Tuesday, 17 March 2020

How To Prevent Cats Killing Birds

Nature is nature, but I’m sure many cat owners feel a little guilty if their pet kills a bird. But cats and birds can live relatively harmoniously in our gardens with a few simple measures, says The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). 

Baby birds in particular are vulnerable from predators like cats, but with some minor interventions, the number of chicks killed can be minimised.

The wildlife charity is keen to tell cat owners what they can do to avoid chicks being caught  and is offering the following advice:
  • Put a bell on the cat's collar. An RSPB study shows this can reduce predation of birds by 41%. The collar should have a quick release buckle and fitted properly.
  • Make sure cats are well fed and cared for. This may encourage them to stay close to home and be less likely to wander
  • Keep your cats indoors around sunset and sunrise and after bad weather – birds are most vulnerable at these times as its when they are most likely to come out to feed.
  • Take your cat indoors if a fledgling is in the garden, until its parents lead it away
  • Avoid putting food on the ground for a few weeks where cats are known to catch birds. Use a bird table or higher ground where cats cannot reach it
  • Place spiny plants such as holly or an uncomfortable surface around the base of the feeding station to prevent cats sitting underneath it
  • Position nest boxes where cats cannot reach them or sit close to them (preventing the parents birds from getting to the box).
An RSPB wildlife adviser, said: “People are often surprised that the RSPB is not against owning cats and firmly believes that cats and garden birds can exist side by side quite comfortably with a bit of sensible pet ownership and taking a few simple measures.

“Baby birds are extremely vulnerable and it is very upsetting if you discover the remains of one that has been eaten by a cat so by fitting a bell, keeping them indoors for the most risky times of day and raising your feeding stations, you could avoid distress for all.”

One RSPB member said: “I have a young cat that is extremely active and I also have two feeders, a water bath and a bird table which is full of all sorts of birds.

“Of course my cat is a hunter and does what comes naturally to him from time to time but if I try and feed him at dawn and dusk, this is inevitably followed by a sleep which is the other thing that comes naturally to him!"

*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


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  1. Some good tips. It's sad when you find a hurting bird and know the cat was responsible.

    1. That's Purrfect19 March 2020 at 08:25

      It's heart-breaking. My cat is quite elderly and has a bell so she hasn't killed anything for ages - at least I don't think so.

  2. This is some good info. We have a neighbourhood cat that has caught some birds. I wonder if we could place a bell on it or would the neighbour take it off. The neighbour is not on speaking terms with us.

    1. That's Purrfect19 March 2020 at 08:26

      Worth a try. She might be pleased, you never know, or she might be puzzled and not think it's her cat, so probably worth putting a note through her door.

  3. My kitties are indoor only so no worries here.

    1. We finally wised up. ~nods~ Coyotes are a concern for the cats around here. But Luna, who 'adopted' me, did a lot of damage before we kept our eventual three kitties all inside. Now it's just Jezebel, who subsequently panics if she manages to slip outside. Silly old girl. Be well! And I'm glad my Warhol thumb made you laugh.

    2. That's Purrfect19 March 2020 at 08:28

      Glad you two have indoor cats. Birds are safe!

  4. Thanks for visiting my blog!
    We've had feral cats in our yard for over a decade, and have only found two birds during that time, but lots more mice were taken care of. We don't feed the birds, plus our mature trees have branches 'way up, so the cats aren't trying to climb up to get at anything.

    1. That's Purrfect19 March 2020 at 08:30

      Cats are good at rodent control, of course. And they don't know we don't like them killing birds.

  5. I can only observe the critters from our back deck, and now and then dad will find me sitting inside looking out through the sliders and chattering in the funny way I do when I see birds out there.


Thank you for your commenting, Purrfect.