Death in mysterious circumstances

by Richard Jones

I have cats. Every so often I have to live with the guilt that they kill the local wildlife.

CatI have cats. Every so often I have to live with the guilt that they kill the local wildlife. It's usually one of the mice breeding in the compost heaps or a blue-tit fledgling. The main hunter is the black and white one; lovely and soft and over-exuberant with his cuddles, but a rascal who fights with his sister, and the neighbours' moggies and who is not one bit daunted by the local foxes. He has a collar with warning bell, but he manages to lose it occasionally. I buy another and its keeps the children and the local pet-shop owner happy.

But could he have been responsible for the latest corpse? A swift! Unlike the usually trophies, it was not presented just outside the back door, nor left half eaten in the kitchen. It was dumped, half buried, in the soil of one of the garden beds.

We have a regular gang of these fantastic birds wheeling about in the sky far above us, but they never come down low into the garden, nor do they ever perch on the fences or even the clothes line. I can't really envisage even the most agile of felines being able to capture such a fleet bird. In fact I can't imagine anything being able to catch one. It's a mystery.

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Gardeners' World Web User 07/09/2007 at 10:38

When I first moved here I purchased a bird bath and table to encourage the birds but have had no visitors because the neighbouring cats love to sit in my garden. So since a cat caught a bird I have disposed of the bird assessories and now enjoy the cats company and take my bird food to the woods where there is a large clearing.

Gardeners' World Web User 08/09/2007 at 13:56

Its nature isn't it! my siamese used to bring rats in and let them loose to run around inside! she obviously thought she was doing me a favour. I think its a case of swings and roundabouts, they keep the rats and mice down and its survival of the fittest for the rest!

Gardeners' World Web User 08/09/2007 at 15:46

recently i visited a local nursery who said they had a very big problem with rabbits and they have tried everything including electric fences. i suggested getting a cat and was told "Oh no a cat wouldnt catch a rabbit", well i said "you must tell that to my cats bert and ernie who between them catch and eat atleast 4 a day and i have the feet and tails and sometimes the ears to proove it" but still they have room for cat food.

Gardeners' World Web User 08/09/2007 at 16:06

I used to have a cat. Usually it would leave presents at my doorstep. Most of the time she would leave a few bones from a mouse or a bird. She ate very healthily so why she would eat the wildlife amazed me. Oh well! At least I know she loved me. Suppose you cannot take the hunter out what used to live completely in the wild.

Gardeners' World Web User 10/09/2007 at 19:42

I have to say I hate cats. They are a pest. Neighbouring cats come into my garden to scare the birds that come to use the feeders. What was particularly upsetting this year was a blackbird fledging that we watched all summer being fed by the parents. Last week it was caught by one of the neighbourhood cats and though it escaped it died of shock. What I particularly hate about cats is the fact that they come in to my garden and use one of my flower beds as a litter tray. Imagine the outcry if I let my dog defecate on the street let alone in someones garden. I would be grateful for any ideas on useful and successful cat deterrents so I can enjoy my garden and the wildlife.

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