Introduced by Man, and possessing a strong hunting instinct, the domestic cat is a species which has done many services in protecting houses and crops from pests. Today, the growing number of cats is problematic because cats are the actors of a large predation on small wild animals. What can you do to protect wildlife while taking care of your cat?
The impact of cats on wildlife in figures
The impact of cats on wildlife is well known. He is also the origin of thebenevolent attitude men towards these big cats rodent hunters and therefore crop protectors. But times have changed. At a time when maintaining biodiversity was high on the priority list, these same hunting talents were now viewed with suspicion.
Domestic cats are responsible for hundreds of millions of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians die each year. And that's not counting the stray cats.
Researchers estimate that 10,000 animals (rodents, birds, etc.) are killed by cats on an urban area of one square kilometer.
An average cat kills 16 prey per year. These impressive numbers represent in some regions a serious danger to biodiversity. This is all the more worrying because owner cats receive food adapted to their needs, unlike wild cats.
For example, in 2017, more than 11% of animals hosted by LPO (League for the Protection of Birds) were animals injured by cats (84% of birds, 16% of mammals or reptiles). Aware of the need to limit the impact of cats on the small wild fauna of gardens and cities, while respecting the well-being of these pets, which are increasingly popular with the French, the LPO now offers concrete solutions (see poster below).
Other studies, done on he is, present more dramatic results: cash present in local wildlife are less numerous and therefore likely to disappear. In addition, cats were often introduced late, which means that their prey did not have time to develop effective defenses against felines.
What tricks to put in place to preserve wildlife from cat predation?
Sterilize your cat
Sterilization allowsavoid births unwanted, dropouts and so the increase in the stray cat population which, due to the difficult conditions for their survival, present a significant level of predation on small wild fauna.
Sterilization is recommended by many nature protection associations, animal protection associations and veterinarians. It thus allows limit the proliferation of stray cats or cats returned to the wild.
Sterilized males and females will have a longer and healthier life. Their territory will be so restricted. Ask your veterinarian for advice.
Design your garden with refuge areas
A wild grass area, a dry stone wall … are all shelters potential for small wildlife. She can withdraw in case of danger. For this, you can not mow the lawn too short, keep areas with “high” plant cover (especially in spring), plant hedges and thorny bushes, …
It is also possible tolandscaping your garden by providing sufficiently clear spaces around sensitive areas (feeders, nest boxes, etc.).
Install anti-chat devices
It can be an anti-cat mat: it’s a wire rack plastic bristling with spikes. It can prevent cats and dogs from occupying a hunting area or from scratching an area of land. This carpet can be replaced by wire mesh called “chicken”, or branches, the objective being disturb, without injuring, the cat who doesn’t like to walk on certain materials.
Finally, different devices exist, either for remove the cat from places frequented by wild fauna (repellent spray, ultrasonic repellant, etc.) either prevent him from accessing in certain places or certain trees.
Play with your cat
The game allowsexteriorize the predatory instinct and your cat's hunter (a string or a lace, a cardboard or a paper bag, a paper ball…).
You will find on the Wanimo.com shop a panoply of toys for your cat.
Your cat likes to play. If it does not play enough, it can manifest itself in moments of aggression at dawn or at dusk, when its activity as a predictor is maximum.
Ensuring food security
By guaranteeing a free access to food, your cat will not need to make up for the lack of food resources and will limit its movements in search of prey.
Avoid feeding stray cats
It is strongly not recommended to feed stray cats without being under the control of an association that manages cat populations. “Free” feeding promotes the immigration of new cats and the abandonment of cats in these areas.
You now know a few responsible tips and actions that can help you preserve small wildlife and prevent your cat from bringing birds or small rodents home.
The poster opposite made available by the LPO summarizes the various measures to be implemented.
Conclusion: Whether domesticated or wandering, predation by cats can become a concern. In order to limit the impact of cats, it is essential to sterilize, in order to gradually reduce their number, and limit their ramblings.
To reduce your cat's hunting behavior, you must offer it a free access to one varied diet and do not let it go out in the early morning or after dark.