Thirty-four percent of British gardeners hate cats. The same percentage of gardeners hate aphids (plant lice). This is one of the findings, and an unsurprising one, from a survey conducted by the BBC Gardeners World Magazine.
I say it is unsurprising because gardeners hate anything that they believe will spoil the appearance of their garden. They believe that trespassing cats mess up their garden by defecating and peeing on it. That observation is mine. It does not come from the survey.
We are told that another reason why gardeners hate cats in their garden is because they prey on wild species which the gardeners like, such as birds. Eighty percent of gardeners stated that they provide food for birds. Eighty-eight percent plant certain plants with the intention of attracting and encouraging wildlife to their garden.
One aspect of gardening is to foster wildlife; to create a wildlife sanctuary. Clearly the domestic cat is excluded from this noble plan.
The most hated “pests” or unwelcome creatures for a British gardener are rats, then slugs, vine weevil, snails, greenfly and placed sixth are cats and aphids.
It is sad to report that the survey tells us that the cat has become progressively hated by gardeners over the years. There has been a 5% increase in hatred of the cat year on year.
This indicates to me that there are more gardeners who are serious about their gardening or gardeners have become less tolerant of the “trespassing” cat (legally cats don’t trespass although I am sure gardeners wish they were so they could sue their owners). Perhaps another factor is that humans are damaging wildlife; dramatically forcing down populations of certain species. Humans then pass the buck for the problem to cats.
Personally, I find the results of the survey depressing. I don’t want anyone to hate cats because people who hate cats present a danger to cats. Gardeners might be tempted to harm cats and it would not surprise me if some of them surreptitiously poisoned cats to eliminate them from the area.
Is this high level of hatred of the cat by British gardeners a good reason for cat caretakers to build a cat-proof barrier around their garden i.e. turn their garden into a large enclosure?
I would not be happy knowing that my neighbour hated cats while allowing my cat to wander into his garden. It’d be a recipe for a neighbour dispute and cat injury.