Let me know who removed you post, please.

Hello Holman, commenters cannot remove others’ comments from Which? Conversation. They can be reported if someone wants to bring them to our attention, but it is only Which? moderators who can remove them. All decisions to do this are made independently and according to our commenting guidelines and T&Cs.

Quite right too. Freedom of speech (even wordy speech) is good. I hope you think three times before removing anything.

dave says:
5 December 2013

@night
I didn’t report your first post but I,m afraid I am reporting the last two as you appear unwilling to explain your points but you are making personal accusations towards me and Holman.
I won’t bother to read or participate in this convo again as it is pointless doing so when it is being used as you are now using it.
I’m sorry that you feel unable or that it is unnecessary to clarify your points.

Night says:
5 December 2013

You studied science didnt you, so you know exactly what i am on about. If you want to read my last post to you again, please be quick, because they might be removed, due to you reporting them.

Dave says:
5 December 2013

Yes, I studied science (Physics, Chemistry & Biology) and also History (Pre-histpric era, Ancient Man, Romans, Vikings and Industrial revolution) all to ‘O’ Level as it was in my day and I got grades C or B in all of them. My Biology and History course taught me that cats are as native to Great Britain as are just over half of the species of bird that we commonly see today, that they are ore native o the British Isles than are most breeds of dog we currently regard as ‘everyday’ and that the food chain consists of predators and prey of many many different types of which cats (predator) and birds and many small mammals and fish (prey) are one example. Other examples include Man (Predator) and vast numbers of mammals and fish and birds (prey). I’ve stuck to UK examples only there – I was taught many others but they are not “normal” UK examples.

Therefore, based upon what I believe to have been decent teaching and decent qualifications as a result, I still cannot see what was incorrect or any of the other words you originally used about Holman’s original post and I still would very much like to hear what exactly you think is incorrect.

I’m sorry to say that your refusal(so far) to elaborate leaves me wondering if there really is anything you think is incorrect or whether you simply don’t like cats.

In an earlier post you assumed that I must be a cat lover – you are partially correct: I am a lover of all animals – including birds and fish and mammals and I would not like to see any animal hurt by any other animal, including humans hurting and killing any other species. To that end I am vegetarian, use only free range organic eggs, soya milk and support many animal charities including the RSPB, the PDSA (who do, of course, care for cats as well as many other animals) and various sustainable fishing campaigns.

Unless you too are vegetarian (or Vegan) I would suggest that you play a not insignificant role in killing birds (albeit a select few species) as cats do, and please; if you are a meat eater, don’t either be offended nor try to justify eating meat by saying the animals we eat are bred for eating: as far as other predators are concerned , that’s true for them too, they just don’t write down lists of what their peers consider “decent” to eat and other lists of what are not. At the end of the day mammals like humans and cats are designed to hunt and eat meat; some humans choose not to, all other carnivorous mammals that I know of don’t make that choice and hunt / eat as nature intended.

I said before that I was not going to participate any further: I think I have given a good enough explanation of my education, my opinions and my reasons for wishing that you would elaborate and I won’t now be posting any more on this convo at all, though I will read with interest any explanation of your comments which you feel able to give.

Melissa S says:
19 December 2013

“I fail to see what was ridiculous or deceitful or misleading about Holman’s post?”

Hmm let’s see. This isn’t about cats eating their natural diet. This is about an introduced pet species, owned, fed, and cared for by humans hunting disadvantaged wildlife. When a pet cat hunts, it is completely and utterly -unnecessary- for the cat’s nutritional needs because this cat has —already been fed—, and is hunting because its neglectful owner is not confining it as they should.

Domesticated cats are not native to *any environment. Domesticated cats are –domesticated–, not a product of natural selection. Surely your biology teachings much have touched upon this rudimentary knowledge. This mean that without human influence, predator-prey densities establish a ratio based on prey availability. There should only be one fox (or whatever predator fulfills this niche) per amount of available small animal prey. But when an infinite amount of people decide they are going to release a bunch of cats to hunt for frivolous leisure and not for survival, that’s when things get ‘ridiculous and deceitful’. On top of this, we have the diseases spread to wildlife AND human beings that are completely unique to cats. And for what? I silly inane culture that causes people to invent absurd excuses as to why pet cats cannot be cared for as permanent, indoor pets.

