Ugh.. My cat's turned into a serial bird killer...

(15 Posts)
VeganCow Thu 07-Feb-13 09:42:53

cozie, I read that website, intersting smile

However it does say this at the bottom :

"Gardens may provide a breeding habitat for at least 20% of the UK populations of house sparrows, starlings, greenfinches, blackbirds and song thrushes four of which are declining across the UK. For this reason it would be prudent to try to reduce cat predation, as, although it is not causing the declines, some of these species are already under pressure."

And trying to 'reduce cat predation' is what i have done, and it works smile

cozietoesie Wed 06-Feb-13 19:32:51

Sorry - here's a starting link for you. You'll find further links within that which might also be of interest - such as making bird friendly gardens.

rspb advice

smile

cozietoesie Wed 06-Feb-13 19:27:45

There are different schools of thought on this. You might find it interesting to read the RSPB's own on the matter, VeganCow.

VeganCow Wed 06-Feb-13 19:20:37

No do not feed the birds AT ALL!!
Even high up. You shouldnt be encouraging birds into your territory at all, as they may get killed.

I say this as an avid bird feeder. I do miss feeding them but a murdering cat and bird feeding dont mix.

Mine has 3 bells on his collar. Keep them in the house til at least 8 am (5am is when birds are active) so lock cat flap at night.

Early evening from now on, when birds getting last feed, keep the cat in.

All this has reduced drastically the animals killed, last year was one bird, and one mouse that survived.

slhilly Wed 06-Feb-13 10:29:14

Cats kill huge numbers of wildlife. Bells help a bit, as does keeping cats in doors.

cozietoesie Wed 06-Feb-13 09:26:21

Don't get me wrong, Minky. They can be very successful if they can get some sort of surface to land on - so if you have a fatball above a surface they can get on to, that (and anything on it) is fine for them if it's not too high. It's the mid air acrobatics when the feeder is hanging free that they're not quite so good at because all they can really rely on is their claws to snag or bat something. (And if it's a strenuous jump, they usually can't get their paws together quickly enough.)

You have to watch out, though, for bits falling on the ground beneath and birds going down to get those. One way (slightly) round it is to restrict his going out in low light conditions - dawn and dusk - because that's when birds are often most vulnerable.

MinkyWinky Wed 06-Feb-13 07:51:35

Useful to know about them not being great at catching on a jump. Killer cat was a stray before we adopted him (as was fluff cat), so he probably learned to kill to ensure he was fed.

I still have a tub of net free fat balls and a fat ball holder from before the cats arrived. I will need to dig them out.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 05-Feb-13 13:40:17

Don't forget fatball nets need to be cut off, birds can get their legs trapped in them, sometimes they actually lose legs in them.

cozietoesie Tue 05-Feb-13 11:43:49

The fatballs don't need to be - say - 12 ft up in my experience. A cat getting ready to jump at feeders will usually be spotted while he's wiggling his haunches underneath. And cats don't usually do very well on the jump and flying paw either. Their forte is skulking and then rushing from behind a bush/other cover which is why ground food or food on a low lying or accessible flat feeder is bad news for birds.

You also have the scenario that if you have a few birds around, they'll usually warn other birds if they see a cat; particularly blackbirds who seem to act as the self-appointed 'watchbirds' of the bird kingdom.

I'd give one or two a try at very comfortable arm reaching height and see how it goes. If he can't reach any users, he'll give up after a while. They're not daft.

smile

MinkyWinky Tue 05-Feb-13 11:11:14

I like the idea of hanging some fatballs in the branches cozietoesie, an act of reparation to the birds on killer cat's behalfsmile Now just need to look at the garden bearing in mind his jumping range...

cozietoesie Tue 05-Feb-13 10:06:01

You've got some way to go indeed, Minky. Seniorboy has always been a housecat but a few years back (when he was 14) a juvenile starling somehow got into the bedroom where seniorboy was sleeping (made a bad mistake with a slightly open window I assume) and there was flipping mayhem. Seniorboy may have already been elderly then - but his instincts were only snoozing.

(I intervened and the starling was let out, shaken but still alive.)

You should still be able to feed the smaller birds in this cold weather if you have - say - trees and you can string a few fatballs from branches out of the cat's serious jumping reach. That gives them plenty of time to get away if they see a cat on the ground below.

MinkyWinky Tue 05-Feb-13 07:15:19

He's 3, so we have a way to go before he retires sad. I used to feed birds in the garden before we adopted the two cats, but stopped once they arrived as I thought it was unfair to the birds...

When we first got him over six months ago, he appeared with a baby mouse and a chop bone grin but until last week hadn't appeared with anything else.

Yes we do have a cat flap, but he got through it with the birds (and they were big birds too - I think juvenile starlings). I caught him the second time as he sounded heavier as he was going up the stairs. I'm hoping if he keeps doing it and I keep making him take them outside, he'll stop bringing them in... (When he left it and our other fluffcat decided to pick it up and bring it in, I blocked the cat flap until he dropped it and left it outside, so I'm hoping fluffcat will learn too)

TheSilveryPussycat Sat 02-Feb-13 11:12:03

How old is he? A hunter is a hunter I'm afraid - ours did all sorts but specialised in small rodents. She retired when we moved, (away from the allotments) at age 15.

Do you have a cat flap (sounds like you do)? We've never had one, and after a few incidents, learned to recognise the strange special meow she made when wishing to come in with the lates present (small rodents were usually alive and unwounded, bigger stuff erm not)

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 02-Feb-13 11:01:17

I don't think you can really stop it, I've just had a little greenfinch bought in.

I put out sunflower hearts as food though, they cost a lot but I like to think I've helped more than he's killed. And he has calmed down a bit with it now.

MinkyWinky Fri 01-Feb-13 13:56:03

I went into my bedroom last night to find a pile of feathers and a dead bird. I thought it was a one off, but no, he's just trotted into the house with another one:-( I've made him take it outside and am hoping it will stay there .

Any ideas for stopping him? We had to take the bell off his collar as it was freaking him out, but I think it might be worth trying it again...

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