How to stop your pet cat killing garden birds 

The battle between cat homeowners and wildlife lovers is everlasting. People love pet cats, cats love killing birds, people love birds. It’s a endless cycle.

Whereas feline populations have boomed (there are round 10 million within the UK), so has the decline of songbirds, with numbers down 50 per cent in 50 years. Cats, not at all the only real drawback – local weather change, habitat loss, trendy farming – nonetheless kill hundreds of thousands of birds and different wildlife every year.

For years, the answer was controversial: preserve your cats indoors. Nonetheless, analysis has discovered some easier solutions. Based on a workforce of scientists on the College of Exeter, taking part in with cats for 5 to 10 minutes per day and feeding them a eating regimen wealthy in meat protein (versus non-meat protein that reinforces cheaper meals), satiates their predatory needs.

“I’m actually excited in regards to the analysis,” enthuses George Bradley, spokesperson for the charity SongBird Survival, which has funded the research. “Something that’s going to assist is essential. If one issue is cats killing birds, then that’s additionally one constructing block of the answer.”

Researchers adopted greater than 300 pet cats, finding out their behaviour earlier than and after their eating regimen was altered or playtime launched. After taking part in for a similar size of time as the common hunt, the cats have been much less prone to kill ­mammals, although not birds. This, the scientists consider, was as a result of the taking part in was principally carried out at night time; cats normally hunt birds within the morning.

After introducing the brand new premium diets, nonetheless, each mammal and chook hunts declined. Moreover, when cats have been made to put on brightly colored collars, chook kills fell by 42 per cent.

Telegraph columnist Pete Wedderburn, aka Pete the Vet, says it’s essential to encourage cats to exhibit pure behaviours equivalent to leaping, working, chasing and grabbing. Certainly, homeowners are chargeable for making certain cats’ wants are met underneath the Animal Welfare Act.

“House owners positively want to make sure pet cats have interaction in hunting-like actions,” says Wedderburn. “That doesn’t essentially imply they should allow them to hunt. They will mimic looking, through the use of toys equivalent to wands and feathers, laser lights, digital mice, to make sure their pets have interaction in hunting-type behaviours with out harming some other animals.” He argues, nonetheless, {that a} full finish to looking may result in a surge in wildlife populations, together with rats and mice.

Bradley, who owns two cats, retains them each indoors with a purpose to shield birds. She performs with them day-after-day, mimicking looking with a string connected to a bamboo rod, which she pulls round the home. Afterwards, just like the researchers, she supplies them with a “kill toy”, in her case a scrunched up ball of foil, offering the satisfaction researchers discovered they wanted.

5 extra suggestions from SongBird Survival on serving to backyard birds

  1. Clear your feeders and birdbaths repeatedly with a purpose to cease the unfold of illness.
  2. Delay all hedge slicing till after the nesting interval (September), as this may considerably disturb songbirds.
  3. Plant insect-attracting crops, seeding crops and native crops, as these are finest for our native wildlife to flourish.
  4. Keep away from utilizing any chemical pesticides or herbicides, as they are often lethal to songbirds.
  5. Don’t feed the birds bread, milk, desiccated coconut or any salty meals. 

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