Keeping your cat indoors at night can be a simple yet effective way of reducing the number of small mammals it kills.
Bells on collars
Some studies have found that bells may reduce the hunting success of pet cats. However, elastic or poorly fitted collars can cause injury to cats.
Adding a neoprene bib to a cat’s collar interferes with its ability to pounce, which may mean it catches fewer birds.
There is some evidence that attaching an ultrasonic device to a cat’s collar may warn potential prey of its approach.
Place birdfeeders about 2m from thick vegetation to prevent surprise attacks by cats, while giving birds an escape route.
Allowing your cat to ‘hunt’ prey-like toys might reduce its motivation to kill, but this hasn’t been scientifically evaluated.
Keep your cat indoors / build a catio
Many conservationists say that domestic cats should be kept indoors completely, so as to protect wildlife. Some indoor cats are provided with a catio, which allows them to go outside whilst also stopping them from catching wildlife.
Those in favour of keeping cats indoors point out that alongside saving wildlife, this protects cats from getting into fights with other cats, being run over by cars, being stolen, and being injured or killed by other animals (such as dogs or coyotes).
Main image: Domestic cat. © Liz Turner