The reality to anyone with a rational brain remains that pets belong with pet owners, period. Never should any pet of any kind be free to room at will, this is a trait of a WILD animal.

[This comment has been edited for breaking our commenting guidelines. Do not make personal attacks on others and do not type all in capitals. Thanks, mods.]

@melissa.
Thanks for your thoughtful response.
I’m afraid none of the things you expect were taught as rudimentary were in my O level syllabi but i was an attentive student and got A grades.
Your last sentence is useful: cats are, after all, legally and by nature WILD animals.
I do agree that pets should be with their owners, though the law says that no one owns cats because they are wild.

Lets see if I understand your argument. Nature, without humans, through a process of natural selection, would reach a perfect balance. All wild animals would would be in proportions which are correct – in line with the natural diet built in to the natural food chain.
But humans move the balance away from perfection. One way they do this is by pandering to pets (which seem to be non-native introductions). Pets get food they do not need. They have already been fed (by humans, so it is not a natural feed).
The rest of the wild-life is a disadvantaged.
Also,cats spread diseases.

The conclusion: it would help a lot if only we kept pets indoors and let wild animals roam free.

But, surely, there cannot be a permanent fix until all “indoors” (non-natural prison habitats), all humans and all their non-native pets are eliminated. Until then, the food-chain will remain off balance. I know you do not suggest that, but how do you support drawing a line before then?

Melissa S says:
19 December 2013

The law can say that Santa Claus is responsible for frosting the grass in the morning and it would still be 100% FALSE. That’s right, cling to some moronic, culturally-shaped legislation. The law in the U.S. sanely states that cats are pets and why is that? Because they ARE. A wild animal does not live with humans as a pet. A wild animal does not eat kibble and sleep by the fire. If you agree that pets should be with their owners, you should not be resisting a word I’m saying. Think beyond the law.

Melissa S says:
19 December 2013

“But, surely, there cannot be a permanent fix until all “indoors” (non-natural prison habitats), all humans and all their non-native pets are eliminated. Until then, the food-chain will remain off balance. I know you do not suggest that, but how do you support drawing a line before then?”

Huh what? I don’t understand that at all. This is very simple: people need to keep their pets with them and out of the environment. Pets should exist only if there is a demand for them by responsible owners. That means, do not breed or allow to be bred any cats until a person with good pet-keeping ethics offers a home for them and there are no other cats languishing in shelters. Keep cats OUT of the food chain by keeping them in your home and taking them out only under supervision just as responsible dog owners do.

So, if pets are kept indoors,they are out of the food-chain. What do they eat?

Melissa S says:
19 December 2013

Loool no nice try. They are out of the -environment-, and eat the same thing you do, domesticated livestock. Remember, they eat this even when you release them! They eat, then they kill for their ‘enrichment’. How about this? Enrich them at your home. Don’t let wild animals die as their playthings.

Melissa S says:
19 December 2013

“Yes, I studied science (Physics, Chemistry & Biology) and also History (Pre-histpric era, Ancient Man, Romans, Vikings and Industrial revolution) all to ‘O’ Level as it was in my day and I got grades C or B in all of them. My Biology and History course taught me that cats are as native to Great Britain as are just over half of the species of bird that we commonly see today…”

Wait, wait. Is Dave still in public school? Sorry, I’m American and I had no idea what an ‘O level’ is until I looked it up. I had the impression that you were in college (or uni as you say). Now I must say that I am shocked and appalled that your classes are teaching you that cats are native animals. I am gaining insight towards the problem that persists in the UK and I’m troubled by developed nations deliberately spreading misinformation due to a cultural mindset. I’m not surprised to see the cult-like reactions I get for attempting to inform people in certain nations of the truth about cats and where they belong.

When you sit down with friends and family next week, please look around at what your friends and family are eating and ask if is it native or was it introduced …

Turkeys and many ducks were introduced from North America; Beef from Iraq; Pork and Sheep from somewhere else in Asia; and Chicken from India.

Humans came from Africa.

It is all a bit messy really.

Have a happy holiday.

