Many are the joys of cat ownership - the comforting furry purry warmth, the welcoming miaow. The changing of the litter tray. The lugging home the crates of food.
But there can be the downside of predation. The presentation of voles, woodmice, shrews- or even larger mammals such as rabbits and squirrels - and birds of different sizes and volume of plumage. Most cat owners feel pretty bad about this, but up to now there seemed to be little that could be done to prevent it. The verdict was, 'it's their natural instinct.'
But at last, help may be at hand. The Guardian has publicised research which has identified things owners of predatory cats (not all are) can do to minimise this habit. The most effective were found to be:
Play with the cat for 5-10 minutes a day using something like the DaBird fishing rod toy from Pets at Home
Put a brightly-coloured, flashy 'ruff' collar on the cat with a noisy bell (but a bell alone isn't any good)
Over a couple of months, in at least one case this has achieved a substantial and welcome reduction in predation.
And cat owners may also like to know that the plastic food pouches can now be recycled - in aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance - via this website.
Photo: Barn owl
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