A cat curfew in the Netherlands? Yes, if these experts have their way

The avondklok may be coming to an end next week, but now there is a call to curb the other dreaded c-word that is terrorising Dutch streets — cats!

It’s springtime, and you know what that means? Breeding season is upon us! Lots of little chicks and baby birds are waddling around. Unfortunately, many of these birds won’t be able to spread their wings for the first time as they are killed prematurely by domestic cats.

To some of us, cats are fine furry friends, keeping us company and providing much-needed cuddles in lockdown. However, the local wildlife will tell you a very different tale. To winged creatures, cats are fearless fury frights, killing up to 18 million birds a year in the Netherlands.

An end to nighttime killings

To try and put an end to this killing spree, experts are calling for a cat curfew. Ecologist Diny Tubbing told RTL Nieuws that “as humans, we can take this into account by keeping the cats indoors at night.” She agrees that cats shouldn’t be kept permanently under lock and key. However, she does suggest that keeping them inside at night will be beneficial to the Dutch bird community.

During the day, birds have a better chance against the frightful felines. Titus Sijmonsma of the Federation of Frisian Bird Guards (BFVW) tells RTL Nieuws that “during the day, birds hear and see a cat approaching. They give a signal or fly away.” However, he says that at night birds are more vulnerable to cat attacks in the dark while they are asleep.

What can I do as a cat owner?

Turns out, you can’t teach an old cat new tricks. Don’t try and un-train your kitty from being a natural born killer (even if it is a cute one at that). So what can cat owners do to help protect Dutch wildlife?

Firstly, if you’re presented with a bird on your doorstep, check to see if it’s still alive. It might be in shock, so keep it in a warm and safe place. Scheurkogel says to call an animal ambulance if you think it might still be alive.

Tubbing has some fun advice to try and stop cats from wanting to hunt in the first place. Play with them more! (no, seriously). Tubbing says that cats playing with a ball or a toy mouse can satisfy the hunting instinct, and tire them out.

TIP: Help out the birdies by fitting your cat with a bell on its collar. If your cat is a bit more feral and resists a collar, you can also hide its food in different places so it has to “hunt” for it’s kibble.

Do you think a kitty curfew would help out the local wildlife? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Feature Image: Leon Seibert/Unsplash

Chloe Lovatt 🇬🇧http://globeshuffler.wordpress.com
A British native, Chloe has a love for other languages and cultures, having lived in Spain before moving to the Netherlands. She is keen to explore the Dutch landscape, cultural spots and — the most important — food! After being here for a few months she already has developed a mild addiction to kibbeling.

6 COMMENTS

  1. If not for the sake of the chicks, that at least for my sanity. Listening to cats in heat and fighting all night haunts my dreams! And as someone who loves gardening but has been traumatized by having a very sick brother born with all types of cognitive and physical disabilities due to congenital toxoplasmosis, I would be thrilled if the cat curfew ment less chance of cats shitting in my flower beds. We went so far as to build REALLY raised flower beds for our veggies and herbs decked out with protective netting and everything so there is not chance of cats getting in. Pretty soon I’m going to be that crazy neighbor with barbed wire around my garden and a full security system just to keep cats out. Haha. I’m THAT paranoid about it. Especially while trying to start a family. I wear a mask and everything when I work in the flower beds and may stop completely once pregnant. And don’t get me started on our front yard. It is FILLED with cat shit! Makes for a very welcoming reception for the delivery personnel. I’m fairly certain at this point the neighborhood cats know I have issues with them and purposely shit in my yard.

  2. How many birds are killed by windmills? I would wager it is far, far more than the number killed by domestic cats, but nobody seems to care about that inconvenient truth.

  3. Definitely will help and otherwise or will help my night’s rest because cats are mostly fighting each other at night and they ones in heat can be terribly noisy add well so it would have several advantages keeping them inside at night.

  4. The urban enviroment is an artificial habitat created by us humans for us and our closest domestic companions. Dogs work for us and keep us company. Cats keep us company and keep our homes and food stores free from animals that spread diseases.

    Rats, birds, frogs and snakes to thrive outside our cities. If you like birds, buy a bird cage for your birds or visit a forrest.

  5. I wish! Not only for the birds but because I am exhausted every night when I take the dog for her final walk, that I have to constantly check – on windowsills, under cars, behind parked bikes etc etc- for cats. My dog is on a lead and as long as the cat runs away from us there isn’t a problem, but some of them are really aggressive and have even tried to follow us up the street. Others are not aggressive but think that by “freezing” on the spot they are safe. My dog has a high prey drive and I can’t see black or brown cats in the dark! If my dog gets too close, either she could seriously injure the cat, or if she gets scratched by the cat then she needs a trip to the emergency vet for antibiotics. I have my animal under control on a lead but i can’t control someone else’s cat and to be honest I find it bizarre in this day and age that cats are allowed to roam anywhere without limits. I really wish everyone would bring their cat indoors after dark.

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