Around October last year, we heard rustling coming from the back of the garden after the sun had set. It was loud and seemed to be moving at a rather fast pace. Curious as to what it could be, we snuck outside as quiet as possible and began to move our way slowly over to the noise. To our amazement, we saw a small family of hedgehogs, wandering along the bark. Their noses sniffing and bodies wiggling, they made their way from plant pot to plant pot seemingly looking for food.
As a family we’re really into our wildlife, so this was a really exciting discovery for us. We monitored them the following nights and noticed after a week or so, only one had stayed behind. Due to the time of year and hibernation approaching, we decided to purchase a small hedgehog hut to keep hidden in the corner of our garden. Nine months later, the hedgehog is live and well, living in our garden and we feed it small portions in his very own food bowl. We have made small holes around the fencing and tried to limit the food, hopefully encouraging it to move on.
So, what’s this got to do with cats? Well, our cat Harry, had some rather amusing encounters with his new neighbour. It turns out that cats will actually typically ignore a hedgehog, after giving it a quick inspection. This seems to be exactly what our cat has done, as the hedgehog now roams the garden after the sun goes down, while Harry sits on the patio step totally oblivious to the hedgehog. In fact, when we’ve fed the hedgehog cat biscuits, they’ve even been caught sharing the bowl!
There have also been some funny occasions. Strangely, hedgehogs are commonly known to run around in circles, often looking for food or a potential mate. This always provides entertainment, as Harry will sit there a couple feet away, staring intently as he watches the hedgehog go round and round in circles. While their bond is cute, it’s important to know, are they potentially harmful to each other?
Well, thankfully for the most case, no. As mentioned previously, cats are likely to simply ignore hedgehogs and let them be on their way. Hedgehogs, while obviously adorable, are known to carry fleas. This would understandably make cat owners hesitant about them interacting. However, the fleas on a hedgehog are actually host-specific, meaning they won’t transfer to other animals and only live on hedgehogs.
Therefore, there’s not really much to worry about it if you happen to own a cat and receive a visitor in the shape of a hedgehog. Their interactions can be really entertaining and having both in your garden at the same time isn’t problematic in the slightest. Well, aside from maybe having to buy more cat biscuits of course…
For more information on how your cats and hedgehogs may interact, I recommend this detailed article from Senior Cat Wellness https://www.seniorcatwellness.com/can-cats-and-hedgehogs-get-along/#Are_Cats_A_Danger_To_Hedgehogs