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How Do You Stop a Cat from Eating Lizards?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
My cats like to chase things, like most cats. But I want them to stop chasing lizards. A couple of my cats have eaten them and, of course, got sick. I hoped that it taught them not to eat another one, but one of my cats did eat another one. She is fine now - not sick anymore. But I know it was the lizard that did it. How can I get them to stop chasing lizards? Or at least stop eating them after they catch them?
post #2 of 20
If you find out I would love to know too.
Coco catches and eats about 2 per day unless I can get to them first and throw them out of the screened porch.
post #3 of 20
meow and boy does that pretty often... i usually would just catch them in time to make them spit out the lizard....
post #4 of 20
Lizards are small, moving objects and cats are going to chase and catch them. We never get any in the house but, if one is on the patio or climbing the screen, my cats go crazy. Rowdy gets really PO'd because Pearl is outside and catches them and doesn't share!
post #5 of 20
You could move to California. I have never seen a lizard where I live
post #6 of 20
LOL Sicy!
post #7 of 20
The only sure way of preventing a cat from preying on other animals is keeping the cat indoors and the animals in question outdoors. It's practically impossible to somehow "train" a cat not to hunt.

Moving this thread to the behavior forum.
post #8 of 20
Lizards are a very important part of our ecosystems. Domestic cats are seriously wiping out the natural creatures and birds that keep our environment in balance. I would do everything you can to prevent this killing. some things I do are:
a collar with multiple bells
keep her inside at night
keep her inside during the day as much as possible
check on her often - if she has caught a creature, sometimes it is possible to rescue it and set it free - then bring the cat in.

although I am an extreme cat lover, I feel guilty and sad about the impact cats are having on the natural environment. Let's all do what we can to reduce this impact.
post #9 of 20
Believe it or not, bells don't work. Birds and other critters don't know that bell equals cat. They simply hear the bell and go on with their day. If they could make a bell that sounds like a twig snapping, that would work!
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by martyR
Lizards are a very important part of our ecosystems. Domestic cats are seriously wiping out the natural creatures and birds that keep our environment in balance...................although I am an extreme cat lover, I feel guilty and sad about the impact cats are having on the natural environment. Let's all do what we can to reduce this impact.
The main culprits behind the upset of our ecosystem is urban sprawl and man made pollution. Cat's like every other animal, are hunters, and part of the food chain. They are doing what is natural, not like the humans in the same equation.

I do agree that if you know that your cats are getting these lizards and becoming sick, keep your cat's inside. Or you can leash train them and take them for supervised walks.
post #11 of 20
Good point Kass, and one I agree with. The cats that are feral and not being taken care of are not usually able to hunt the rodents and lizards and birds, not enough stamina to keep going. It is man, and pesticides that are the culprit more than cats, but cats get to be the scapegoats for this problem. God knows, you can't run the agricultural industry out of business- better to blame cats.
post #12 of 20
In reply to the two previous messages:

Bells do work. I have been advised by our bird rescue center to use them. The key is to hang at least two bells - that gives the bird or creature a split second fair warning. My cat has not caught a bird that I know of since I got the collar and she always brings them home when she gets them, so I would know.

And sure - urban sprawl is a terrible culprit, but that doesn't get us off the hook for the huge domestic cat population that we contribute to. I'm sure most people on this board are responsible people that spay their pets and don't let them go feral, but that is why it is incumbent on us to do our very best to protect the wildlife.

The number of domestic cats in this country is NOT "natural" by any definition.

I don't want to start a fight about this - I love cats and could not live without them. I just want to promote awareness of the impact our cats make. when I read "my cat brings in two lizards a day", I am horrified at that impact times how many million??
post #13 of 20
Cat predation, and predation by ferals, is often used as an argument for banning trap/neuter/return programs and for implementing mandatory cat registration laws. However, if you look at what information is available closely and critically, it becomes apparent that there is no data to support the idea that cats have critically impacted wildlife populations in any manner, except for in isolated ecosystems such as islands.

Please keep in mind that cats are obligate carnivores, and must eat meat to live. They don't do it because they are bad or because they like killing, but do it in order to survive. It's us humans who have given it the emotional weight it has(to paraphrase Ellen Perry Berkeley). And when you say that it's bad for cats to kill birds (or mice or rabbits or whatever), you are placing more worth on the lives of those animals than cats. A more neutral stance is to say "Cats hunt. That's life."

