Monday 8 January 2024

Amsterdam joins those municipalities introducing cat restrictions to protect wildlife

Although the world centre of domestic cat owner restrictions and feral cat eradication is Australia, the attitude of the Australians appears to be spreading to other parts of the world. The news, today, is that Amsterdam in The Netherlands is keen to introduce restrictions on domestic cat ownership and to alter their policy towards feral cats.

There is no doubt in my mind having read cat news articles for very many years on a daily basis that the attitude towards domestic cats has changed and continues to change. The direction of movement is restrictions on cat ownership and to, in some way, eliminate feral cats either as fast as possible or over a long period of time.

In Amsterdam a campaign and planning has started to encourage cat owners to:
  • microchip and sterilised their cats
  • keep the feral cat population to a minimum
  • no longer release feral cats under TNR programs to "ecologically vulnerable areas"
  • Ensure that owners place a bell or a collar around their cat's next to make it much harder for the cat to prey on wildlife particularly birds. Comment: the brightly coloured colour, an anti-predation device, is fairly successful (50% success) in warning birds of an approaching cat. However, bells are less successful because cats learn how to keep them quiet! Neither is going to work that well. And I can see difficulties in convincing a large number of cat owners to place a wide, brightly coloured collar around their cats' necks. It looks a bit peculiar and it certainly doesn't look aesthetically pleasing which is quite a big factor in the human-to-cat relationship because caregivers love the appearance of their cat. It is one of the important aspects of the relationship. I'm being negative but perhaps you might say that I am being realistic.

Research indicates that in The Netherlands domestic cats kill around 18 million birds a year. That is probably an estimate and we don't know if it is accurate.

At one stage, a Dutch organisation, Huiskat Thuiskat, applied to the court to try and force the government to prevent people from letting their cats roam freely unsupervised. It didn't work of course. Cats are allowed to roam unsupervised because they aren't a danger to people whereas dogs can be.

I'm told that there are about 2.9 million domestic cat companions in The Netherlands.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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