Minimising the Impact of Your Cat on Wildlife
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 minimise your cat's impact on local wildlife.
- Have your cat desexed.
Putting your cat under the knife may seem daunting but 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.
- Keep your cat contained.
If your cat has free range outdoors, then you have almost certainly been brought a lovely gift in the middle of the night in the form of a dead mouse. Whilst your cat will be very pleased with themselves, there are some great products on the market to help you give your cat time outside that is safe for them and for wildlife, preventing you from receiving unwelcome presents.
A cat enclosure (like ours) is a great option, giving them room to spread out and relax in the fresh air and sunshine.
- Train your cat to use a walking harness. - Yes, this is a thing!
Type cats walking on-leash into Youtube and you will be amazed at the number of training videos available. Teaching your cat to go "walkies" could be a great bonding opportunity for you and your cat. But please note, not all cats are happy in a harness. Please only use 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 each of us has a role to play in the conservation of our native wildlife. 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 you can help to protect wildlife whilst giving your pet a high quality of life.
Be a part of the solution - not the problem.
If you have any suggestions to share, please leave them in the comments section below.