Sunday, January 25, 2015

Can lion dung deter #cats from your garden? Huh?

By Hertfordshire Mercury  |  Posted: January 25, 2015
Keepers Brian Badger and Jenny Bartlett with lion Zara

GARDENERS plagued by domestic or stray cats’ fouling need not look to their bigger relatives for a deterrence.
The debate rages on over whether spreading lion dung on your prize blooms really will protect them from the unwanted attention of your neighbours’ pets.
The cat welfare charity Cats Protection and the BBC's appropriately-named Watchdog programme reportedly back the theory.
There are even specially sterilised lion dung pellets available on the market claiming to offer protection for gardens beset by felines.
Where the theory originates from is unknown, but it holds that smaller cats are unsurprisingly uncomfortable in the presence of their big cat counterparts and on smelling the dung, make a quick exit.

It has also been suggested as a useful deterrence for other wildlife notorious for damaging gardens, such as rampaging badgers and deer, and even birds nesting in gutters.
However, an expert in Broxbourne is not so sure.
Lynn Whitnall, director of Paradise Wildlife Park has worked and lived with big cats for decades.
She said: “Whether it works or not, I couldn’t tell you.
“It’s a bit of an old wives’ tale that if you have a big cat’s smell, it will scare smaller cats away.
“It depends on how brave the little cats are.”
Whether you are convinced or not, anyone considering queuing at the park gates in White Stubbs Lane for a shovelful of poo will be disappointed.
“Some parks let people take a bit of dung,” Mrs Whitnall said.
“It was stopped by Defra during the foot and mouth crisis.
“We would let friends and family if they wanted to try it, but it’s not something we do on a regular basis.”

Instead, Paradise Park disposes of its not inconsiderable amounts of animal excrement in other ways.
Mrs Whitnall said: “We have to dispose of it ourselves.
“Some of it can be reused – some we can recycle back into manure, some of it is taken away by Defra licensed companies.”
Mrs Whitnall was able to offer some alternative advice to anyone with a cat problem, however.
“I have dogs,” she said.


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