Oxford boffin defends 'killer cat' warning
A scientist says he never intended to harm cats after sending a letter to neighbours warning of "drastic action" if they were not controlled.
Dr Clive Mowforth, a research chemist educated at Oxford University, sent 100 leaflets to homes nearby complaining cats were "murdering" birds in his garden.
The letter said: "I do not see why we should have to put up with this menace.
"If you have a cat, can you please keep it under control? If we continue to be plagued by cats, drastic action will be taken."
Dr Mowforth, who lives in Dursley in Gloucestershire, addressed the leaflets to the "Cat Menace".
The letter included images of two cats who he said were the "leading killers" which had been caught on a special camera that records badger activity at night.
The letters left several neighbours concerned for their cats' safety.
When interviewed by Sky News, Dr Mowforth revealed why he had felt it necessary to write the letter.
He said: "Cats are going into people's private gardens. (They are) not a public space. (They are) private gardens. (The cats are) killing birds.
"(Garden owners) want enjoyment out of them, such as myself, so why should they have to put up with that?
"Perhaps (cat owners) want to think about keeping cats in at night, for instance, or think 'do I really want to get one - do I want a cat murdering wildlife in my neighbours' gardens?'"
Some neighbours living on Dr Mowforth's street said they were upset by the letters.
Louis Barfe said he was distributing counter leaflets in the area to make a point.
He said: "People who've got cats are obviously going to feel it most keenly aren't they?
"But everyone thinks 'what the hell's going on?' and I know I wasn't alone in reporting the note to the police."
John Green, who lives nearby and owns two cats, says it is impossible to "control" them as pets, like the leaflet demands.
"When I got the letter I just felt a bit put out about it, really. Cats are cats and that's what they do.
"Dogs have masters, cats have slaves, so yeah, I was a bit put out by it."
Dr Mowforth said the police had spoken to him on a "couple of occasions" and suggested that he did not distribute any more leaflets.
He also said he had been in contact with Gloucestershire Constabulary about threats he had received in response to his letters.
Dr Mowforth said some people had even contacted him to show their support over the issues he raises.
He says he is looking at "unharmful" deterrents for cats in his garden, but is also considering moving to the countryside in the future to live in a "less built up area".
"I would want to move to somewhere more rural, where there are fewer houses, and hopefully there'll be fewer cats," said Dr Mowforth.