The importance of bells and curfews
That cute little complimentary bell on your cat’s collar isn’t just to tell you where Felix is hiding, just like it alerts you to when kitty is about to pounce on your toes, it plays an important role in warning native fauna that kitty is about to pounce on them.
It’s completely natural for cats to want to predate upon other small animals, it’s in their instinct to hunt and capture small prey. In the wild this is a necessary practice, their survival depends on it. Not only do we not want our domestic cats having to catch their own dinner, as an introduced species it’s imperative to the future of our native fauna that they don’t. But telling a cat not to chase and catch something edible is like telling someone to stop breathing. It’s an instinct that’s hard to fight, so to limit the damage our beloved pets have on our native fauna, a few easy steps can be taken.
Firstly a bell on your cat’s collar means that amazing stalking and pouncing skill set they possess is hindered. It’s hard to employ the element of surprise and sneak up on your prey when you jingle!
Secondly, curfews are important, most councils and shire’s will have some sort of curfew in place for cats. The main focus usually being on overnight, not only are most cats naturally more active at night, they still have features that make hunting at night not only possible but relatively easy. This coupled with their desire to be out and about doing things means that our nocturnal fauna (of which there are many) are far from safe. Unlike birds who can fly away and out of reach when they hear the tinkle of your cat’s collar it can be hard for small marsupials and mammals to outrun an agile cat. So when your cat naturally wants to hunt and when their favourite prey are naturally out and about it’s important to keep them separate.
On the Mornington Peninsula the council has a 24 hour Cat Curfew, this is broken into two parts. A 12 hour curfew overnight where cats must be confined to inside and a 24 hour confinement curfew. The 24 hour confinement curfew refers to ensuring your cat remains on your property at all times. For a natural wanderer this can be difficult, some pet owners employ the use of cat enclosures, some will use special fencing or even netting. Whatever you use to keep your cat in your backyard it may not be enough to also keep native fauna out. Although your yard may comply perfectly with the 24 hour confinement curfew, it is still important to bring your cat inside at night.
By feeding your cat a well-rounded and quality diet you can ensure that they do not hunt for sustenance. They may still want to flex their hunting muscles so to speak, you can encourage them to use these skills in play and activities, for more information and ideas on how to keep them entertained click here. Keep your cat happy and well fed, all whilst keeping local fauna safe!