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Secret life of domestic cats revealed BBC2 9pm

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


RolloTheRed Report 13 Jun 2013 15:17


~Lynda~ Report 13 Jun 2013 15:29

I'm not a cat person really, but just been hearing about the programme on the radio, sounds intriguing, they were saying that they found out more about cats than was previously known.


AnnCardiff Report 13 Jun 2013 15:37

I've set it to record - it's a series - apparently they have cameras following cats around at night to see what they get up to


BarneyKent Report 13 Jun 2013 15:47

No need to be a college professor or track felines with specially adapted cameras, I could have told these experts years ago what cats do. They are basically a wild animal and their instincts tell them to leave their own territory to defecate, preferably in someone else’s well tended garden, and also to stalk and kill birds and other wildlife.

Being a bird watcher, I cannot stand cats but before emotions enter the debate, (as always happens when discussing feline domesticus), let us look objectively at the subject.

In a recent “Birds Britannica” show, the presenter said that cats were responsible for killing 50 million birds a year. Immediately cat lovers declared this figure to be ridiculous and “plucked from the air” by wild life organisations. But let us look at the figures with our brains instead of our hearts and this figure is quite feasible.
There are an estimated 10 million cats in the UK, (based on government figures). Admittedly some cats will not hunt birds but but if we say the average is only 5 birds per cat per year, (which is one bird per cat every 10 weeks), then 50 million bird kills a year is certainly not a fantasy figure plucked from nowhere.

I have had my say, off you go cat lovers! But no mud slinging please, let us have a serious debate.

(And keep your cat off my garden, let it do its business in your own patch).


~Lynda~ Report 13 Jun 2013 16:08

Staffy, maybe you will see something new, if you watch the programme that you didn't know :-D
On the radio programme I listened to said we will learn something new about cats.

Cats are predators, I know a couple that kill rabbits frequently, but I look upon that as being nature, it seems cruel. I don't like seeing cats catch birds either, but they eat worms and insects, that's nature too as I see it.


Sue Report 13 Jun 2013 16:20

Its all part of the food chain. Birds eat worms, but no one ever says poor little worm. :-D :-D
Will definitely be watching it, just the sort of thing i love.



BarneyKent Report 13 Jun 2013 16:22

Thanks for keeping the debate emotion free - but I still don't like cats.


George Report 13 Jun 2013 16:29


Before I moved to an high rise apartment free from cats, I lived in a cottage with a garden that at one time also was used as a toilet by bloody cats.
Some batty old woman who lived up the road had loads of them, well I purchased one of those electronic devices that send out some kind of high pitched noise that gives the unwanted pests ears a bashing, worked wonders, garden free from dirty cats.
It is an American device that one can get from the net.



BarneyKent Report 13 Jun 2013 16:49

I had one a couple of years ago George but after about 6 months the cats must have got used to it - back they came and as I was weeding I got a handful of cat pooh UGH!

What I would like to know is, If I let my dog roam free, to defecate in the street or playing fields without bagging it up, or enter and dig up a neighbour's garden, I would (quite rightly) get prosecuted. Then why is it OK for irresponsible cat owners to be allowed to let their animal roam wherever it likes other people's gardens?


jax Report 13 Jun 2013 16:50

I love cats and have one...She does not go out so does not kill birds or poo in anyones garden....I wish something could be done about these pidgeons that seem to live in my garden that make a mess all over my washing and garden furniture.

There was a series on a while ago where they followed cats around a villiage, my cat used to enjoy that and would jump on the TV stand to get a closer look :-D


BarneyKent Report 13 Jun 2013 16:51

Thank you Jax, I wish other cat owners were as responsible as you. And I agree - pigeons are a serious pest, they are no more than rats with feathers.


RolloTheRed Report 13 Jun 2013 17:06

The hi pitched anti-cat sound devices are ILLEGAL for the very good reason that human beings up to the age of 20 can hear them all too well. For babies they create real distress.

Some people have tried using them to make gangs of kids on street corners etc go away, not come in their shop etc. Several court cases established that they are illegal.

If you don't want cats in yr garden there are several plants which they dislike. They also strongly dislike pepper.


BarneyKent Report 13 Jun 2013 17:13

Why should I have to go to the expense of buying plants or go to the trouble of spreading pepper all over my garden just because irresponsible cat owners will not keep their pets on their own property?


RolloTheRed Report 13 Jun 2013 17:33

The commonly bandied about figure that cats kill 50 million birds each year is indeed fantasy concocted by the same RSPB which saw to the extermination of the harmless and beautiful ruddy duck.

The Horizon program found that domesticated house cats rarely kill anything while on their nightly prowls let alone birds.

Cats like to bring their prey home for approval, as a gift. "Owners" have a rough idea as to what they catch even if they would rather not know.

Birds are a big ask, they are intelligent, quick and paranoid. Cats can only really go for them when they are old, sick or injured when nature will always soon finish them off anyway.

Some birds also like to eat other birds, their young and eggs. Leaders in this are small falcons, gulls, jays, herons.