Night says:
19 December 2013

Melissa you are completely correct, but the cat-‘lovers’ are being predictable by revealing their obvious blatant biases

Night says:
19 December 2013

Hang on a second, you want to talk about humans eating meat?….. you have no stand at all to come out with the predictable stuff about humans eating meat when cat ‘lovers’ kill more animals than anyone else, and as you cat- fanciers continually try to make that hypocritical stance, you might want to read some eye opening facts…..

Did you know…..and have you ever thought once about…..that animals have to die just to keep your cats alive. Have you ever thought about the countless numbers of animals that have to die to fill up the tins of cat food that you feed your cat to keep your cat alive?

Countless numbers of animals have to be killed just to keep your pet cat alive. From a choice of yours to have a pet cat. And with the number of cats in our country, thats an awful amount of animals that have to be killed and put into tins of cat food just to keep pet cats alive…..

And then, theres the countless numbers of wild creatures that your cat will kill just for sport. Pampered predators that only exist because a group of people decided they wanted a pet but never thought about, or dont care what it would affect and to what extent it would affect. Countless numbers of native wild creatures that are senselessly wasted and killed for cats play-toys because you dont want to do the right thing and keep it inside

And also the countless numbers of young which will die because the parent has been killed off, oh and not to mention the wild predators which the senseless outrageous number of wild animals wasted by cats which could have sustained wild predators. Do you ever spare a thought for the owls who are trying to find food to feed themselves and their young? I would love to attract a pair of owls but that would not be possible because the pet cats destroy the native wild predators food sources

Also i must mention the amount of animals that manage to get away from an attempted cat predation, but which will die later from a slow and painful death from the tiniest scratch or puncture mark because the bacteria in cats mouths and claws is so harmful to wild creatures that it only takes the tiniest of puncture marks to kill that creature

So you and other cat- fanciers have no right AT ALL to come out with humans eating meat, when you chose to have a pet cat and countless numbers of animals have to die because of a choice you made

Night says:
19 December 2013

Also i must mention, our ONLY native wild cat , the ‘scottish wild cat’ has been made extinct because of cat-fanciers and their insistence that their pet cats roam outside.

Our only native wildcat is now extinct. All those native wild cats that could have thrived where they belonged if it wasnt for the rampant and irrational promoting of cats roaming free, by the pet cat fanciers

And also i must mention too, the rare marine mammals around the world which are being killed off from the toxoplasma gondii parasites that run off into oceans, from cats who roam free depositing their feces anywhere they please, and from cat fanciers who dont dispose of cat litter properly

Our native otters are being killed off just from the t.gondii parasites

Which could have been easily prevented if cat fanciers owned cats responsibly

Night says:
19 December 2013

Really, the word f e c es is censored on this website?

Is this website not ran by adults?

Night says:
19 December 2013

The situation with shelters in the UK is absolutely dire, and it all stems from the ‘throwaway pet’ culture that is with pet cats in this country. But yet these cat charities and organisations are doing nothing about it and allowing the problem to spiral out of control. There isnt even any compulsory neutering laws in this country, and yet they act suprised that their shelters are crammed to brim with unwanted cats. I cant get over the stupidity

Hi Melissa.
Thank you for the compliment but no I’m not in public school.
(I wish!)
I am neither rich enough to have ever been in Public School nor young enough to be back at school at all.
No, I took my ‘O Levels’ back in 1984 when all of the UK schools had them. In fact I was the last year group before GCSE’s took over. I then took my ‘A levels’ 2 years later and my Mathematics degree at University after that.
It is, of course, quite possible that modern GCSE teaching in our schools nowadays may agree with your viewpoints and belief of the facts, but between 1973 and 1984 when I was in school what I have reported to you that I was taught was indeed the case, and as I have not been a learner on any science course since then, I can neither comment on more recent teaching nor do I have any reason to believe that I was taught incorrectly at the time.
It’s very kind of you to think I was young enough to be still learning though.

Melissa S says:
19 December 2013

You see ‘Holeman’ those animals are not -free-roaming-. Cows and other farm animals remain on the property of whom they belong too. So if you want to use them as examples, you still prove my point. Humans are not an invasive species because we’ve spread about the world naturally (crossing land bridges).

Completely agree with you

deegeepee says:
30 September 2014

almost all cat shelters will let you take a cat on condition that it is neutered. In fact the situation changed so that they will now do the operation for you, and the “adoption fee” covers that op.

