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Cats and Garden Birds – End the War

Birds are constantly threatened by cats, both domesticated and feral. People are concerned about the number of bird deaths that are attributed to our furry friends. Neighbours can get annoyed and no one likes coming home to an injured or deceased bird on the doorstep. The RSPCB has some interesting and concerning facts regarding cats and their impact on birds.

  • Cats hunt when the opportunity arises, it doesn’t matter if they are hungry or not.
  • Some cats will hunt night and day while others won’t hunt. Each cat is different. Get to know your cat and their behaviours to decide if any action is required.
  • Birds are most commonly attacked by cats during dawn and dusk.
  • Birds only make up 20% of cat’s prey – other prey includes voles, mice, rabbits and other small mammals.

Tips for Non-Cat Owners

As a non-cat owner, the RSPB advices taking steps to prevent cats from entering your property line and creating a bird friendly garden. There are a few ways to deter a cat from entering your garden, such as:

  • Use an ultrasonic cat deterrent
  • Half fill plastic bottles and place them in your borders. You can also tie old DVDs to string and hang them from tress, around your fences and borders. The light reflected off the bottles helps to keep cats away.
  • Plant coleus canina in your garden beds, it’s a plant that cats dislike the smell of.
  • Position bird feeders above spikey or thorny plants or scatter thorny clippings beneath the table or pole. Alternatively., position a cone on the pole, facing downwards and grease up the pole.

Tips for Cat Owners

Thankfully, there are a few things we as cat owners can do to help improve the welfare for our local wildlife.

  • Make your cat wear a collar with a bell on it. Buy a collar with a quick release mechanism and ensure it’s fitted correctly. Have a stock of these collars as cats do tend to come home without them.
  • Don’t let your cat outside during dawn or dusk for birds (night time for mice).
  • Get your cats neutered to help reduce the size of their territory and wondering habits.
  • Use a catio or cat fencing to create a cat only space in your garden.
  • Encourage cats to stay close to home by creating a garden that is stimulating, keeping them well fed and happy.

Learn more about cats and birds by visiting the RSPB website