In yesterdays blog, David Schenk asked us about how to legally deal with cats in your wildlife garden.
Well, in my experience there is no one solution that will provide you with the 'silver bullet'.
Now as a cat lover myself, I will not and never condone any method that is likely or potentially harmful to the well being of the cat. They are only doing what is in their genetic profile and that is hunt things that move.
In fact, there have been two recent additions into the Dyer household - a beautiful pair of Burmese kittens. Having had Burmese before, and with conditions in our lives that make it easier to care for them, they joined us just a couple of months back. They are not outdoor cats though - firstly for their own health and safety, and secondly for the wildlife that I offer a refuge and habitat to.
So first tip - don't add to your own problems.
Next tip is think about the physical environment. Study any feline intruders and see the routes they take - make it difficult with physical barriers where it is easy. Not always easy with their climbing capabilities.
So for example, my side gate is a wrought metal affair that the cats just walked through the gaps - well, I blocked it up with some perspex, carefully leaving a small hedgehog sized gap so any of those creatures can get in or out of the garden.
Next, where there are regular paths, over fences and by hedges, I have planted spiky hedgerow plants, such as Dog Rose, Holly and spiky Blackthorn. A good barrier, wildlife food friendly and good for butterflies as well.
Finally, we come to active counter measures and these include electronic, projectile and sound based techniques.
A few years ago, I bought an ultrasonic, PIR activated cat repellor - see link below. It runs off a 9v battery, although you can get a mains supply for it. These work well when sited carefully. Again, study routes and place accordingly, or place as a patch protection where you feed the birds.
You know when the batteries have run out as the cats appear again. Working at very high frequencies, usually out of the audible range of adults, they are also good for repelling small children as they usually have the ability to hear the sound. I guess it is the same as the Mosquito devices used at shopping centres.
I could do with buying another couple of these devices to give me wider protection.
You can also get a hand operated scarer that you can operate when you see something that you want to repel.
The next device is an old shoe - throw it up the garden but make sure you miss by a long way - as I said, I do not condone the use of anything that would be cruel or harnful.
I have also found just the action of throwing nothing works as well with some cats - as they don't know you don't have something in your hand
The other useful technique is to run towards them clapping your hands - they will soon work out that you don't want to stroke them and clear off.
One other device we use on our own cats to let them know that we dont want them to be climbing the curtains is to put a small handfull of gravel in a little plastic drink bottle and shake it. It is a good behaviour modifier. Again, this works at quite a range too.
I have tried using the cat repellant gel that you can put down but it was pretty rubbish, and a waste of money for me.
So to summarise, you need a large 'armory' of tools to help you.
Hopefully, some of these tools might work for you, and at no suffering or cruelty to the cats.
Let us know if you have any good techniques that work for you.
And finally, thanks for the comments from yesterdays blog - questions are always welcome and we will answer as best we can.