When I was working and living in a city centre and only had a 30 foot long by 20 foot wide garden surrounded by 6 other gardens and as many cats I was as rabidly anti-cat-in-the-flowerbeds as the next person. Often to be found running out in nightie and slippers issuing oaths at 5 in the morning.
Now that I'm retired and living surrounded by fields with only one neighbour I find that my feelings have changed towards cats - possibly because they go out for the day and do what they have to do in the great outdoors along with all the sheep.
I'm still waiting for the feeling of a furry friend on my knee, husband excepted. Our two cats are both troubled little souls and don't have a clue about things like knees. I just get pleasure out of thinking that they are at least happy to be left alone.
We don't lose many birds to them at all. All those years of rushing about at 5 am have taught me to learn the sounds of the signs of trouble and I'm a very light sleeper. What we do have trouble with is live voles, field mice, shrews and once a slowworm. All alive and kicking. ( well, maybe not kicking in the case of the slow worm).
My husband once tried to rescue an indignant shrew - I warned him that it might bite so he approached it very carefully. It ran up his trouser leg. I still have a mental image of him with his hands clasped round his knee trying to run to the privacy of the garden shed so that he could get rid of it. It didn't bite him, thank goodness.