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Should all cats wear a bell-collar?

According to statistics, there are 8.1 million cats in the UK that kill 275 million “prey items” per year, with 55 million of those thought to be birds.

A book about the destructive impact of domestic cats on wildlife has sent fur flying, setting its authors at loggerheads with British conservationists over whether the country’s moggies should be kept under house arrest.

The book, Cat Wars, calls for the activity of cats to be controlled in a bid to conserve global wildlife and prevent the spread of infections and diseases such as toxoplasmosis. “From a conservation ecology perspective, the most desirable solution seems clear – remove all free-ranging cats from the landscape by any means necessary,” the authors write.

Author of the book, Dr Peter Marra, told radio listeners yesterday that cats are “cuddly killers”, and need to be stopped.

The view of cats as murdering menaces is shared by many, including the broadcasters Chris Packham and David Attenborough, who have previously called for owners to keep their pets indoors or kit them out with bell-collars to help prevent them hunting garden birds.

What are your views? Does your cat catch and kill birds or wildlife? Do cats, as natural predators, have a vital role in the food chain? Should cats be kept in at night? Should all cats wear a bell-collar to warn birds? 

Should all cats wear a bell-collar?

286 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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jandal33
28th Dec 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
As a cat owner I think a bell has limited uses. A well fed cat which is kept in at night is less likely to hunt birds, yes some breeds are natural hunters. But the average Moggie would prefer its food came from the fridge rather than up a tree. A bell might scare the pesky rats and mice away.
Phil G
5th Nov 2016
0
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What is the point of having a cat if the mice can hear it coming?
Angelina
30th Oct 2016
0
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I used to put collars with bells & identity tags on all my cats. At least one of them injured a leg when she got caught up on something. Others have lost umpteen collars & tags & my oldest cat still has a bald neck from wearing collars. In my experience bells on collars are not effective at stopping bird kills so I no longer use them & never will again.
Cats have always been used to kill vermin on farms etc. The reason that one of my cats can catch birds is that some of my neighbours feed birds on the ground making them easy prey for any hunter. If they were fed on a bird table or feeder then my cat would not be able to catch them so ban feeding birds on the ground!
poppylady
20th Oct 2016
2
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I should have added ---- buy a collar. PLEASE.
poppylady
20th Oct 2016
3
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My Husband and I feed the birds regularly round our home and find it I distressing to see other peoples fat ,well fed cats killing them , not for food but for fun .You enjoy your animal help us to enjoy the natural world around us and stop your cat killing for fun.
jandal33
28th Dec 2016
0
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Keep a hose handy for the visiting cats. They soon get the message
mojudsav
2nd Oct 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
What about birds that kill birds? We have witnessed crows picking off adult Greenfinches from their nests, also Magpies killing both adult and young thrushes. We have grey squirrels that pillage nests of eggs and chicks, we also have a female Sparrow Hawk that feasts on the numerous pigeons around here, thankfully keeping the numbers down. We have lots of problems with mice and rats that have got into our loft and caused mayhem, eaten through the wiring under our deck and a mouse that got into the garage and ate the wiring in my car - it cost me 350 pounds to have it re-wired. How I wish we had a cat! Not that it would solve the mole problem in our lawn! We're now thinking - Semtex!
mikeboots
14th Oct 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Hi cats kill the old and the young rats and mice,try mothballs in your mole run .rats and mice carry disease, cats and dogs that hunt them can catch and spread these diseases give them to you.
Wilf
17th Oct 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I think the issue is that birds killing other birds is natural-unfortunately thats life-but cats kill a huge amount of birds that would not be killed if they were not there
Myrna
30th Sep 2016
2
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I really adore cats and see no reason not to have them as domestic animals. They bring immense pleasure to people especially the lonely. However I have seen first hand what they can do when hunting, they cant help it, it is in their nature. I think they have to have something noisy on them to warn other animals that they are nearby. But if it is a collar it has to be a slip collar so that if they get caught on anything they do not get strangled and choke to death because they cant get free.
Lionel
23rd Sep 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
Forget the urban versus rural aspect that's a red herring.

Bea, very sadly you are so wrong. But I'll leave it there!
bea747
23rd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
All collars are easy-release and if a few cats get killed, well that's life, the majority don't and in any case what about birds don't they have a right to life free from being predated by well fed pets? Forget the urban versus rural aspect that's a red herring, farmers do not have a divine right to the countryside and they have messed it up enough anyway. Shooting wildlife does not make you a better person than anyone else or any more intelligent.
Lionel
22nd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Perhaps it's time for some non-urban reality here. Just forget Packham and Attenborough, they're media nonentities.

