Cluck and Collect

 I may have mentioned before that we are plagued surrounded by houses run by cats. I say run by cats since it is abundantly clear that (i) humans exert no control whatsoever over their cats, (ii) cats do whatever they like, and (iii) cats have no affection for their human hosts other than as a reliable source of food. Our neighbour's cat (Photo 1) was 'picked up' as a stray quite a few years ago through the simple provision of regular meals.

Apart from their somewhat disgusting habit of leaving faecal deposits in other people's garden and the occasional disruption of my hot composting process, the local cat population is more of a nuisance than a pest because I have not seen any evidence that they are killing birds. If you are interested in how many birds are killed by cats (both feral and domestic) in different countries, then take a look here. [note: I have not checked the validity of these statistics but the 1 million birds killed everyday in Australia are based on peer-reviewed science]. For the UK, the resident 11 million cats (or maybe 12 million) kill 27 million birds during spring/summer (or is it 40-70 million every year?).

This morning, I looked out of an upstairs' window to find our neighbour's cat sitting, rather too comfortably (Photo 1), at the foot of the bird feeder (Photo 2).

Photo 2: Bird Feeder (minus cat)

Somewhat predictably, the usual bird activity (Photo 3) had subsided to zero.

Photo 3: Regular Starling Visitors

Was the cat waiting for his/her takeaway meal? Or, perhaps she/he had pre-ordered using click and collect?

The cat just ignored my gesticulations from the upstairs' window, so I had to go outside and shoo him/her off. The garden birds were back within a few minutes.

We've tried plenty of cat deterrents though nothing is 100% guaranteed. I suspect a dog might be the most effective but, while we are happy to look after the kid's pets for a few days (Video 1Video 2), they do limit your freedom and are a bit of a tie.

Video 1: Family Pet #1 (Son)

Video 2: Family Pet #2 (Daughter)

While cats can sometimes be useful (e.g. as a mouser), it does seem dogs have greater utility (e.g. sheepdogs, guard dogs, gun dogs, guide dogs for the blind and deaf, search and rescue dogs, police/military dogs, etc). Which reminds me of this comedic gem by Les Barker (RIP) called 'Guide Cats for the Blind'. Here is a YouTube video of the aforementioned poem:

Video 3: Guide Cats for the Blind read by Les Barker



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