I am aware of several studies which show that belling does not reduce a cat's effectiveness as a hunter (I don't have the references here at work, but if you are interested, I can send them to you when I get home). There are also multiple studies that have shown that when the cause of death of prey animals are compiled over time, cars and urban sprawl almost always rank over cats. Other species that are predators of birds include dogs, rats, weasels, foxes, and believe it or not other birds such as crows and jays.

As for your second point-yes, we humans are responsible for the large number of stray, abandoned and feral companion animals in our country and ours. But we are scapegoating them when we blame them for the decline of songbirds or other prey species, when it has been shown over and over that humans are the main cause behind the decline. One example off the top of my head concerns San Francisco. San Francisco is known for having well-maintained feral colonies in the parks around the Golden Gate Bridge. At one point, the number of birds in the park began to decline, and people started demanding that the colonies be destroyed. It was eventually discovered that park re-landscaping (which removed a lot of the places where birds liked to lay their eggs) was the sole cause of the decline. Also, the fact that humans have greatly reduced the number of large carnivores (such as coyotes or wolves) means that there are more ecological niches for smaller predators to exploit. So does that mean we should now kill off the smaller predators, or should we admit we made a mistake when killing off the large predators?

I have done a good deal of research on this exact topic for the website Stray Pet Advocacy (www.straypetadvocacy.org). Within the next week or two, I hope that my article on feral cat predation will be up on the site. I invite you to come and read it.
post #14 of 20
It is SO nice seeing that some people agree that completely wiping out large predators in most areas wasn't such a hot idea. My step daughter (15 and lives with her Mom) started hunting last year. I've had more than one debate with her about it. Her main argument being that if deer aren't killed they would overpopulate etc etc etc. Yes, I patiently reply(over and over and OVER) but that's because we've killed off all the natural predators. She doesn't like that arugment at all. We've actually ceased to have that conversation though. I've been vegetarian for most of my life, and she claims to truly enjoy killing things(I think it's more her yahoo boyfriend than anything) so I just hold my tongue. It was causing way to much friction over something that isn't going to change anyway.
post #15 of 20
Here is some research from the University of Wisconsin about the millions (in one state alone!) of birds and small mammals killed by domestic cats. Again, I am a cat lover, but I feel we cat owners must take some responsibility for their impact on native wildlife (which cats are NOT).

http://www.wildbirds.com/protect_cats.htm
There are about 66 million cats in the United States. 40 million are free to roam outside. This is not good news if you are a bird!

Cats are not a natural part of the ecosystem and compete with native predators.

Extensive studies show that approximately 60 to 70 percent of the wildlife cats kill are small mammals, 20 to 30 percent are birds, and up to 10 percent are amphibians, reptiles, and insects.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin coupled a four-year cat predation study with data from other studies, and predicted a range of values for the number of birds killed each year in the state. By estimating the number of free-ranging cats in rural areas, the number of kills per cat, and the proportion of birds killed, the researchers calculated that rural free-roaming cats kill at least 7.8 million birds and perhaps as many as 217 million birds a year in Wisconsin.

Well-fed Cats Do Kill Birds: Well-fed cats kill birds and other wildlife because the hunting instinct is independent of the urge to eat. In one study, six cats were presented with a live small rat while eating their preferred food. All six cats stopped eating the food, killed the rat, and then resumed eating the food.

Cats With Bells on Their Collars Do Kill Birds: Studies have shown that bells on collars are not effective in preventing cats from killing birds or other wildlife. Birds do not necessarily associate the sound of a bell with danger, and cats with bells can learn to silently stalk their prey. Bells offer no protection for helpless nestlings and fledglings

Cats are not ultimately responsible for killing our native wildlife--people are. The only way to prevent domestic cat predation on wildlife is for owners to keep their cats indoors!
post #16 of 20
You state one biased study. There are countless other studies out there that refute all these facts. Wild cats, ferals not in managed colonies, not fed on a regular basis do not kill birds or rodents effectively. Bells do not work- there is only one collar invented in New Zealand I believe that works and it is like an elizibethian collar just more flexible. It does stop bird predation, but puts the cat at enormous discomfort and risk. Birds don't know what bells are- so bells do not work. If you ever have seen a cat stalk a bird in the wild, they don't move fast enough to make a bell ring anyway. Most people do keep their cats indoors, at least on this board.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
I don't want to start a fight about this - I love cats and could not live without them. I just want to promote awareness of the impact our cats make. when I read "my cat brings in two lizards a day", I am horrified at that impact times how many million??
I could go outside right now and see about 100 lizards if I started counting them. They are definatly not endangered here in South Florida. I would rather my cat be able to go outdoors in my screened in back porch and enjoy the weather than worry about a couple of lizards. (I do try to stop her when I see her going after one.)

