Cat lovers responsible for 60 million deaths

A great headline and it's true, according to Chris Packham, the new eco punk on the block who is taking over from Bill Oddie on Springwatch and presumably enjoying watching Kate Humble's blue tits as much as we do.

According to Mr Packham:

"Sixty million songbirds are killed every year by cats. If cats were kept in at night, predation would be cut by 50 per cent."

He even manages to get a bit political:

Since New Labour came to power, between a third and two thirds of our cuckoos, swifts, pied and spotted flycatchers, nightingales, turtle doves and wood warblers have vanished from these shores

I assume he knows what he is talking about.

I don't understand this nation's obsession with cats. I am not a great cat lover, and anyway I am very badly allergic to them. I am certainly not a fan of cat owners who pretend that "he never goes on the table/bedroom/kitchen counter". I have been tempted in the past to say "Mind if I do a poo in a tray on your kitchen floor, tread in it and then walk on the dining table?"

A far better way of keeping felines is to follow the good advice of the long-established website, Bonsai-Kitten. It's clean, efficient, space-saving, non-allergenic and fun!


Anonymous said...

Ha ha the alley cat is the best !
I see you're also fed up with cats.
The apologists for cats say that they're only doing what comes natural by killing all our garden birds. But surely 7 cats in my little row of houses is way above ' natural'. Cyclops Brown should be persuaded by a Joanna Lumley type to make cats wear a bell or something to at least give the birds a fighting chance.
Does anyone know how to keep cats out of gardens ? The neighbours cats keep digging up my veg/ flowers etc. I've got a pellet gun but couldn't handle the neighbours fury if I was caught shooting their cats. I've tried those sonic devices etc. Hopeless.

On KFC. Yuch. Way too greasy. And it's going halal aswell now so, like Subways , are off my list of junk food shops to visit.

I enjoy reading your blog and have it in my bookmarks now. I think you and 'subrosa' would make a nice couple ; )

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thank you anon for your kind words. Please come back and comment again when you want to.

Ruth@VS said...

Ha, ha, very funny!

This was a topic of discussion on the PM blog yesterday too, and it is rubbish to say cats kill loads of birds. There is no empirical evidence on the subject.

I do have cats, yes they do give me lots more cleaning to do but I have to say they are often better company than most men...

As to how to keep cats out of the garden, the best solution is to get a dog, a big one!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thanks for dropping by again Ruth.

Never seen a cat with a half dead bird in its mouth?

Anonymous said...

I'm not too keen on dogs either. All that mess to clean up. Erk.
There may be no empirical data on the number of birds killed by cats but it must be pretty high. I see about 3 birds killed each season so there must be more killed when I'm at work etc. Multiply that by 20 million gardens and common sense says we're getting near to 60 million. Plus it's distressing hearing the cries of the mother as the bird is used as a plaything by the cat. Surely it's not too much to ask that cats have a collar and a bell. It would give the birds a bit more warning of an attack.

Ruth@VS said...

Thanks to you both.

Actually, my cats have only ever brought one (unharmed) bird home alive in ten years, so no, I have never seen a cat with a dead bird in its mouth.

I live in a semi-rural village surrounded by woodland and fields. In my immediate neighbourhood there are 15 cats and no, I have never seen one with a bird in its mouth either - our cats seem to hunt mice and shrews only. I wonder if the more bird-eating cats have migrated to the towns with the foxes?

I have seen small birds killed by sparrowhawks, and a mistle thrush which fell out of its nest was crushed by a car last week, but I do see more bird casualties on the roads than in the mouths of cats! And I do a lot of walking, birdwatching, nest recording and staring out of my window when I should be earning a living!

My point about the evidence is that the so-called "figures" are based on statistical calculations which are themselves based on assumptions, e.g. all cats hunt, all cats hunt birds, etc.

Now I am sure that some cats kill some birds, no question, I just want the figures to be based on something other than guesswork. I believe there is a survey being carried out this year which is designed to answer this.

I don't put my cats out at night, by the way, as I am sure you realise I am very responsible.

Now I really need to go and get a life...