You may think that your sweet and fluffy cat would never hurt a fly. Unfortunately, when it comes to native wildlife, that is far from the truth. Cats are predators by nature and have a strong prey drive. According to the research in Cats in Australia: Companion & Killer, published by CSIRO, just one domestic cat could kill 75 small animals annually. That number could include rare and endangered species of birds and mammals. Sadly, a bell on your cat’s collar is not enough to keep the local wildlife safe. That is why some local councils have strict regulations when it comes to cat ownership. The impact hunting cats can have on the environment is deadly serious.
As a cat owner, you might be wondering what you can do to help? There are some simple precautions that you can take to prevent your cat from hunting, therefore minimising your cat’s impact on local wildlife.
Unplanned reproduction adds to the population of stray cats. Since stray cats are unregulated, they can have a devastating impact on local wildlife. Stray cats need to hunt for survival, placing the local wildlife population at risk. By giving your cat this simple and safe operation, you can avoid contributing to the problem.
If your cat has free range outdoors, that means they can (and will) go hunting. Even if they are well fed, they will still have the instinct to hunt. There are some great products available to help you give your cat stimulating time outdoors whilst keeping the local wildlife safe. A cat enclosure is a great option, giving your cat room to spread out and relax in the fresh air and sunshine. This also helps to keep your cat from getting lost or having an accident while out on the prowl.
You can find many examples online of cats that love to go out for “walkies”, just like dogs! This could be a great bonding opportunity for you and your cat. But please note, not all cats are happy in a harness. Please only pursue harness training if this suits your cat's personality and temperament. Here is a useful how-to video on the topic of harness training.
The most important thing to remember is that everyone is responsible for the welfare of our native animals. Australia is known for its wonderful array of native birds and mammals. Let’s help protect them by taking care of our cats. As a cat owner, there are many ways to protect wildlife whilst giving your pet a high quality of life.
Please share your own suggestions in the comments section below.