Longley Shopper says:
19 December 2013

This is why I so rarely post on Which? Convos: “Night” and “Melissa S” obviously either have no valid points to make or are unable to articulate them so they just make childish comments.

Meanwhile others who obviously have a more balanced view (which does not automatically mean I agree with them) keep on gently trying to persuade with polite but over wordy contributions which it must be obvious for all to see are not being read by Night, Melissa S et al; they just disagree with them for the sake of it.

You would all be a lot more dignified if you just gave up.

Which? should do more active moderation of these convo’s – not just take out the majorly offensive posts and the rude words but actually take part in the convo’s and act like a chairperson in a debate, then we might get meaningful threads.

[This comment has been edited for breaking our commenting guidelines.]

Melissa S says:
19 December 2013

[This comment has been edited for breaking our commenting guidelines. Please do not make your comments personal. Thanks, mods.]

Night says:
19 December 2013

Id like to know why you feel the need to be deceitful. If you think someone claiming cats and dogs are native is a ‘balanced view’ then i would like to know what your real motivation is. its clearly deceit from cat lovers whose blatant biases always get in the way of rational and logical thought

Come on everyone, let’s try and be polite and respectful of each others views.

Earlier in the Conversation I asked if it is possible to breed cats that are unlikely to chase birds. We achieve so much in breeding/training dogs, for example as guide dogs.

Melissa S says:
19 December 2013

Yes, it is possible, but then you will likely have a cat with little natural instincts and thus animals that will have a higher chance of dying outdoors. The simple and easy resolution is to keep ALL CATS INSIDE and devote time to playing with them or giving them supervised outdoor time.

I suggested breeding cats that don’t chase birds so that they are not a threat to them if they are outdoors. Can you point me in the direction of evidence that cats can be bred to achieve this?

Night says:
19 December 2013

Thats an interesting thing there, Wavechange. I have thought about this myself before

Melissa S says:
19 December 2013

They already exist, ‘lazy’ breeds such as Persian cats. There is no such thing as being able to choose any traits and remove others with selective breeding. As I’ve said before, just like with domesticated dogs, a loss of prey drive often comes with loss of traits that would make an animal ‘wild’ enough to make it outside. The resulting cat wouldn’t want to go out anyway, and it would force people to man up and care for their pets indoors, which is not acceptable to many.

Labradors are one breed that are chosen as guide dogs, whereas pit bull terriers are not. Clearly the breed has a significant influence on the temperament. Certain breeds are considered more suitable than others as pets.

A great deal of effort has gone into breeding dogs, so perhaps there is the case to do the same with cats. I think it is unrealistic to expect owners to keep cats indoors but if breeds unlikely to attack cats were available, I hope that there would be a lot of public support for choosing them as pets.

Melissa S says:
20 December 2013

Cats already have been turned ‘designer’ like most common domesticated pets. Dogs have a higher degree of variation over cats. For instance, you can’t breed a cat into a retriever.

anne says:
28 July 2014

‘I think it is unrealistic to expect owners to keep cats indoors’

Why on earth would that be so !!!

If cats are pets the EXACT SAME RULES SHOULD APPLY as are for dogs

Longley Shopper says:
19 December 2013

My dearest Melissa.

I will make only four points and then, no matter how much you provoke, I will not respond further.

Point 1: I have read each and every comment on the entire board and have been doing so since it first started. This includes each and every one of your points.

Point 2: I am neither an animal lover nor an animal hater. I am quite neutral about all animals, I have never had any pets (and do not intend to do so) but equally I hate to see any animals hurt or injured. Your assumption that I am a cat lover (and the childish way in which you expressed it) are, therefore, undermining to your own arguments I’m afraid.

Point 3:

Point 4:

I wish you and all other readers a Well Mannered Christmas and Polite New Year.

[Sorry Longley, since we don’t allow comments to be personal we’ve removed your last two points. Thanks, mods.]

Longley Shopper – In my experience it is best to let the moderators take care of disputes. I very much agree with your seasonal greetings and fortunately there are plenty of friendly Conversations.

Night says:
19 December 2013

If you really do hate to see animals hurt or injured, why are you against Melissa’s points, in which she has clearly stated pet cats should be kept indoors to PREVENT suffering

So keeping pet cats indoors to save the lives of wild creatures AND to protect the cats themselves from the many risks of roaming outside, if you really do hate to see animals hurt or injured, why would you be against that?

