BBC News reports that cats are responsible for the deaths of between 6.9 to 20.7 billion (with a B!) mammals a year. Scientists from the Smthsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) advise that their study suggests that cats are the top threat to US wildlife, with more animals dying at the claws of cats in the US than in road accidents, collisions with buildings or poisoning. Stray and Feral cats were killing three times as many animals as pet cats, however owners could do more to limit the impact.
Dr Marra said: “We hope that the large amount of wildlife mortality indicated by our research convinces some cat owners to keep their cats indoors and that it alerts policymakers, wildlife managers and scientists to the large magnitude of wildlife mortality caused by cat predation.”
Whilst owners can help reduce the success rate of their cat hunting by adding collars with bells, it should also be remembered that a successful cat deterrent strategy should be employed to keep the animals out of your garden and help provide a refuge for birds and other animals.
As has been noted in previous posts, one of the most important actions you can take when it comes to deterring cats from your garden is the removal of a cats previous spraying; cleaning away their messes and urine is an important step as cats love to return to the scene of their previous crimes. Whilst washing away with water or a mild bleach solution can help, a more effective solution can be found in a newly available product called Urine-Off Cat & Kitten Urine Cleaning Spray. Available in 500ml trigger spray bottles it promises to not only remove the odours of Cat Spray, by also other odours also. A worthwhile addition to your cat deterrent arsenal.
Our favourite ultrasonic cat deterrent has undergone a name change and packaging revamp – don’t worry though, it’s still the same piece of kit made by the same manufacturer! STV are updating all of their repeller and deterrent products in line with their new image. I always thought Big Cheese was an odd name for a cat deterrent anyway!
As mentioned in a previous post an important part of deterring cats from your garden is securing your perimeter – an effective method of doing this is to put security spike cat deterrent strips on your fences, as this is one of the most common ways that cats will get into your garden.
Most types of security spike strips come in a variety of colours and are made of weather resistant materials such as polypropylene. The plastic spikes are designed to provide maximum discomfort and minimum harm.
The ones I use consist of 3 rows of spikes per strip (half a metre long, 4.5 cm wide, 1.5 cm tall) which I find just perfect for my fence. The strips consist of 2 hinges allowing you to affix them to angled surfaces easily. This also make them easier to cut them into 3 x single spike strips suitable for the tops of thinner fences. You can either screw, nail or glue them into place.
If you are serious about keeping cats out of your garden you should definitely consider picking up some.
There are many ultrasonic cat deterrents on the market, but the Big Cheese seems to be the one which gets the best reviews.
This Sonic Cat Repeller uses a Passive Infra Red detection system, constantly monitoring a fan shaped area of a 98 degrees arc up to a distance of 12 metres. Any animals moving into this area trigger a burst of continuously variable ultrasound, which sweeps a frequency range of 18,000Hz – 24,000 Hz to repel them. There is a test button on the device which drops the frequency into audible range so you can check it is still working.
It also incorporates an LED indicator to indicate when the device is activated
The device is powered by two 9V alkaline batteries, although a mains adapter can be purchased separately.
Battery power is conserved by the PIR detection system, which allows the unit to remain on stand-by between activation periods, therefore maximizing battery life.
A couple of things to consider:
If you can’t use a mains adaptor for this device you might want to invest in some rechargeable batteries, otherwise you might find it expensive in the long run
Cat owners looking to keep their cats in their own garden might want to take a look at something called Freedom Fence.
Freedom Fence™ is a cat deterrent system for keeping pets within the boundary of a property using a low frequency radio signal. If a pet equipped with one of the receivers approaches the boundary the collar will beep to warn the animal to move away. If it does not, then it will receive a small ‘correction’ similar to a static electric shock you get from touching a car door in summer. The correction doesn’t harm the animal but is uncomfortable enough that it doesn’t want to repeat the experience, and the pets soon learn, within a week or so, which areas are no-go. If you know of anyone who are trying hard to keep their pets from wandering too far away from home it might be worth mentioning to them.