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in Wildlife gardening
I was interested in the article about Cats in this months magazine as I have two. The way I keep them away from the birds is to feed the birds in the front garden - its tiny but all the wildlife is out there, frogs, toads, etc, the cats have to go round the block so they prefer to watch them from the kitchen window. It keeps the cats occupied and the birds safe. The other thing is to make the back garden somewhere your cats want to be so they are not wandering off and annoying other gardeners. I have a small garden, but there are a couple of trees for shelter , I have installed access ramps, both ends of the sheds where they like to sit, another upto the tree where there is a perch for them, they also have a little "house" they can sit on top of or inside and a pergola with a gravel board shelf they like to sit on too. So there are resting places, observing places, and long grasses for them to nibble. A clean tray indoors stops them toileting outside too. Thanks
My garden is not that large and i have 3 cats, luckily most birds are now avoiding me. I do have a pond which has lots of frogs which quite often get brought in usually in the middle of the night. some how we all rub along together.
I would not want to cat-proof my garden as I believe that next door's cat deals with a bigger problem, rabbits. Now that is a worth while debate, 'how to rabbit-proof your garden'. Infact, 'how to mole-proof, badger-proof or deer-proof' are all topics of interest to me. The moles leave plants suspended over fresh air, I am unaware until the plant looks like death. The badgers dig up bulbs, make holes in the grass but most annoyingly of all they climb small trees and shrubs, destroying them as they go, and pinch the bird nut feeder! Roe deer eat what they fancy but red deer eat some plants but just vandalise others. I think I need a larger cat!!
Or a dog! I have both cats and dogs. Bird feeders are put up out of reach of pouncing cats. Seed for ground feed is placed away from cover but there are also shrubs nearby to hide in when predators like the sparrow hawk visit so he only gets the sick or stupid. In the 10 years the hawks bhave been visiting I've only sen them get on wood pigeon.
Both dogs chase birds on the ground but never catch them and the birds just fly off and perch till the dogs go in. One dog is a terrier and loves hunting out rodents and moles in the lawn and borders - huge holes if i'm not vigilant - and she is batty about hedgepigs in the garden. On the rare occasions she catches one, much yelping ensues because of the spines but no injuries to the hedghehog who gets a plate of cat food to compensate and then shuffles off on its way. The Labrador chases butterflies but doesn't catch them cos he's a bit of a bozo.
Another mouse in last night , not sure where it has gone as there is no left overs for me to clear up.The cats latest game is bring them in and let them go, much more fun to chase them around in the middle of the night.
We have a cat like yours- Maud is in the garden,- she sits under the bench near the conifer hedge, near the bird feeder and waits until one pops out for a snack, then pounces. Sometimes she dispatches then quickly but other times she brings them into the kitchen and lets them go. We have spent many an hour trying to catch the little blighters, as soon as you get them cornered they run off behind the washer etc. Luckily she doesn't seem to bother with the birds..
We have a sparrowhawk that visits, it decimated our sparrow population a couple of years ago, but this year numbers seem to be up.
I have got 3 cats and I do everything I can to encourage wildlife into my garden - I do question whether I am doing the right thing quite often! My bird feeders are now up really high, although it does mean having to stand on upturned logs or a ladder to fill them up! That has definitely limited the number of dead birds the cats bring in. The mice come in to eat off my bird feeders and the cats do bring a few of them in, but I normally manage to (eventually) catch them and put them in a local field and they are rarely that hurt. When I was at uni I did a couple of units on ecology and my lecturer assured us that the damage that cats do is somewhat limited, especially if you are feeding the birds, because the amount of birds you are helping is proportionally far more than the number caught by cats. She believed that they are mainly catching very old or very young birds anyway who have a much higher chance of dying in the wild. It does really upset me when the cats get the butterflies though - especially in a year like this year where there are hardly any butterflies anyway
Mine are in the garden watching the bees at the moment and im just hoping they wont try to catch them. My cats spend most ot their time in the back garden so i try and grow plants that are good for birds and insects in the front. I wouldnt be without my cats foe anything they have helped me through some really rough times health wise. I do love to watch the butterflies and so far they havent caught any, or none that i know about.
I'm just glad that there are actually people on this site that keep cats. I realise that many gardeners have a problem with them but believe that is the fault of some of the owners. My cats are never ''put out at night'' and have huge bells on their collars. They come in when called and are usually only in the garden for a few hours then that's their lot so I would say they are basically housecats. I have a bird table and several feeders high up in the tree and like Lunarz, have to get the step ladders out to re-fill them . They come in to use the litter tray and the only problem I have with them is the odd ''present '' of a mouse. My neighbours either side have never to my knowledge had any trouble with them either.
As a cat owner I do firmly believe that we have a duty keep our cats from straying and to do our level best to deter them from harming wildlife.
Hello, fellow cat lovers! After such a one sided article with no 'evidence' to back up any of these claims in the August magazine, I am sick and tired of cats getting such a bad press! A magpie stripped my whole hedge of chicks this spring! So how many birds have we lost due to modern farming methods? And how much of this farmed food do people throw out every week? How many badgers and hedgehogs do we all see dead on our roads? How much dog poo is all over our paths be they concrete or in the country? Eh? Eh? My garden is a haven for wildlife and is the main concern for everything I do in it. I only feed birds on feeders from high points in trees, and have lots of different birds all raising young. Don't get me wrong, my cat has caught 4 birds this year, but she does eat them! She is a wild animal herself after all. It is a fact that residential gardens do more for wildlife of all sorts then ever before. I have no qualms about neighbours shooing my cat away and advise a childrens water spray to discourage a return visit, they hate water. So, can we drop the subject........... please.
I think it was Chris Packham who said that feeding your cats - I have 2 - in the morning instead of at night would save a great many birds. We did this - my son used to feed them at night to make sure they were in - and I don't think they have caught any since we changed it. It makes sense as they are full and just want to sleep when the birds are most active. They have bells and are always in at night. Cats keep other cats away, if there were no domestic cats we would just have feral communities who aren't neutered, fed, wormed or have bells. We too have magpies who bully the smaller birds and the jays have been very chavvy lol. I think the only casualty this year was the youngest cat - only a kitten really - who in her pursuit of bees got stung on the cheek.