[Hello Night, this comment has been edited for breaking our guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

This is a question for anyone who has an opinion on the matter. How do you feel about dogs? Are they a problem too? If yes, are they a bigger or smaller problem than cats (for us living today in Britain)?

Melissa S says:
20 December 2013

People typically don’t allow dogs to room so I don’t see the problem. I instantly take issue with anyone who allows their dogs to hunt (if they are not hunters doing it for food or some other proper purpose).

If this whole conversation could only boil down to the issue of roaming, then I suspect most of us would agree with one another. I am against animals roaming. I mean animals not being constrained by a tight leash, except when securely fenced in on the owners own land.

Unfortunately, where I live, people typically DO allow animals to roam free. In fact, I wonder if the owners get some satisfaction out of the annoyance this causes. It is one sure way of keeping themselves on other people’s radar.

Anyway, we can agree on roaming.

Melissa S says:
20 December 2013

Then what are we arguing for! I think people who let cats roam feel a sense of control over other people’s property when they are legally allowed to have their pets infringe on their property rights.

deegeepee says:
2 October 2014

You don’t see the problem? largely I agree and the majority of dog owners are very responsible but it is so annoying to have that marred with dog mess directly outside your gate left by uncaring dog walkers. Some dog owners really spoil it for the responsible ones. It is a well documented and real hazard especially for kids and so annoying when it so easy to prevent. Why should Other people be forced to clean up after inconsiderate dog owners fall to do so? It would be different if it was directly outside their own front gate.

Melissa S says:
2 October 2014

Trying to make yourself feel better by pretending another group of pet owners is worst than you, huh deegeepee? All people who let their pets roam and destroy wildlife, be it dog, cat, or cattle are no better than poachers.

Hello everyone, I have edited and removed a number of your comments for breaking our guidelines.

I know this can be a controversial and emotional subject – but please don’t make your comments personal. Do not attack or provoke people you disagree with.

Engage with the subject and their arguments, but don’t be offended if someone disagrees with you.

I’m talking to Melissa, Night, Dave, Holman, and Longley Shopper.

I think this is a really interesting debate, and I’d like you all to be a part of it, but if you continue to break our rules, I will have to take further action.

Thanks,

Patrick

deegeepee says:
1 October 2014

Thank you Patrick. indeed some of the comments were degrading to ridiculous level and those users obviously just trying to flame other users. as you rightly say comments should not be aimed at any individual. All pet owners irrespective have an obligation to respect others views and there choices of pet.

Jessica says:
9 January 2014

Hello,

We are making a documentary on cats for the BBC and keen to address this debate. If anybody is having issues in their garden with cats fouling or affecting wildlife in the area I would love to have a chat for our research. Please feel free to contact 01865297220 or jessica@landmarkfilms.com

Many thanks,

Jessica

deegeepee says:
2 October 2014

History of Cats
Cats were first domesticated in the Near East about 10,000 years ago. The modern domestic cat is descended from a wild ancestor called Felis silvestris lybica. They lived in forests before they moved into villages. Ancient Egyptians worshipped a cat goddess and had their beloved pets mummified and buried with them, along with mummified mice.

Domestication of Cats
Cats are unique in that they are the only animals known to have domesticated themselves. When humans stopped following herds and began to farm, grains were staple crops. Harvested grains attracted rodents, which in turn attracted cats. Humans observed and appreciated the rodent control. They, in turn, allowed cats to stay, and they protected and fed them. The cats presumably stayed because they saw a good deal by humand doing the gathering of their staple food for them.

History of Dogs
Dogs are thought to be the first animals to be domesticated. They have been our companions for 10,000 years — probably just a little bit longer, in the historical scheme of things, than cats. Some scientists believe that the ancestor of all dogs, both wild and domesticated, is the small South Asian wolf.

Domestication of Dogs
Dogs were domesticated by the lure of an easy meal. While humans were still hunter-gatherers following herds, canine ancestors were drawn to their camps by the smell of food and followed to scavenge leftovers. When humans realized they would bark when predators were near, they began to feed them willingly. Dogs have loyally followed and protected us ever since. Dogs obviously stayed with Humans for the same reason cats did – they saw a good deal, and rather than fight for food, gave a service in return for easy pickings.

