Cats hunt, it’s what they do. For the regular home owner or tenant, hunting cats can be an inconvenience. No one enjoys waking up to find a live animal loose in the home, or a deceased one on the carpet. Furthermore, cats are blamed for the decline in certain species. In general, domestic cat owners look for ways to discourage hunting without stopping the cat from exerting their natural behaviours. Here are a few tips that could help encourage your natural hunter to resist the live prey.
Birds and small mammals are most active during dawn and dusk. During these hours, the cat will often be out preying and attacking, which is why it’s not uncommon to wake up to see some poor animal brought into your home. Therefore, it’s a great idea to impose a curfew during dusk and dawn. This is easily achieved if you feed your cat at these times, to get them into the home. Choosing lockable cat flaps will make it easier to enforce the curfew.
Bells on Collars
A study carried out by the RSPB found that bells on collars helped to reduce the number of birds that cats were able to catch. Collars on cats are not ideal but if your cat is allowed to go outside freely and they are prolific hunters, a bell might work. Always choose a collar that is safe for the cat, one that will release if it’s caught on a branch for example. Also, take the time to check the type of bell as some can trap the cats claws inside. iCatCare have a great article about choosing the right type of collar for cats, read it here.
Protect the Birds
If you feed birds take the time to create safe feeding areas. The last thing you want is to encourage birds to feed in your garden only for them to meet an early demise. Pick bird tables with single poles that are hard for cats to climb up onto. Hanging bird feeders are an option but ensure they’re away from any ledges that your cat could use to their advantage.
Cat Containment Systems
Cat fencing is an option, perfect for those that wish to reduce the hunting options that are open to their cats. Obviously, birds and other wildlife can still access the garden (although catios and cat enclosures are more effective at stopping wildlife from entering) but cats will not have the freedom to hunt in a wide area. The cat can enjoy their own natural behaviours without being confined to the indoors day in and day out.
Do you have a natural hunter? How do you encourage your cat not to hunt the wildlife in your neighbourhood?