Should Cats Have a Curfew?

Cat eating bird she has caught

Moggies are Murder on Local Wildlife

According to Chris Packham presenter of BBC’s Springwatch in the UK, cats are murder on natural eco-systems and a cat curfew might be an effective way to reduce the problem.

Hmmm. I can think of quite a few things that are having a much bigger impact on the environment than the local moggies wreaking havoc with the wildlife – like oh, gas-guzzling cars, deforestation, use of poisonous, gene-warping weed killer… you know little things like that.

I would think that in many places preventing the cats from hunting at night would allow the local rodent population to explode. In his article Mr. Packham pointed to the effect of cats and rabbits on Australian eco-systems however Australia has other problems like the invasion of the black rat; source of some of the worst diseases affecting humans and thought to have had a devastating impact on native wildlife.

There is no question that cats do have a major negative impact on local bird and small mammal populations and that this is not good. It is not only that cats kill the birds and small mammals themselves but they are also competing with native hunters like foxes, owl or hawks for this food.  But would Mr. Packham’s solution work at all when the number of stray and feral cats vastly outnumber those with home to go to? Would it not be more effective to concentrate efforts into a trap/spay/neuter campaign that would ultimately reduce the numbers of cats both in  shelters and living wild?

So what do you think? Should cats have a curfew?