How to foil the cuddly killer

Measures to curb killing of wildlife by cats

source: Penny Wark
Times February 1 2001
starts p8, 2 pages long

The Mammal Society has estimated that British cats kill 275 mllion animals annually, representing an average 30 killed per cat. Bells are not a deterrent, but confining cats indoors at dawn and dusk does reduce their kill rate. This is because cats tend to hunt at these times, argues vet, Roger Mugford. Birds tend to be safer from cats when they are older, though rodents tend not to learn to avoid cats. The RSPB offers advice to cat owners who also want to protect birds. Birds are most vulnerable when they are nesting, and benefit from cover offered by hedges, and plants with berries, Nest boxes should be located by prickly bushes, and birds should be fed on tables located away from possible cat launch pads, like walls and trees. Cats can also be fitted with a device called 'The Liberator' from Highcraft, which warns birds by flashing and beeping when cats jump up, but does not warn mice since cats move down to catch mice.