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by martyR
Here is some research from the University of Wisconsin about the millions (in one state alone!) of birds and small mammals killed by domestic cats. Again, I am a cat lover, but I feel we cat owners must take some responsibility for their impact on native wildlife (which cats are NOT).
As Hissy pointed out, this study is extremely biased. On top of that, there are several fundamental flaws in this study and any other study of its type. The findings depend on the location studied, the number of cats studied, the type of cat, and the study method used. The findings from one study, done in a rural area on a small number of cats, cannot be applied to a feral cat colony in a large city, or owned indoor-outdoor suburban cats. Also, extrapolations like the one mentioned in this study usually include a large number of assumptions that may be bad. First, only around 50% of cats hunt (Fougere, B. 2000. “Cats and wildlife in the urban environment-a review†Urban Animal Management Proceedings (http://www.ava.com.au/content/confer...00/fougere.htm). So, to take a number of kills and apply it to the entire population of cats is incorrect and misleading. Also, less than 10% of cats catch a large number of prey (Barrat, D.G. 1998. Prdation by house cats, Felis catus (L.) in Canberra, Australia II Factors affecting the amount of prey caught and estimates of the impact on wildlife. Wildlife Research. 25:475-487.). These mega-predators will artificially increase the average number of kills per cat, which in turn artificially increases the number of prey animals killed per year. Additionally, if the studies are done during the summer, when cats are more likely to be hunting (Woods, M., McDonald, R.A., and Harris, S. Predation of wildlife by domestic cats in Great Britain, Mammal Review) it will artificially increase the number of prey animals killed per year.

It is also interesting to point out that the American Bird Conservancy uses this last study to show that millions of animals are killed by cats yearly in Great Britain. However, the numbers that they use in their handouts are not those that the study found. Second, and most importantly, the ABC has ignored a very important and telling statement made by the authors: "Our estimates of the total numbers of animals brought home by cats throughout Britain should be treated with requisite caution and these figures DO NOT (emphasis added} equate to an assesment of the impact of cats on wildlife populations."

It's of utmost importance to be aware of the biases of people who use these studies to paint gloom and doom pictures of the effects of cat predation. One group, Cats Indoors! has been trying to get people to keep their cats indoors, mostly for safety reasons, but also for the sake of the birds. But how many people are aware that this group has been organized by the American Bird Conservancy? To me, their concern about cat safety is suspect, and wish they would be honest about their true intentions.

I fully admit I'm biased and don't believe that cat's have that great of an impact on prey species. However, I have gone back to the original studies that are quoted and cited over and over and have read them for myself. And when you go back to the original studies, you find that they have many flaws, are often taken out of context (see the above quote) and do not support the notion that cats are killing hundreds of millions of animals a year.

Once again, I'd be more than happy to send my reference list to anyone who is interested in investigating this for themselves. Or, check out www.straypetadvocacy.org in a few weeks and read my article.
post #19 of 20

I'm in California and my cat is always catching lizards and bringing them inside the house. I have to keep the screen door shut to keep her from bringing them in where I find them half-eaten.

post #20 of 20

I honestly don't think it's possible to get them to stop. They have such strong prey drives. The only way would probably be to find a way to stop the lizards from getting into your house, but I guess that's easier said than done. There are just so many small cracks they can get in through.

 

Call up your vet and ask whether your cats risk anything in particular by eating lizards, other than the usual problems with wild-caught food. If they don't, it could just be a matter of grin-and-bear-it, as it so often is with cats and their prey drives. If they do... well, I guess then you're back to plugging up cracks and trying to keep the lizards out. Or maybe your cats will eventually teach the lizards to stay away. The little buggers have to have some sort of survival instinct.

 

Look at it this way--at least your house has lizards and not mice. Lizards just eat insects; mice will try to eat your food, too.

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