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Cat Issues

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  • #14082

    Our hog has been out and about since mid March. The camera is recording up to 5 cats visiting the garden so we now feed hog in his house and have even built a feeding station that makes it more difficult for the cat to pinch the food. From recent recordings the cat is now spending a lot of time around the house on resting on top of it! Apart from the food, a wood mouse visitor is the other attraction. The cat(s) and copious cat poo is not!!
    What can we do to deter the cat(s) without affecting the hedgehog or the wood mouse. Does anyone know if the RSPB recommended cat deterrent would affect wildlife?
    The good news is that the hog is one of the three we had last year as he/she has some unmistakeable dark marks on his prickle coat.

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    Hi Paul

    I would be very cautious of cat deterrants, particularly if they are smell related – hogs rely alot on their sense of smell. I don’t know anything about the RSPB deterrant so not sure what you mean. But it might not effect birds but at the same time might effect hogs.

    The rodent electronic deterrants, for instance, some of which some retailers claim don’t effect hogs, seem to – and in reality I think they just don’t know, because they have not and probably could not do the tests. I suspect electronic cat deterrants might have the same effect. I had a rodent deterrant which used to be put out during the day and one night, I forgot to move it and I saw a hog visibly flinch and then run away from that area – since when I have been a bit more careful.

    It’s difficult to know what aspect of the cats is a problem. But if it is pooing in borders, then you could put lots of sticks in (i.e. stalks cut down from hardy perennials, etc.) to make it more difficult for them. The plants will grow up and cover them eventually. The hogs can more easily make their way round such obstacles. Its just an irritation to the cats, not guaranteed to keep them away, but might help.

    Re. the dark markings – I wouldn’t like to guarantee it’s the same hog – it’s possible it has just been artificially marked by the same person. People who mark hogs and don’t take the trouble to identify them naturally, could easily mistakenly mark a different hog with the same pattern. I have seen the reverse here, where one hog turned up with even more and different markings to those he had previously – but that was during the same hog year.


    Hello Nic.

    The cat is really curious about the feeding station and is able to get well in. I will make the entrance smaller to see if that helps. I have been trying different angles for the trail cam. From the natural black on the prickles there appears to be 2 different hogs. Are the black patches a reliable way of identification? I don’t think these are marks made by humans. I no longer mark hogs following your advice.


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    Hi Paul

    Some cats are remarkably persistent about getting into boxes. I have a couple which visit here. It’s difficult to understand how they can get in through such tiny entrances and then twist themselves round double backed corridors and still get to the food.

    My current set up, however, seems to be working. I have a perspex type sheet on top of flower pots filled with soil, just over hog height, but uncomfortably low for a cat to go far – this is a few inches from the entrance to the hog box, so there’s not room for the cat to get between the perspex and the box. A table over the top has legs blocking the sides between the box and the perspex. One cat did try to limbo dance under the perspex once, but looked thoroughly uncomfortable and seems to have given up. But even if one got that far, I don’t think they would be able to get into the door of the hog box – and haven’t so far. This set up can easily be moved out of the way during the day.

    I usually put some food under the perspex (for hogs that prefer to eat out of doors) and more in the hog box.

    It might work if you put a heavy obstacle right outside and the opposite side to the corridor (if it goes immediately one way or the other). I have noticed that the cats tend to enter at an angle in these circumstances and the obstacle would prevent them from getting into the right position.

    Personally, I think it’s unlikely that the marks on the hogs are natural, but may be wrong. If they are natural discolouration of the spines, I imagine they would grow again like that, similar to fur, but again, not certain about that. But I find that patches of differently coloured spines are normally only a very few spines and here they have always been paler rather than darker.

    The best way is to look out for other features of the hog, such as facial marks (stars, as in horse, cheetah type ‘tear drop’ type marks, etc.) whether skirt is darker than spines, has bars of different colours down it. Spines dark or pale in relation to other hogs, etc. Actually, when you start looking closely, there are loads of differences even down to colour or skin patterning on the hind legs as they disappear. I was able to identify more than 12 different hogs (plus hoglets) by that method for a few years, when I was studying them more closely. Of course other people marking the hogs makes it more difficult, because a pale faced hog might turn up with a dark face, etc., but there are often different features which indicate which hog it is.

    With hoglets they tend to change markings a bit as they grow so I usually had to re-assess them once they were adults re. markings.

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