We lost our old ‘mum cat’ last week. Even though we are a livestock hill farm regularly taking our cattle / sheep / pigs to the abattoir, and selling our meat locally (producing best quality artisan produce, and drastically reducing food miles), we feel the loss of a friend who had lived with us for 12 years. We had four farm cats, now three, and I am not unhappy with a natural reduction in our home predators. A cat or two is generally seen as essential to keep down rats and mice around the farm, but I am always sad when a dead songbird or a yellow-necked field mouse arrives on the doorstep – I usually increase the cats food after that.

Recently though, a rather unusual source of hunting by one of our cats has become apparent –I had seen our white cat patrolling our long-grassed conservation field, and then realised she was spending time near the many molehills, and once digging at one, like a dog. Then, a dead mole appears on our doorstep. So, we seem to have a mole-killing cat.

Moles are a problem to farmers, their molehills reduce grazing, but more importantly can mean soil with unfriendly bacteria in hay and silage, leading to infection in cattle. So if our cat has found a ‘natural’ way of controlling the mole population, which often seems to increase wildly, I accept it as good thing for the farm as a whole.