Pet Page | Cats and Wildlife

Pet Page | Cats and Wildlife

Pet Page | Cats and Wildlife 1500 1500 The Flyer Magazine

Any cat owner will understand the joy that cats bring to the household but unfortunately some of their activities when they are out on adventures can be quite troublesome.

Cat predation on native wildlife is one specific behaviour that causes considerable concern within our community.

Alan wearing his ‘bird safe collar’.

What impact do cats have on our wildlife?
Unfortunately cats have a significant negative impact on a number of rare and threatened native species, particularly birds that rest, feed or nest on the ground or in low vegetation and along riverbeds. Although it is well known that feral cats are more of a risk to our native wildlife, pet cats do contribute to the decline in native species within New Zealand. This is particularly a problem during the vulnerable fledgling period.

How can I prevent or reduce my cat’s predation on native birds and lizards?
• Feed your cat well with a complete and balanced diet and ensure that they’re appropriately fed and looked after while away on holiday.
• Make or buy puzzle feeders for your cat to help provide enrichment.
• Puzzles can reduce hunting on native wildlife by encouraging cats to act out natural hunting behaviours to obtain their food.
• Trim your cat’s nails regularly as short nails may hinder your cat’s ability to catch lizards and skinks.
• Cat collars with multiple bells attached reduce the predation on native birds. Only cat specific collars with ‘quick release’ mechanisms should be used to reduce cat collar injuries. Cats can learn to hold their neck still and silence the bell when hunting so using multiple bells and regularly changing the bell may help.
• Brightly coloured ‘Birdsbesafe’ collars are more effective at reducing predation on birds than bells. They should only be worn with a quick release collar.
• Confine your cat indoors at night (native wildlife are particularly vulnerable at dawn and dusk).
• Consider keeping your cat indoors permanently, or contain your cat with cat fencing around your property or cat enclosures. Most cats can live happily indoors if they have the appropriate environmental enrichment.
• Provide a selection of toys, scratch posts and climbing frames for your cat to play with to reduce boredom. A recent study has shown that cats who had 5-10 minutes of daily play showed a 25 percent reduction in the number of prey they brought home.
• Protect native wildlife in your garden by locating bird feeders away from cover where a cat might hide and putting animal guards around trees where nest is seen.
• Do not take your cat away with you to conservation areas.