A farmer friend in France has a large rambling place with lots of swallows ( hundreds), woodpeckers, harriers, red kite, redstarts etc. One of the cats hates birds, the other doesn't care. In 10 years the bird hating cat managed about 2 or 3 birds each year, the other nil. They did catch a lot of mice, voles and even some moles.

Here in England one of my cats has caught nothing at all in 3 years. The other ( very big, 10kg) in 5 years has caught no birds, but a lot of slow worms, frogs and a toads which he somehow brings in alive and unhurt. I always release them though catching the frogs can be challenging.

The animals which really do threaten our feathered friends are (1) human beings (2) grey squirrels (3) mink (4) coypu. The last two should be exterminated as a matter of urgency. IMHO the GS too.

Human beings are damaging and removing bird habitat wholesale both in cities and the countryside, that is why the numbers of many are crashing, not cats.

The smoky dirty London of my youth was full of birds, cats dogs and horses and interesting people. Now they have all more or less vanished. So in many ways has London - PP and LaGooner will not what I mean. The least likely person you will meet in the Portobello Road is a Londoner. Still I digress.


BarneyKent Report 13 Jun 2013 17:47

Sorry Rollo, the figure of 50 million is entirely believable. Your cats may not catch birds but most do. Where I live, at the present time not a day goes by without the distress call of a blackbird as one of its fledglings is stalked by a cat. And the evidence is there to see, pitiful traces of feathers are to be seen every morning.

Lets look again at the figures - 10 million cats, half of them have good owners like yourself and their cats don't kill birds, but that leaves 5 million cats which do. If each of these catch one bird a month, then 5 million x 12 = 60 million bird deaths. And that you must agree is an entirely feasible scenario.

I am not talking about the predatory habits of humans, squirrels, mink and coypu, they are separate issues to the one under discussion, cats and their disgusting faeces being deposited in MY garden.

And I ask you again, why should it be ME who has to go to the trouble and expense of trying to keep other people's cats out of my garden?


Annx Report 13 Jun 2013 18:40

Rollo, sadly the birds most cats go for are the fledglings like Staffyknot has just mentioned......they don't stand a chance. A neighbour across the road once told me how lucky I was not to have all the 'gifts' hers brought home. She was really shocked when I told her a lot of her cats' kills didn't make it to her home and were 'enjoyed' on my patio instead.!! So you see owners may have no idea what is being caught.

I have liked some cats in the past as they caused no damage, left the plants alone and didn't toilet in my garden. At a previous house I would have a week's worth of 'coils' to clean up off my heather bed every weekend........saying they bury it is a joke as these were held aloft on the heather plants!! With the diseases, worms and parasites they can carry, it isn't fair that this is dumped on other people's gardens for little children to find. Why can't owners have outdoor litter trays for their cats? I've heard some owners grumble that their cats have 'asked' to be let in only to go and use the litter tray!! Sensible cats I say!!

I think the programme should be interesting for some owners to see just what does go on at night.


maggiewinchester Report 13 Jun 2013 19:48

I have a giant litter tray in my garden for my cats - a barked area!!!

True, some cats kill some birds - but you'd also be hard pressed to find many live mice or rats in my area :-D
I believe rats predate chicks - killing a whole nest rather than the one fledgling a cat may get.
An awful lot of rodents have ended up on my kitchen floor - well their heads, spine, tail and liver have. :-(

Maybe it's bad for the cats to kill rodents - a good blast of poison to pollute the neighbourhood may be better - that way we can ensure hedgehogs are slowly killed in an agonising manner too!

I also haven't had any crane flies for years - the cats spent 2 springs killing every blooming one that came in the house. I believe that is to the advantage of many a gardener - no more leatherjackets - but no doubt the cats are still a pest.....

I have 3 cats. One tends to go for rodents, one occasionally (about 3 times a year) brings a bird home - and I know this as he insists on plucking his kill on the stairs.

The other cat 'kills' hair ties!
Though she did bring a live dragonfly home in her mouth once.
I knew it was alive as it was facing into her mouth, she had the end of it's tail held in her lips - and the dragonfly was fluttering it's wings - there was an amazing noise coming fron the cat!!
I said 'hello' to the cat, she meowed back at me and the dragonfly flew off.

Mind you, I did find 2 dead birds in the garden last week, one a young pigeon, the other a largish brown thing. Both had fallen from nests, or flown into windows - broken necks .....

When I got home from work, there was a thrush on the garen table.
Slightly concerned in case it had been injured, I went into the garden - and it flew off. So much for opportunist cats..


LaGooner Report 13 Jun 2013 21:32

Loving this and so is our youngest cat a 2 year old Siamese/Bengal cross. He has hardly taken his eyes off the screen :-D


MarieCeleste Report 13 Jun 2013 22:05

Will have to watch this on Iplayer and, as a responsible cat owner, make up my own mind.

LaGooner - I've got two Siamese/Bengal crosses (brothers).


LaGooner Report 13 Jun 2013 22:09

We have 4 cats, 1 Black American shorthair the old lady of 16, fenix a very norty torty of 10, Tigger a ginger abysynian of 6 and Chico the cream coloured cross who is 2 in July. Last 2 are owned by my youngets daughter but they are lodging with us at the moment