Keep your cat at home, urges wildlife writer

Abigail Tucker

Abigail Tucker

If you really love your cat, don’t set it free as they can and do hunt for fun, says Abigail Tucker, wildlife writer for The Smithsonian magazine.

“If you let your cat outside in an unsupervised way – even if it’s well fed on Fancy Feast or whatever brand of cat food – it’s safe to assume they are likely catching some prey animals.”

And keep in mind that cats can wreak havoc outside not only by killing native wildlife.

“Just the presence of a cat, even if it doesn’t kill anything, can change the breeding habits of birds and frighten them out of doing things they normally would.”

The best thing you can do to prevent your cat hunting is make your indoor environment as feline-centric as you can.

It can help to construct a catio – an enclosed space where cats can get some fresh air, feel the grass and watch things.

“You love [the cat], so you need to make it work. The way to do that is to bend your own environment to the cat’s will, essentially,” says Ms Tucker.

Ms Tucker was interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand on 31 August. It’s a fascinating 30 minutes, which you can listen to here.