We interfere with the normal balance of nature to our eventual cost. Blair and his metropolitan elite banned fox hunting - you might have noticed none of them had ever witnessed a fox hunt so their law was flawed at a primary level. So much for sofa government!

Since fox hunting was banned we in these very rural areas have been inundated with foxes. They kill everything in sight. I just shoot them!!

Now we have another 'expert' telling us to cull feral cats. Let me tell you good people, when you have an expert's opinion the only problem you have is the expert!! They're nearly always wrong.

Cats, feral or otherwise, keep vermin under control. Here, in deeply rural Suffolk, I shoot vermin. We deal with the vermin problem ourselves but rely on feral cats as the main support.

As far as cats are concerned leave them alone. They do a good job.

An earlier poster said farmers are far more to blame for the loss of wild life. After most of my life out here in the wilds I can only agree. If you only knew what was done to the stuff you call food, well, starvation would be so common. And all this is deleterious to wild life.

Let's leave well alone. There'll be a disease coming along which wipes out cats when they get too numerous, just as there will be with humans. Just standby, there's more of us than the planet may support.
Munsterlander
22nd Sep 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
You see I don't agree with this at all. Cats are not natural-wild birds are. get the bells attached to the cats I say (As you can see from my profile I am a dog lover anyway!!!!)
Lionel
23rd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Munsterlander, for once I don't quite agree with you. I too am a dog-man; had Collies all my adult life but I've had cats too when there was a need for them. They do a good job with vermin. But there is a problem....

...Cat owners are not so ready to neuter their animals and thus they breed, four litters of four a year. Over an eight year breeding life that's 128 cats added to the population. Too many. But that's the responsibility of the cat owners. One may not blame cats.

My point is, whenever man intervenes in the natural cycles of nature it usually goes horribly wrong. By all means insist cats are rendered unable to procreate - we do that to humans too - but a cull would be a draconia measure, the outcome of which could well be like Blair's anti-foxhunting bill.

But in practice, in the remote areas I've lived, ans atill do so, Westminster is of little relevance. We just carry on as we always did. There'll be a Michaelmas fox hunt at the end of the month. Tally Ho!. love all the red jackets and bugles sounding. The dogs are a sight for sore eyes.
AnnHar1
22nd Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
We always had safety releases on our cat collars, they often came home without them but never any injuries from wearing them. We always got them with the biggest, loudest bell that we could find too. We have no cats now but if I was ever tempted to get another it would definitely be a house cat as I don't like other cats from the neighbour hood coming to into my garden to do their business. Neither do I like them the killing birds that I encourage to be in my garden! Our cats had litter trays in the house and they also used a patch at the back our garden as a toilet too, so I felt, at the time, that they were doing everything at home. I am not so sure now with the amount of cat mess that I have had to deal with when gardening so now I have cat deterrent paint on the top of my fences and other substances on my pebble gardens to keep them away!
knitienora
18th Oct 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
I do agree with AnnHar1so fed up with peoples cats digging in my garden ,always,always were i have planted or just dug ,nothing i do seems to stop them.
wigsywoo62
22nd Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
All cat collars are quick release or elasticated... One or the other . The amount of birds killed by cats is a good reason why cat collars are made including bells ... Such a shame people remove them
Munsterlander
22nd Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
I totally agree. It should be made law
Christine59
22nd Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I live in the country and was inundated with rats and mice until I got a cat. No bells or collars, they can get caught up in their collar, I stopped using one years ago when I found my cat with a broken leg due to her collar being caught in a branch and in her ensuing struggle to free herself she broke her leg.
Lionel
23rd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Well said Christine! I spent most of my life in remote areas and never, never have I put a collar on a cat. Actually, I don't even have leads for my three Collies.

