News of Our Group, and Relevant News for Our Members

Sunday 21 February 2021

Meaty food reduces hunting by cats


Cat with bird prey

New research shows that cats hunt wildlife less if owners feed them a meat-rich food.

A study by the University of Exeter -

"Provision of High Meat Content Food and Object Play Reduce Predation of Wild Animals by Domestic Cats Felis catus"

  • Predation by domestic cats can be a threat to biodiversity and is a social problem
  • Providing high-meat-protein food and object play both reduce predation by cats
  • Rather than impeding hunting, these non-invasive measures reduce tendency to hunt
  • Cat owners might engage more with measures that benefit cats as well as wildlife
  • Confinement to the house and collar-mounted devices can impede cat hunting success and reduce numbers of creatures killed, but some owners do not wish to use them.

Exeter University tested novel, non-invasive interventions, alongside existing devices that impede hunting.

Households where a high meat-protein, grain-free food was provided, and households where 5–10 min of daily object play was introduced, recorded decreases in numbers of victims captured and brought home by cats.

For birds, good cat food reduced predation by 44% and Birdsbesafe collar by 42%, but collar bell, play, and puzzle feeding had no discernible effects.

For mammal prey, good cat food reduced predation by 33% and play reduced predation by 35%, but collar bell and Birdsbesafe collar had no discernible effects. Puzzle feeding increased numbers by 49%. So puzzle feeders are worse than useless.

Summary

Reductions in predation can be made by non-invasive, positive contributions to cat nutrition and behavior that reduce their tendency to hunt, rather than impede their hunting. These measures are likely to find support among cat owners who are concerned about the welfare implications of other interventions.

The full report is well worth reading and can be found HERE

 

Cat photo by rihaij