Feral cats are a highly efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to chemical pest control

In 2019, Cats Protection in the UK had more requests than ever before from farmers to provide feral cats as pest controllers. They say that semi-feral farm cats are better than chemicals in controlling pest.

Feral cats on farms in the UK
Photos by Cats Protection. The top photo shows feral cats being trapped on a farm for neutering and relocation to other farms.
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In 2019 we had more requests to provide feral cats then we have ever done. – David Maners, co-ordinator of the Taunton and Wellington branch of Cats Protection.

In 2019, Cats Protection in Taunton and Wellington spayed and neutered 109 feral cats, 36 of which were living on a farm. They trapped and neutered the 36 cats over an 8 month period.

Half of them were relocated to other farms, smallholdings and stables for rodent control. It seems that they did not encounter problems with relocations. Sometimes it can be problematic relocating cats as they don’t like moving. You could add that when cats are relocated to stables their role might also include providing companionship for some of the horses. There are some amazing stories of cat-horse relationships.

Manners says that a lot of farms have a feral cat colony. But clearly they have to spayed and neutered otherwise where the was once a rodent problem they then have a feral cat population problem.

Cats Protection has seen an increase in the demand for feral cats from country businesses. They have placed more than 40 across the West and Southwest of England in Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire and Cornwall.

They get excellent feedback from the adopters.

We’ve had terrific feedback from smallholdings with big rat problems. Within a few weeks the rat population is zero, with cats doing what they do naturally, said Manners.

Comment: whereas not all feral cats are great at catching and killing rats – sometimes the cats are scared of large rats – they do deter rats which is as effective as killing them as the objective is to keep rats away. Some individual cats are exellent rat catchers however. It depends on the character of the cat. Feral cats are better than domestic cats. It is claimed that some domestic cats have lost their rat catching skills and confidence. Wineries are excellent homes for semi-feral cats as rodent controllers.

Source: BBC.


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