Water butts are needed

Madam,

In response to the letter “Warning after cat drowns” (March 28), I would first of all extend my sympathy to the family whose pet died. However, I must take to task Ms Kitty Ledger and her demonisation of water butts as “ridiculous contraptions”.

For centuries, these have been very practical methods of catching and saving rainwater, for household or garden use. It must have escaped Ms Ledger’s attention that the country is in the grip of a drought and hosepipe bans are likely to be imposed in many areas soon. Even in Derbyshire, the last significant rainfall was a month ago. It therefore makes sense to conserve water in butts to use in gardens, rather than take it from domestic supplies. Those of us who have water meters will be acutely aware that there is a direct cost to filling a watering can from the tap – rainwater is free.

I wonder if Ms Ledger has ever considered the considerable loss of wildlife, particularly songbirds, caused by domestic cats roaming freely? Once these animals are out of the home, they will act as wild creatures, and in some cases, we must accept the truth of the old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat.”

Mrs Christine Smith

Monyash Way

Belper