Keep cats indoors?

Cats seem to be loved or hated in equal measure.

But there is no getting round the fact that cats are carnivourous mammals who have a bloodlust.

Should cats be kept inside entirely or in contained cat runs to stop them cutting a swathe through our bird life (as well as other wildlife)?

In Australia some areas already have  legislation in place to keep cats indoors. Could this happen in Britain?

Worldwide cats may have been involved in the extinction of more bird species than any other cause except habitit loss and are contributing to the danger of other small mammals possibly becoming extinct.

In Britain alone domestic cats now number 8 million and are said to kill millions of birds annually.

A cat’s motivation to hunt is separate from its desire to satisfy hunger so it will hunt at any time. Their taste for blood is never ending.

Most of the creatures they kill are tortured to death. So you could call cats murderers who torment their victims.

Cats are well fed and do not have to forage for food as their owners feed them well. This means they are well fed and alert for each killing spree.

Somewhere safe and secure to sleep is of paramount importance to man and animal alike. Cat owners ensure their cat has a comfortable, safe and secure bed.
The bird population does not have the luxury of a safe haven where they can renew their strength. They have to be on the look out for predators 24/7. They also have to forage every day for food to survive.

I want to enjoy the wildlife in and around my garden. I do not want to see them being killed by cats.

What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Keep cats indoors?

  1. Sue Mandeville

    Human caused habitat destruction is the main cause in decline and extinctions of birds, not domestic cats as your article states. That half truth only applies to isolated islands where cats were brought by humans. Rats, snakes and pigs also brought to islands by humans all contributed to island bird extinctions. In a recent Australian study, removing cats from an island(Macquarie Island) to help birds, backfired because the cats had been keeping the rabbits in check. With no cats, the rabbits ate all the vegetation.
    Being from the USA I am more familiar with the bird advocacy organization, Audubon, the equivalent of the RSPB. In 2007 Audubon published a major research paper called “Common Birds in Decline”. In it they stated the reasons for declining bird numbers as intensified farming techniques, logging, urban sprawl, industrial development, pesticides and loss of wet lands. The paper did not mention cats!
    Going to the RSPB website one can find this “Despite the large numbers of birds killed, (by cats) there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide. This may be surprising, but many millions of birds die naturally every year, mainly through starvation, disease, or other forms of predation. There is evidence that cats tend to take weak or sickly birds. “
    You say you want to enjoy the wildlife in your garden and imply that roaming cats are ruining this. Do you provide water, logs, brush piles, nest boxes and rock piles? Do you garden organically? Does your patio cover half your yard? **Do you have plate glass windows that birds smash into? Are donating time and money to environmental organizations? Are you planting native plants? Do you let any inch of your yard remain wild?
    No, cats should not be kept indoors for several reasons. One because it is easy to blame cats. The argument to keep them indoors is popular but not well reasoned. The second reason is it is a cruel thing to do to such a curious, intelligent animal. Besides many cats cannot be kept indoors. These cats become bored, fat and display behavior problems such as furniture destruction, aggression and inappropriate urination.
    **”Prof. Daniel Klem, Jr.(Bird Observer Vol 34, 2006)”Even considering the remarkable number attributable to cats, this figure is more than likely to be far less than the annual kill at glass. Further, cats are active predators that most often capture vulnerable prey, while sheet glass is an indiscriminate killer that takes the strong as well as the weak and is astronomically more abundant than cats in the environment.”

  2. trish Post author

    HiSue, Thanks for this long comment, which I will read and reply to thoroughly later on.
    I would just say that I know for a fact that cats do not kill vulnerable prey. I have seen cats with my own eyes kill healthy birds.

    I do all the things you mention in your note about gardening
    I provide water, old wood, brush piles, nest boxes . We don’t put any fertiliser on our garden. We don’t have a patio, We have put stickers onto any glass windows that we have that a bird may fly into. I belong to RSPB and Yorkshire Wildlife. I am trying to put together a Bird Friendly Garden Plant List. Loads of my garden is wild.

    Cat owners turn their cats out knowing they will kill birds and other small mammals. They kill, not for hunger, but because it is their instinct.

    Will continue this chat / discussion later. It’s interesting and thanks for contacting me.

    Will be in touch. Trisha

  3. John Wilson

    We have three cats, and have found a paradoxical way of stopping them from catching birds. We have about a dozen bird feeders with different foods in. As a result we have a huge population of birds, particularly house sparrows. At the first sighting of a cat the alarm goes up and every species is alerted. More food is more pairs of eyes to watch out for danger. The moggies have next to no chance. They still bring home the occasional bird, but it used to be several a week rather than a handful over the whole summer.

  4. Trish Post author

    How amazing. You actually own three cats and you have found that this way works. When I had a stray cat attach itself to us I could not stop it killing birds.

    Can I ask, do you keep your cats in on a night?

    Thanks for contacting Bird Table News

  5. Graham

    The only way to remove the cat threat to birds is a change of legislation on the freedom to roam act…..
    D E F R A are the gov, dept, who is responsible for
    this piece of ill thought out law.
    Out dated .Totally unjustified . .
    Come on DEFRA ..1st April to 1st August …..
    and give our common birds their right to nest and
    reproduce more safely…Its time for change……???

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