Let 'em do what God intended. When we try to micro-manage these things it always gos wrong!
Christine59
23rd Sep 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
I have a collar and lead for my spaniel but only really use them when taking her to the vet, in town.
Margareda
22nd Sep 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
I think it is dangerous for cats to wear any kind of collar as they could strangle themselves (and often do!) Unlike dogs, they are usually free to wander in all kinds of potentially hazardous situations where the collar could become entangled.
Leo41
22nd Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
We are loosing song birds by the thousands,I know cats are not responsible for all the deaths but they do a lot of damage.
Lionel
23rd Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
So do present day farming practices. I know, I was a part of it.
JoyceSteele
22nd Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
To protect our small birds....sure I would help
JohnHerb
22nd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
It was on TV this morning and I have often thought how cruel it is for cats to wonder and kill birds. Maybe they could have a little strobe light on their collars that warns birds of them being around. Something needs to be done
Lionel
23rd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Elle69
22nd Sep 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
Yes cats catch birds but they also catch and kill "undesirables"
Wilf
22nd Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
I think that all cats should have a bell on them like Swiss cows maybe to let birds know they are around. I am sure there is a modern way to do it. To have an estimated 55 million songbirds in the UK killed each year is a national disgrace. Why should they be killed just because we have a certain type of pet-cats? I often see cats prowling round and near our bird feeders
bev297
22nd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
A bell on a collar would not warn a bird that a cat was approaching. Birds are only alerted by the cat it's self. One of my cats wearing a collar unfortunately throttled itself and died when it fell we found it hanging between a fence. There are other predators that kill birds not just cats.
Wilf
22nd Sep 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
Yes but they are by far the worst killers of birds Bev
Lionel
23rd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Lionel
23rd Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
Wilf, I beg to differ. Agricultural pesticides account for much more than bird deaths. Even Glyphosate, the weed killer, is lethal to birds and we spray that on our weeds quite liberally!
Wilf
24th Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
I do not know the facts Lionel about pesticides but I agree they are harmful. My point is if cats kill 55m birds per annum thats wrong and we need to stop it. We are killing wildlife
Kitty2215
22nd Sep 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
Yes they should be microchipped but that doesn't let birds know that they are so wearing collar with bell will
tegfan minnie
22nd Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
We always put collars with bells on our cats and my son and his family have just taken 2 kittens and they have got bell collates on even though they are house cats and won't be going out.
Autmnchase
22nd Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
No they should not wear collar and bell - I have had cats all my life and have not had a problem with the cats hunting - I have bird feeders in the garden also nest boxes .. which are a joy to watch all year round
Yes cats do catch birds - mice etc but that is in their nature - they are not the sole objects of the decline in our wildlife population - I think farmers have to some degree not helped wildlife - ploughing directly after harvest for next years crops- years ago they left the fields awhile giving wildlife food for the winter - they plough right to the edges of fields very rarely leaving a leaving a margin to grow wild ..
Then we have the scrubbing out of hedges to make fields larger and hedge cutting is done at the wrong time of the year leaving little room for birds to nest etc ..
So NO I think that our cat population is just fine as they are ....
Alicia
22nd Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I entirely agree with you.
Lionel
23rd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Common sense, rural common sense, at last!
Terrysoldgal
22nd Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
Yes, all cats should wear a collar and bell to alert the bird(s) that they are in the vicinity. Millions of birds are killed every year by cats and many of our native species such as thrushes are in decline. Our gardens could be a safe haven for some birds to help compensate for loss of habitat and the bells alerting them to their presence would just help them to avoid these feline killers.
joanmac
22nd Sep 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
I have a Ragdoll and she has a bell on her colour and is chipped.
Alicia
22nd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
No, they should not wear a collar and bell, they should be microchipped.
JohnHerb
22nd Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
Yes but that will not stop cats killing birds and thats what we need to stop. Its not fair on wild birds
Alicia
22nd Sep 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
My cat does not kill birds.
Marley444
22nd Sep 2016
5
Thanks for voting!
I am not a cat owner, however our neighbours are. We have nesting boxes and feed the birds in our garden on several feeding stations, and there is nothing more upsetting when one of their cats makes an attack on 'our' birds! We have seen several killed this year and it infuriates me! Yes I think ALL cats should wear a bell-collar. I know hunting is a natural instinct but at least the prey would be aware of these stealth murderers!
AnnHar1
22nd Sep 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
I was a cat owner but I honestly believe that they should be kept in, they are by the thousands of people who own them but live in flats. In fact the eldest of ours belonged to our daughter who, when she moved out, took him with her. We worried that he wouldn't adapt to living in an enclosed environment but he took to it like a duck to water!! He died last year aged 17 (a long life for a pedigree cat) and was happy to the end. Ours never seemed to kill birds, probably because of the large bells on their collars!! they did bring in frogs, mice, voles etc most of which were still alive I might add!! and on a number of occasions the eldest brought in live, small bats! All of these creatures were returned to the outside and seen on their merry way.

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