Red squirrels on your doorstep

Kintore resident Mike McSwayde looks at an issue close to his heart – the survival of red squirrels in Kintore and the threat he believes to be posed by cats.

We have an amazing variety of wildlife on our doorstep, which is being placed under increasing pressure, none more so than our lovely red squirrel.

In the woods next to Cedar Wood live a small family of red squirrels that can often be seen feeding in the back gardens bordering the woods.
Only 120,000 red squirrels remain in Scotland, around 75% of the total UK population. Scotland is one of the only havens left for red squirrels.

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Squirrel feeding on kitchen windowsill

It is sad to note that neighbourhood cats owned by Birch Wood residents have been seen attacking and consequently killing red squirrels by a number of neighbours. On two separate occasions the RSPCA has had to be called out to attend to red squirrels attacked by Cedar Wood residents cats, sadly the two injured red squirrels sustained serious injuries and were humanely put to sleep.

The red squirrel needs our help if it is to survive!

How to help if you are a cat owner
  • It is a sad fact that some domestic cats do catch and kill red squirrels, particularly in March/April & July/August when the squirrels are breeding. Hence, if you own a cat and have red squirrels in your area, please help to keep them safe by:
  • Treating your cat to a new collar, fitted with a bell. This might just give squirrels enough warning to escape.
  • Making sure that your cat is fed well and regularly, a hungry cat is a threat to wildlife.
  • If you feed red squirrels, making sure that the feeder is out of reach of cats.
  • Bringing your cat indoors at night so that that he/she will not be hunting when squirrels are active at first light.

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