So, Dogs and Cats can be seen to be roughly “domesticated” around similar times, and have been doesticated according to their natural attributes:
– Cats were (and are) hunters, they protected farmers grain produce by keeping rodents at bay.
– Dogs were (and some still are) scavenger/hunters, and some have been bred into hunters, and were domesticated to help with hunting and protection. certain breeds of dogs such as greyhounds, pinchers, lurchers and terriers (and many more) were bred for the reason of mans own gain. Cats on the other hand have remained truer to their roots as a hunter, and exhibit more of an independant outlook on life. (and are nowhere near as loyal as a dog)

Humans on the other hand are pure Hunters, and the most efficient and ruthless on the planet. Mans actions result in far greater number of deaths of birds and wildlife that any other creature on earth. Man also hunted for fun in vast numbers and in return decimated numbers of other large predators, scavengers and benign creatures to the point of extinction. Man continues to detroy habitats that decimate whole species. Cirl Bunting is one example of a bird almost driven to extinction by man rather than by any other predator, and there are vast numbers of similar stories – Orang-Utans, Whales, Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos, Panda’s, Gorilla’s. There is no such outcry or mention of decimation of mice/rats, there is no vast reduction in numbers of the majority of our garden birds, and there is no reduction (or increase) of either domesticated cats or dogs due to recent human trends. There are roughly equal fanciers of each, and it will always remain the case.

European Humans evolved from Afirica, White Americans descended from Europeans, and we have all decimated this planet and used its natural resources for our own gain at the expense of all other species.

So, before we all start blaming dogs or cats for “unnatural” behaviour, we should take a long look at our own race. It is after all humans encouraging cats and dogs or not being responsible for the actions of their domesticated “friends” that causes this great rift of feeling between the two strains of thought.

We should all get over our hang-ups about feline/canine following and just learn to live better with each other. That includes respect for each others choices and respect for other animals.

deegeepee says:
2 October 2014

Maybe the cat haters here would find the following product of use:
http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/catwatch-cat-deterrent.html

It is certainly a more humane method of deterrent than those suggested or practised by certain posters among this debate. Wonder if there is one for dogs that will stop them pooing outside our gate?

One problem I can see is the mains adapter supplied has to be plugged in indoors and the cable connected to the device outdoors. The cable is very thin and unlikely to survive long unless protected or routed so that is unlikely to be damaged. The unit will run on batteries but RSPB don’t indicate how long these would last or whether rechargeable batteries can be used.

I have tried one of those catwatch deterrents but it didn’t seem to work. It might be okay in a very small garden though.

Someone needs to invent something humane that cat owners can put around the perimeter of their back gardens to stop their cats wandering. Owners would know their pets are safe, a lot of neighbours would be happier and wildlife would be safer.

Does anyone have experience with plants that are supposed to repel cats?

deegeepee says:
2 October 2014

Yep – spiky ones. Burbaris & Hawthorn are used in our garden to keep our own cats away from birds. It works great, the birds have somewhere very close to the feeders that they can hop to and from, and the cats daren’t go anywhere near them while they are in there, they just chirp away quite happily (the birds and the cats). The “Scaredy Cat” plants that can be found I’m not so sure about, looking at them our last garden had them and the cat used to sleep underneath them when it got hot. Maybe it was something different, but I knew when I strimmed that it stank, it is the higher smelling plants that steer cats elsewhere I am told.

more friendly plants such as lavender have also been reported to work, but I do not have any anecdotal evidence that it does so.

Thanks. I have not had problems with cats but maybe that’s because berberis thrives in my garden.

deegeepee says:
2 October 2014

specific one we have is Berberis thunbergii – Darts Red Lady (Barberry, Berberis). Grows like wildfire, and a nightmare to trim back, will grow about 4 feet a year if left untrained. It retains some of the older leaves, unlike a lot of similar spiky plants, so can still look nice through the winter, not just a collection of sticks.

I think mine are Berberis darwinii, which does not grow quickly but are very tall.

I have a pyracantha which blackbirds used to nest in each year. I once spotted a cat jumping up to try to get at the nest, despite the vicious thorns. The nest was raided soon after and has been empty for the past ten years.