A FRUSTRATED gardener from Dursley has had arson threats from cat-lovers after warning he will “take action” against moggies which killed birds in his garden.
Dr Clive Mowforth, 57, leafleted cat-owning neighbours with pictures of dead birds in his garden which had fallen victim to their pets.
In his letter he said "drastic action" would be taken if the problem persisted - provoking a storm of protest.
Speaking to the Gazette however, Dr Mowforth said the "action" included netting and lion dung to put off the pesky felines.
The chemist said he used to see large numbers of birds but as the cat population has increased, bird numbers have fallen.
"Up to ten different cats visit the garden at all times of day and night," he said.
"This summer we have lost numerous blackbirds and wood pigeons to cats but the death toll has begun to escalate.
"In the last week alone, cats have killed a jackdaw, a blackbird and a house sparrow. I was watching the sparrow whilst eating my dinner. She was sat quietly enjoying the food in the evening sun when a cat leapt right onto the shoulder-height table, grabbed the bird and ran off. This was the final straw.”
Dr Mowforth leafleted nearby households with pictures from video surveillance of the worst offenders, asking cat-owners to control their charges and said that action would be taken if the problem persisted.
"This has led to numerous complaints to the police and RSPCA, and the extreme elements within the pro-cat brigade have threatened arson," he said.
"The bird table has been put away until the first set of deterrents is in place.
"I don’t see why I should have to pay to protect the birds in my garden from cat-owners who simply let their pets roam free. If a dog went into a neighbour’s garden, dug holes, left excrement and killed wildlife, all hell would be let loose.
"I expect to have to spend hundreds of pounds over the coming months."
Whilst the RSPB estimates that cats kill 55 million birds every year they do not back control measures.
"This seems amazing to me," said Dr Mowforth.
“I suspect this is a political decision designed to appease members who own cats."
Dr Mowforth said that legislation is needed to ensure all cats are micro-chipped and wear an audible device to warn of their presence.
He also thinks that owners who choose to let their cats roam free should be subject to the same rules as dog-owners and be made responsible for the actions of their pets, adding "In the longer term there needs to be a widespread neutering campaign to bring down the size of the enormous cat population.
"I have spent over a decade converting my garden into a paradise for birds.
"But despite being close to woodland I see few birds these days and those that do venture to my lawn, pond and bird table run the risk of being killed by cats.
"Changes in agriculture and habitat loss have had a dramatic effect on bird numbers but locally cats can also have a big influence."