Cats are natural predators and have a general curiosity towards other animals. Cats are built for hunting. They can climb, swim, dig, see in the dark and have amazing camouflage ability. They are silent predators with sharp claws, slinky athletic build and powerful sharp teeth. Being largely nocturnal hunters, cats may travel for several kilometres at night in search of prey.
Unfortunately, native wildlife fall victim and many birds, reptiles and marsupials suffer agonizing deaths. Feral and owned cats have been responsible for the extinction of entire populations of wildlife. The image below is a cat that has killed a Brush tailed Phascogale.
Photo credit The Australian Newspaper, June 02, 2014 .
Call it a night
There are a couple of simple reasons why it is much safer to keep your cat inside at least during the night:
- Cats hunt mainly in the night
- Most cat fights also occur at night
- Your cat will be exposed to diseases like feline AIDS and feline Leukaemia
Cats often cannot be trained not to hunt as their instinct is strong. The best solution is to keep cats contained within a purpose built cat enclosure or indoors. This keeps your cat safe as well.
Wild and feral cats will hunt for food and enjoyment. Hunting is their only food source, so a necessity for survival. Even the best fed cats have a predatory drive and actively look to seek a thrill kill. They will usually hunt alone but some breeds of cats hunt in packs to ensure a catch, as their livelihood depend on it.
Learn more about stray and feral cats
Tips to keep wildlife and cats happy
- Keep your cat inside, at least at night when native animals are most active
- Build an outdoor cat enclosure or walk your cat
- Provide a safe environment for wildlife in your garden by having separate areas for pets
- Build a cat proof boundary to keep your cat safe and stray cats out
- Add a collar with bells for your cat
- desex your cat
- Never feed a stray cat if you don’t intent to keep it, call the council or a rescue organization
- If your cat caught a native animal, please take it to a vet, it might have injuries you can’t see and often they will need antibiotics if they had contact with the saliva of your cat.
New Research Suggests Outdoor Cats Kill More Wildlife Than Previously Thought
Overview of the impact of feral cats on Australian native fauna (University of Sydney Institute of Wildlife Research and School of Biological Sciences, 1996)
Threat abatement plan for predation by feral cats (Department of the Environment, 2015)