Well fed Cats Still Hunt and Kill
There are nearly 4 million pet cats in Australia. Cats are present in just under 30% of Australian households and there are 15 pet cats per 100 people living in Australia.
Did you know the most common name for male cats is Charlie and for female cats its Bella (Dr Philip Roetman - Cat Tracker 2017).
Research by David Paton(1993-1998) revealed that pet cats kill on average 8 birds, 8 reptiles and 16 mammals per year. So multiply that by 4 million pet cats you get a staggering 32 million birds, 32 million reptiles and 64 million mammals per year. It was also noted that these cats were well fed and well cared for by their owners.
None of the above data includes feral cats which are a known problem in bush areas.
Cats are predators and have an innate instinct to hunt and kill even if they are not hungry. Hunting is simply a part of a natural behaviour and cannot be easily changed. Studies by Paton (1993) and Barratt (1998) showed no significant decline in cats killing their prey due to wearing a bell.
Another study found that cats that were allowed to roam at night killed more mammals, whereas cats that roam during the day caught more birds.
Management of Cats
Cats don’t need to roam. If their basic needs are met, cats enjoy longer and healthier lives when safely contained to the property. A growing number of councils are now enacting laws requiring cats to be kept on their owner’s property. This appears to be a growing trend.Serious problems can happen if cats roam outdoors, particularly at night, around 80% of accidents involving cats happen at night. Roaming cats can:
- Get hit by cars.
- Be injured in fights
- Catch fatal diseases (such as feline AIDS)
- Become lost.
- digging and defecating in their gardens.