Cats and birds

Subject: Cats and birds
Date: Thu, 09 Nov 2000 22:36:26 +1100
Thanks to all who replied to my posting about designs for cat
runs/enclosures. Here are the positive ones sent to me or the

"For an alternative design for a cat-run, there are details of
how to make one in either the current, or the previous issue of
the magazine Grass Roots.  If you can't find it in the local
library, Going Solar on Victoria St. Nth Melbourne stock

"Jenny Young gave an interesting talk on Cat runs at the last
Queensland Meeting at the Qld Museum. she handles a brand called
Catnip.  Her phone no is 07 3807 0807. They are made in Stawell
Vic. Ph 1800 639 998" 

And "We have 5 cats which commute from inside the house to their
"Catnip" modular park via a cat flap in the back door. Modular
cat parks do not consist of "enormous cages" as one writer
Effectively these parks are made up of any number of towers,
walkways, toilets, beds, etc. Our catpark is landscaped to
disappear into shrubbery, has plenty of sunny and sheltered
spots and our cats spend much of their time out there. We live
in Somers, Vic and welcome anyone to come and have a look.
Contact numbers for Catnip Modular Pet Parks:-
Freephone 1800 639 998
Phone 03 5358 4555
Fax 03 5358 4550" 
"Ken Maling" <>

The above phone nos., apart from the toll-free one, differ a
bit. You can see what it's all about on their website, which has
photos and ideas and contacts with local installers:

And as a reminder of what stimulated my message:

" ...suggesting they think of building cat runs. I'm posting it
to the list in the hope the idea proves useful to other cat
owners/bird lovers. A friend of mine did this with her Siamese -
an incredible Houdini as well as bird-killer - adding cat 'toys'
in strategic places. She did this in a small backyard and on a
minimal budget. What's more, the cat is happy. Recyclable
materials work as well as new."

I'm still looking for my leaflets about cat enclosures, given to
me by Pauline Reilly in 1995.  Pauline used to live near my
current home and wrote the first local Sandringham bird booklet,
helped form the first Phillip Island penguin research group,
became President of the RAOU, writes books for children about

The second local bird book was edited by yours truly and
published 15 years later. Of the common birds in Pauline's
booklet, Yellow Robins and Yellow-rumped Thornbills had
practically gone and Flame Robins and Blue wrens survived in low
numbers - all ground-feeding species. The book included
Victorian state government estimates that pet cats kill c.29
million vertebrates a year, and feral cats another 104 million. 

About 25% of these would be birds. See David Paton's article in
The Bird Observer (no. 696, April 1990) and 1994 report by Reark
for the 
Pet Information Advisory Service (funded by the pet food

On the basis of the figures in these two reports and from other
sources I estimated cats would kill between 1 and 300 times the
number of birds successfully fledged in my (urban) area.  It
therefore seemed likely they would, at best, be creating niches
for introduced birds. On the other hand, about 50% of cat kills
are rodents (mainly introduced and including predatory rats and
possums). The remaining 25% of vertebrate kills would, on
average, be reptiles and amphibians.  We have, I guess, no more
than 500 frogs left but skinks and geckos survive in all sorts
of nooks and crannies.

Of course we also have foxes, cats kill bird predators, and
historically there would have been predators like quolls. But
there is enough evidence for me to feel glad that the PIAS
report said cat ownership was declining by about 10% per annum
and a very high proportion of cat owners had their pets

Let's spread the news about enclosures, recognising that cat
owners are becoming ever more responsible day by day.

Michael Norris
Hampton, Vic.

Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU