British Gardeners Hate Cats as Much as Plant Lice

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.

Cat in a garden. Cats don’t know human boundaries. Photo by Jay Woodworth

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.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Well this survey is crazy...sorry but the top hate of gardeners is rats, cats were first placed on this earth to keep the rodent population down, so surely if every cat was kept prisoner, the rat population would escalate out of control.
    Cats have a purpose in life!
    I'm sick of the old chestnut that cats should be confined, why should they not have the quality of life they were born for? It only takes a sensible person to know that digging a patch of earth in our own garden and encouraging our cats to use it from kittenhood solves the problem.
    What a miserable world this is, when one species is picked on and maligned every chance cat haters get.
    Live and let live!
    We might as well say children should be confined indoors, they kick balls and trample gardens, dogs should be confined, they mess where people walk. People should be confined, they throw rubbish down and empty drink cans, they spit and chuck down chewing gum and cigarette ends.
    It's how the world is, so why always pick on cats? Maybe it's because they are an easy target, they can't defend themselves.
    'Peace on earth, goodwill to all men' that's a laugh, the sooner human beings are wiped off this earth the better.

  • As my cats have always been allowed the choice to go outside during the day, I do try to be a courteous neighbour. I wouldn't have a problem with anyone using a water pistol or humane deterrent to keep my cats out of their garden.

    My cats always have access to litter trays and I've designated a small section of the garden as a latrine area for them. They do regularly use their trays throughout the day, so I'm hoping they don't use anyone else's garden as a toilet.

    Perhaps gardeners don't realise that being a cat lover doesn't exclude people from caring about wild life too. I have several bird feeders in my garden and I put out food for them every day. I throw out uneaten wet cat food because I know that the blackbirds and hedgehogs love it.

    Free roaming cats can help tackle the gardeners no. 1 pest the rat.

    • I am not sure the survey is that accurate but there is no doubt that gardeners don't like cats trespassing. Good point about the rats. There is quite a lot of ignorance about the cat and its role in the ecosystem.

  • "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?"

    Correction: "Is this witnessed high level of negligent, disrespectful, and irresponsible behavior of cat-owners by British gardeners a good reason for cat caretakers to build a cat-proof barrier around their own yards i.e. turn their yards into a large enclosure?"

    It's the responsibility of those that want a cat to keep it out of others yards, not the other way around. Just as it would be the responsibility of someone who keeps their pet pythons and cobras out of everyone else's yard. Now if you want to spend the time and money needed to go around enclosing every yard that doesn't want your cat in it, go for it. Until then, there are far less expensive methods that everyone will eventually resort to when they've had enough of you not doing anything to keep your cat out of their yards--solving the problem permanently, once and for all. Most cats can be gotten rid-of permanently for less than 5-pennies per cat and using-up only a few minutes of anyone's time. Plus that cat can now act as valuable fertilizer for hedges and rose-bushes as recompense for you already wasting even that much of their lives in dealing with you and your cats.

    That's the price that most people are willing to pay to deal with your negligence and irresponsibility. You've already clearly proved that what you want in life doesn't deserve any more concern nor regard from anyone else than that because you've already shown everyone that you don't care about anyone else's life but your own in the very first place by not keeping your cat contained. So why should you be afforded more concern and respect than the zero concern and respect that you already give and show to all others? You don't. You give zero, you get zero.

    That's reality.

    • You are a twat and utter moron I live in the UK and believe me we do not and will never contain our cats. I have grown up as have generations of people here knowing that cats are a free spirit and always will be I will fight for this and anyone hurts my cats then look out because I will track you down.

      It is only mean spirited morons like you who have one or two chromosomes missing that are unable to live and let live. How would it be if I got sick of the precious wild birds that you feed shitting on my car waiting until they fly away from your property and then shooting them? Or maybe its that you wouldn't give a shit because you are so mentally deranged and sick in the head that you give not a damn for any living thing?

    • Ding, ding, ding Jimbo/Woody.
      You're not fully reading again and just inserting your own obnoxious way of life comments.

      • I never read any of his rants now, he is just repetitive and spiteful and a total waste of the air he breathes.

    • It’s the responsibility of those that want a cat to keep it out of others yards, not the other way around

      That is exactly what I am saying isn't it? I don't think your amendment to my text adds anything except to express your strong dislike of cat owners who let their cats wander. I really don't know what you are getting at as I have suggested that cat owners should keep their cats in a garden enclosure - meaning it is the cat owner's responsibility.

      It seems your dislike of me or this website has blinded you when writing your comment.

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