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RVN shares tips on cat and wildlife-friendly gardening
Lawn areas in the garden provide space for interactive games.

Nicky Trevorrow offers ideas and inspiration at BVNA Congress. 

“It's not likely to be cats causing the major declines in our bird populations,” noted Cats Protection's behaviour manager Nicky Trevorrow, speaking at BVNA Congress on Saturday (2 October).

When it comes to cats and predation, “cats are being used to deflect the real issues of habitat loss and pesticide use," she said.

Continuing on BVNA’s 2021 Congress theme of sustainability, Nicky's passionate and insightful lecture offered practical tips for creating an outdoor space that is both cat friendly and wildlife-friendly. The session also provided some advice on feeling confident when advising owners on putting wildlife gardening into practice.

On the principles of wildlife gardening, Nicky quoted the adage: “if you build it, they will come" - adding that this could not be more true than when encouraging wildlife into your garden. According to the RSPB, gardens provide a really important breeding habitat for house sparrows, starlings, greenfinches and blackbirds, all of which are currently in decline. 

Nicky began the session by sharing some ideas and inspiration for cat-friendly gardens – from planting trees and shrubs for shade to lawn areas for interactive games. She also highlighted the importance of giving cats somewhere to hide, adding that this is something many owners do not provide.

Commenting on the design of a cat-friendly garden, Nicky suggested the addition of elevated spaces that allow resident cats to view their territory from above -  be that planting extra trees or perhaps creating a balcony. She also suggested installing railway sleepers or wooden posts, which are not only fun for cats but give them somewhere specific to mark their scent.

After setting out some of the common garden hazards faced by cats, including lilies and pesticides, Nicky shared some tips on creating a garden that is both fun for cats and attractive to wildlife. Among them include:

  • creating a cat-friendly garden with height - having a solid wall behind elevated spots provides the cat with safety.

  • planting buddleia, catmint or other perennials. To prevent felines from damaging young catmint plants, cover the plant with a mesh hanging basket and allow the plant to grow through it.

  • building a small pond or fill a tub with water - research by the RSPB found that creating a pond is one of the best ways to encourage nature to your garden. Cats also love to drink from ponds!

  • avoiding pesticides in the garden. Don't use harmful pesticides such as slug bait. Leave it to nature (hedgehogs) to control garden pests instead.

  • promoting fishing rod toy play. A recent study by the University of Exeter found that owners that play with their cats for 5-10 minutes a day using a fishing rod toy can reduce predation by 25 per cent.

Nicky concluded the session by looking at the future of cats and predation, adding that neutering (from the age of four months) is one of the best ways to control the UK's cat population.

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RCVS Fellowship applications open

News Story 1
 Applications have now opened for RCVS Fellowship 2022. The RCVS is encouraging anyone who would like to be considered for Fellowship to apply, and if successful, they will be welcomed into the Fellowship next year.

The process for joining the fellowship has changed slightly for this year, as applicants will now need two signed referee forms instead of three professional references, and five assessors will review each application instead of three.

The deadline for applications is 14 February 2022, and more information on how to apply can be found here. If applicants have any questions, or would like informal advice from previous successful applicants, they are encouraged to contact Ceri Via Email 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Horiba announces veterinary haematology webinar

Horiba Medical has announced a free webinar providing practical insight on best practice in veterinary haematology. Entitled 'In practice haematology - Beyond the pale!' the webinar will be presented by Ronnie Barron from the University of Glasgow Veterinary School.

Ronnie's presentation, which will conclude with a Q&A session, will look at QC and artefacts of sample quality and review the effects of different pathologies. Using images, photomicrographs and video links, he will also explain the techniques and equipment needed to complement analytical automation to confirm results quality.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, October 28 (7.30-9pm). For more details and to register, click here.