UK viscount suggests muzzling your cat when they go outside

Viscount Monckton, a peer of the realm, sitting in the House of Lords, UK, has suggested that cat owners should muzzle their cats if they are allowed outside as his father suggested years ago. He said: “Muzzling cats will not hurt them. Many dogs are muzzled when they go out and about. Muzzling stops cats from hurting and killing birds as well as baby hedgehogs, rabbits and other small mammals”.

Viscount Monkton
Viscount Monkton. Photo: Wikimedia Commons – Matthew McDermott on Flickr.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

I’ve never heard of muzzling domestic cats before. Have you? I’m not sure it’s practical. I can foresee a lot of problems with the suggestion. Certainly, a domestic cat would detest wearing a muzzle. Yes, they would get used to but I guess and if you train them to wear one when they were very young it would be easier but it’s going to cause an awful lot of problems such as scratching themselves trying to get it off.

Viscount Monckton was commenting on a recent study published online about domestic cats in the UK killing 270 million animals every year. It is another one of those studies which criticises the domestic cat. Most of them come out of Australia where there is a campaign to keep cats indoors and to kill all feral cats in the interest of protecting small native mammals and marsupials primarily.

I wrote about that study recently which you can read if you want to back ticking on this link.

RELATED: Noticeable, brightly coloured, cat collar protects birds from cat predation

Viscount Monckton has written an article for the Daily Email. I get his argument. I understand the need to protect wildlife. And I don’t like domestic cats killing wild animals. I hate it but, as they say, it is part of nature. And there are some benefits which people like Monckton rarely mention such as keeping down rodents. Most domestic cats kill rodents such as mice. I don’t like to see that either because I like mice but a lot of people don’t and the primary target of a domestic cat is a mouse.

And there is another point which the study mentions. Dr. Tara Pirie, says that there is an indirect impact on wildlife by the presence of a domestic cat wandering around outside: it affects the behaviour of wild animals. It might reduce their feeding through heightened vigilance. A cat’s presence might deter them from nesting. What she is saying that there’s this rather subtle impact on wildlife which may have a negative impact upon their ability to survive. I understand that too but I’m not sure that it is a genuine problem. It’s about the number of domestic cats allowed outside and this number is reducing year-on-year because of the pressure imposed on society by these sorts of studies. Can owners are gradually understanding the impact of their cat on wildlife.

Although, another study found that the primary reason why cat owners keep the cats inside as to protect their cat not wildlife.

Viscount Monckton writes that “Muzzling cats will not hurt them”. I’m not sure that this is true. Has anybody, anywhere tried to muzzle a cat for several hours? I don’t think anybody has. For a start there are no muzzles made for cats. As mentioned, I can visualise a cat pawing at a muzzle incessantly to try and get it off. This may lead to self-mutilation. I think Monckton is being naïve.

Cat predation worries many
Cat predation worries many. Photo: Shutterstock.

Monckton believes that “muzzles are a simple solution”. I just don’t see it being a simple solution. For a start the UK is going to have to create legislation to compel cat owners to put muzzles on cats. And then law enforcement is going to have to enforce that legislation. Both of these objectives are impossible to achieve. Therefore, the muzzle idea is dead in the water.

Monckton is a climate change denier. He doesn’t believe in global warming which goes against the views of hundreds of scientists and hard evidence. He has also been described as a homophobe but I don’t know if that’s true or not. But to deny climate warming I think is poor thinking. He is a bit of a character judging by his biographies online. He’s outspoken which I don’t mind but this muzzle suggestion is born out of poor thinking.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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