How to protect young birds from your cat: 5 tips & recommendations
Discover how to keep your cat away from birds in your garden, so that they can live safely together!
Many pet owners have a heart for wildlife, therefore, they try to protect it as long as it is in their power to do so. If you own a cat, for sure you agree: protecting the birds in your garden from your kitty isn’t always simple. Is there a safe way for a cat and bird to live in the same environment? We have the best tips on how to keep birds safe when there’s a cat in the neighborhood.
Cat and bird living together – is this possible?
Cats are natural born predators. This can already be a challenge at home, with cats hunting anything that moves, such as feet, curtains or cables. But most likely, the real danger is outdoors. With an increasing number of house cats hunting outside, it becomes more and more difficult to keep birds nesting in your garden safe. But don’t worry; with these tips, it is possible.
Control your cat’s behaviour
So why is it that even if you feed your cat sufficiently, she still hunts when given the chance? The answer lies in behavioural traits that are buried deeply within every cat’s biology: hunting is fun!
Note: It keeps them busy, it challenges them and is both a mental sport and physical exercise.
The chase of a cat and bird is seen as a fun activity for your kitty. But if your cat loves hunting so much, how do you keep her from doing it?
- One option is to have your cat neutered. After castration, its hormonal balance changes and the urge to hunt usually lessens as well. Nevertheless, even neutered animals still have strong instincts, so here are some tips on how to handle hunting behaviour in your pet.
- What you, as a cat parent could also do, is to offer your cat alternatives to hunting, such as keeping your cat entertained indoors.
Make the indoor environment stimulating for your cat
1. Keep your cat busy by providing her things to play with: From store-bought toys to toilet paper rolls or long blades of grass, get creative and find out what your feline likes to play with most.
2.Challenge your kitty with a larger assortment of entertainment: Something to roll around on the floor, balls to shoot themselves, toys to follow around or jump after, maybe even make your cat work for her food. Sometimes dinner tastes even better when it had to be won out of a toy.
3.Be persistent: Some cats are lazy when it comes to toys and don’t play by themselves. If your cat needs that extra attention, try to make time to play with her every now and then. After a while, most cats will give in to their instincts and enjoy playing on their own.
If your cat is particularly active and all the distractions in the world won’t help, some natural remedies or homeopathic preparations might also be an option. Examples include
- Bach remedies
- herbal tonics and
- globules, which are available for animals
Pharmacies and veterinarians can help you choose what’s right for your kitty. This way, cat and bird worries can eventually also be reduced, by having a more relaxed cat.
Make your garden cat-proof
To keep wild animals in your area safe, it might be a good idea to keep your cat within the confines of your own garden. You can do that by equipping your garden with:
- a cat-sealed fence that leaves no holes big enough for your cat to squeeze her head through, ideally with a surface that is too smooth to climb and is at least 1.5 meters high.
- a cat enclosure that you can either buy or easily make out of a few wooden planks and cat screen mesh from your local pet store.
Don’t forget: When you move to a new home with your cat, be sure to repeat these steps.
If you want to help the birds out even more and install a birdhouse within your cat-proof garden, there are a few things to consider in order to ensure the birds’ safety.
Installing a safe birdhouse
In order to keep not just your cat but also other predators away from your birdhouse, carefully select a location that is hard to reach. Ideally, it should be hung in a tree or mounted on a metal pole at least 2-3 meters above the ground.
Think of a safe distance of at least 1.5 meters to hedges and other trees’ branches that could serve your cat as a ladder.
A safe birdhouse features:
- a small and steep roof that leaves no room for a cat to properly sit on.
- an entrance that is just big enough for the birds to get in and out, but too small for a cat to get her head through.
- no perch in front of the entrance that would offer the cat a place to rest her paws for stability. Birds can get in and out of the house just fine without one.
- extra protection through the use of predator repellents. Apply hot pepper sprays, citrus oil or other strong smelling substances on the outside of the house to keep cats and other threats away. Songbirds don’t usually have a very good sense of smell, so they won’t mind.
Help your neighbours too
You’ve done everything in your power to protect birds in your garden, but somehow there are still no birds singing in your neighbourhood? Maybe your cat still has a way of sneaking out of your carefully cat-proofed garden and hunts in nearby areas. Help your neighbours cat-proof their gardens too! Get your feline a Tractive GPS CAT Tracker and see in real-time all the adventures of your kitty, where her trips take her to and which other locations you might need to check!
Getting a bird when you already have a pet
Last but not least: You’re thinking about getting a bird in your place, when you already have a cat or a dog? Then this is what you must do beforehand:
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