Every year, millions of wild birds are tragically killed by pet cats. If you enjoy watching your backyard birds, take the necessary steps to protect them from your pets. Here's how to keep cats from catching birds:
- Keep cats inside all day. This is the easiest way to keep cats from catching birds. However, many cats are accustomed to going outdoors, and may not be happy if kept inside. If you must let your cat outside, avoid doing so just after sunrise or before sunset, when birds tend to be most active.
- Provide a safe place for cats to watch birds. Place a cat tree or climbing structure near a window so that your cats can get the enjoyment of watching the birds outside, without the ability to catch them. If your cat has the opportunity to see birds without hunting or catching them, his hunting instincts may be reduced. You can redirect their hunting instincts in other ways, too. For example, encourage them to hunt indoors by hiding treats around the house or playing games with cat toys.
- Attach bells to your cats' collars. A bell is an early warning system for the birds. A cat without a bell can sneak up to within inches of a bird without any warning. Once your cats' collars have bells, the birds will hear them approaching and can fly out of their reach. Cats begin the hunt by stalking their prey, and can often creep noiselessly very close before leaping up at the bird. Keeping this from happening just requires a bell on your cat's collar.
- Arrange your yard to thwart your cat's efforts. By thoughtfully planning your yard, you can keep birds out of your cat's grasp. Keep bird feeders and baths away from bushes or anywhere else your cat can hide. Use metal or plastic rather than wooden poles so that your cat can't use his claws to climb. If necessary, use chicken wire around them to keep cats from climbing up to the birds. By keeping feeders and baths in safe places around your yard, you reduce your cat's chances for catching birds there.
- Keep other cats from catching birds in your yard. Use a garden hose to chase away any strays, and ask neighbors if they would mind you attaching a bell to their cat's collar. Both strategies can keep birds from being caught by cats in your yard.
- Clip your cat's claws. It is inhumane to declaw a cat, but simply cutting their nails is an effective way to keep them from snagging birds. Without sharp claws, they won't be able to climb up wooden fence posts or attack animals so easily.
These simple steps can keep birds out of your cat's grasp. Cats are known to be opportunistic hunters, and will catch anything that they find is within their grasp, including backyard birds or small rodents. Though this is a natural hunting instinct, you still don't want them to harm the birds in your area.