A start could be made by ensuring that all cats are identified, you need a licence for a dog, why not a cat.? Cats which are not identified could be treated in the same way as dogs, that would eliminate the problem of pets being affected, if you don't care enough about your pet to buy a licence for it then you shouldn't have one This could also fund the operation to neuter feral cats, pet cats would be required to be neutered by their owner. I agree that this would be a big task but the reason for that is, nothing has been done to date. The longer it goes on the worse it will be.
The London reference is irrelevant because, travel a few miles outside London, into the Home counties, and the answer would have been totally different.
Mandatory microchipping of dogs is still probably 10 or more years away & dog licenses are often ignored - no one was prosecuted in Galway during the past 2 years. I am not aware of anywhere in the World that has tried Cat licensing. I totally agree with your motives but we have to live in the real world. At the moment we have a massive dog problem to solve.
You are very wrong about the Home counties. I worked in Wildlife rescue for many years in the UK & I took part in the discussions that led to the hunting ban. There is huge support for the fox throughout the UK. The Tories promised to repeal the ban, they then backed down & said that they would offer a free vote, they have even abandoned this. The know that there is no majority support for hunting which is why it has disappeared from their agenda.
People are much better educated now regarding animal issues. The majority know that hunting is purely killing for pleasure & has little effect on fox numbers.
We'll have to agree to differ as my information from rural England, where I have family, is different. The reason dog licences are ignored is the same as why many other laws are ignored, no enforcement. We, as a nation, are world leaders at putting laws on the statute books and world dunces at enforcing them. During a rabies outbreak on the Continent in the 1960s, open season was declared here on stray dogs and cats so we can do it when we want to.
Microchipping of animals is still only advisory and is only likely to be done by responsible pet lovers, not by the type of people who allow cats to wander and have litter after litter, some type of regulation is required even if it's only baby steps.
The last home grown rabies outbreak was somewhere around the turn of the century. There would be nothing to achieve by killing animals here in the 1960's & people are better informed now. Are you suggesting that we declare an open season ? There is no hint of any desire for cat control. The Animal Welfare Bill that is being discussed now doesn't mention it. Can you imagine being a warden who has to try & catch a cat to read it's microchip ?
Why do you insist on bringing killing into everything? The open season that was declared on stray animals was they weren't tolerated and were removed from the streets, whether or not they were put down was decided along much the same lines as it is today. The main push was to remove any possible threat from rats that may have stowed away on ships and had bitten household pets, people who valued their pets did not let them run loose and those pets which did were quickly rounded up. The main reason why the campaign was effective was the participation of the public, strays were reported and authorities reacted quickly. The fact that cat control is not discussed is because nobody wants to admit there might be a problem, classic three monkeys attitude. Catching cats is not that difficult, give me a milk crate and a tin of sardines and I'll give you half a dozen by tomorrow.
Two solutions :
Get a cat, they're very territorial and won't generally tolerate strange cats in their garden.
Get a dog.
Other than that, you really can't do much.
There are no "lines" today. We don't round up stray cats because there is no way of knowing that it is a stray - they don't have collars & tags like dogs.
I mention killing because that is one of the two choices & phrases like "open season" are linked to killing & shooting.
Or that there wasn't any threat. We have advanced a bit in 50 years so you wouldn't expect us to use the same methods now. I don't recall hearing of any culls in the UK.
Cat control is not discussed because it is not seen as an easily solvable problem. The only humane answer is trap, neuter, release & it is too expensive to use on a wide scale. I suggest that you join your local rescue & help them with cat trapping, they are notoriously difficult to catch. You will catch the pets but the ferals are too wary.
What would you suggest for people who take part in bloodsports?
My sister helps out with 'trap and release' and I help her out when I can too- but so far as I knew it was not aimed at peoples pet cats but feral ones.
Afraid to say it never actually occured to me- but I presumed that there would be a marked difference between a domesic cat and a feral cats reaction to humans when trapped in such a trap, that it might be obvious?
I have 3 cats ,2 of our own and 1 recent stray that we took in and neutered.We moved into our estate and had a massive problem with rats,everyone did.Since we had the first cat,we haven't had any rats that we no of in our garden,except plenty of dead ones with heads missing.
There is often an indication but any cat can become distressed. The difference isn't clear enough for the cat to be killed when it could be someone's pet. An un neutered domestic cat can easily turn feral if it is abandoned, lost etc. The problem is the time & cost. You have to set the trap & check it frequently. Then you have to take the cat to a Vet, pay the cost of neutering & then care for it post op until it can be released.
Be careful attempting to catch cats that you don't know!
They can be EXTREMELY violent when cornered or when they suspect that they are at risk.
We'd a neighbour who trapped a feral cat and got absolutely torn to shreds when he opened the box. The cat did enough damage to send him to A&E!!
Hi all, long time lurker, avid gardener & owner of 9 cats. Have been involved in cat welfare & TNR for many years
Most prefer to call it Trap-Neuter-Return as release suggests putting them somewhere else. TNR is a humane and more effective alternative to euthanasia for managing and reducing feral cat populations. This procedure has been proven to work by stopping the birth of new cats in the colony and letting the colony members live out their lifespan with their own group.
If you simply “remove” the cat from your garden by whatever means, it won’t be long before another moves in & you’ve the same problem happening all over again.
Also, cats are generally excellent hunters yet large part of the cats diet is actually insects which can only be a good thing for gardeners.
Cats don't like to walk on rocky/rough surfaces, and they prefer to eliminate on loose soil, mabey put down rocks or pine cones for mulch in your garden or lay chicken wire down on top of your soil.
You could also put down mothballs (drop them into a can or jar, cover, and make a few holes in the cover as they are toxic to cats & I doubt they’re very child friendly either)
You could try stringing some unwanted CD's together with knots in between to keep them apart, put them across flower beds and vegetable plots or hang them from trees. Bit unsightly but the idea is the cat sees the reflections, gets spooked, and hopefully leaves.
Certain plants & herbs are meant to deter cats. There is one, Coleus Canina that cats, dogs and even foxes will avoid. It’s also known as the "pee-off plant" or the "scaredy cat" plant. It releases a stench that cats can’t stand. Other plants are lavender, pennyroyal, rue, garlic or Rosemary.
Spraying water on them will only deter them for that moment. Cats don’t think like dogs & humans, they don’t get the “he did that cause I did that” All they know is you sprayed them & it won’t stop them coming back.
Other things cats hate are citrus, cinnamon, lemon grass & tinfoil.
Hope this helps.
Any cat will become distressed when trapped, be it wild or tame, trust me.
Cats absolutely hate citrus. It actually makes them gag! They find it about as pleasant as we find pig slurry!
So, sprinkle some torn up orange or, better still, lemon peel!
Sprinkle some citronella oil around too? It's not particularly toxic, smells nice and cats hate it.
Also consider placing some realistic looking teddy bears around in view of the garden. Cats assume these are animals and steer clear.
Borrow a dog for a week or two. That will also clear them off.