Forum home Wildlife gardening

Cats and birds

Hi. Any tips on how to stop a cat from getting birds? I know it’s their nature etc etc but I have a cat who is a prolific hunter and wondered if there’s anything out there that really works. At the moment she’s only allowed out at night but last night at 11.15pm she was fed and wanted to go out, within 5 minutes she was doing that meow they do when they’ve got something, I tried to see but we have no outside light at the back then I heard crunching so knew I was too late. I assumed it was a mouse but this morning there’s feathers on the patio. So she’s actually been and taken one from the nest. She’s not in my good books today. 
I’ve tried bells on her collar, a collar that beeps when she jumps and I’ve even tried a cat bib. She loses collars within minutes of going out. 
I can’t keep her in all of the time, she’s not an indoor cat at all. She cries profusely when she wants to go out and scratches at the door, it would be unfair to keep her in 24/7. 
I’m at my wits end. Hoping someone can give me an idea I haven’t thought of or tell me there’s now some miracle cure on the market. 


  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,191
    Do you put food out for the birds? Stop.

    Unusual for it to catch a bird at night.

    Often, cats will catch birds or rodents that are in some way incapacitated. If the cat didn’t catch them, a magpie would.

    Yesterday, I saw a tiny great tit chick on the ground, just waiting to be a meal for some passing bird of prey or one of our cats.

    I picked it up and carefully put it into an airy shrub.

    Five minutes later, the sparrowhawk got it. 

    It was probably not quite physically right in some way. Destined to be a meal. Survival of the fittest and all that.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Jennym83Jennym83 Posts: 41
    I do but food out but only recently and there has been no increase in the amount of birds in my garden. She’ll be 12 in July and she’s been like this since she started going out. I’m 100% sure it’s not only ill birds she goes for, last year I watched out of my window as she crept up on a sparrow on the grass and pounced, I ran out to see if I could save it and right in front of me she caught another as it tried to fly off. Just a month or so ago she raided a blackbird’s nest just yards away from me. I tried to stop her but it was in next doors garden and I couldn’t lean over the fence far enough. That’s when I stopped her going out in the day. 
    I hoped as she is aging a bit this might stop but it’s obviously not going to. I hate to think of the amount of birds she’s killed over the years. 
    When she was very young I got up one morning to dead baby birds all over the garden, patio and drive. It breaks my heart and without keeping her in 24/7 I just don’t know what I can do. 
    I’ve just ordered 2 cat bibs, bells and a collar. I know from experience this is pointless but I’ll give it another try. 
  • It may seem a little cruel but less so than the cat killing a bird - have you tried squirting or spraying the cat with water when it catches a bird?  We used this method on our neighbour's cat a couple of times and although it is two birds too many he has caught just two so far this year, far less than in previous years.  We love the cat and don't want to harm him, so we feel that the water squirt is a safe option. We make sure the cat always has plenty of cat food, we give him a good telling off when he does catch a bird.  We did buy puss a collar one Christmas, but have yet to resort to using it. We have bird feeders around the garden, some in the open, and one group in a walled in patio where puss can't get too.
  • Big Blue SkyBig Blue Sky Posts: 678
    I would be very interested to get some advice about that too. Our cat brings in mice and birds. Not every day but often enough for me to be upset about it. 
    Always well fed, tons of toys, we tried a colour bell. Nothing works. Unstoppable. And if we tried to keep him in - he probably would dig through the floor and find his way out. He loves outdoors. 
    Wouldnt be able to spray him with water when he catches the animals as he does it away from our garden. And we have never had bird feeder in our garden. 🙄
  • Jennym83Jennym83 Posts: 41
    edited June 2019
    We think she has some Bengal in her and actually likes water, so spraying water on her doesn’t bother her at all and also we rarely see her catch them. I’ve heard telling them off isn’t the thing to do as they think you’re unhappy with the present they brought for you and will try to do better next time. Annoyingly she rarely eats them just catches them and leaves them around outside. So I was quite surprised that she ate the one last night especially as she had only just had her dinner. 
    I’ve grown up with cats, we often had 3 or 4 cats at a time, and none have matched up to Olly. I think she must hold some kind of record for bird catches. 
    I’m actually going to try my best to keep her in at all times, at least until bird nesting season is over. Sadly though with 3 young children and a sometimes absent minded husband I think this will be difficult  :(
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,149
    Maybe keep the cat in
    at fledgling time?  It gets light very early at the moment and most fledglings begin to leave the nest early morning. 

    My daughter @WonkyWomble has two cats ... they don’t go out in the garden unsupervised. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • BrexiteerBrexiteer Birmingham Posts: 955
    Get in run over by a car and have a leg amputation. Only joking but that is what happened to mine now he's got no chance of getting a bird. He keeps trying but gets nowhere near. This is Chester minus 1 leg
  • Jennym83Jennym83 Posts: 41
    Maybe keep the cat in
    at fledgling time?  It gets light very early at the moment and most fledglings begin to leave the nest early morning. 

    My daughter @WonkyWomble has two cats ... they don’t go out in the garden unsupervised. 
    Not sure if you’ve read all of my replies but I am doing my best to keep her in, she’s not going out in the day and is only allowed out at night because I thought she wouldn’t catch birds at night. Sadly I was wrong. I can’t keep her in constantly as she would go insane, hence her going out at night. I am going to try though, see how we go. How do you supervise a cat in the garden? Mine just jumps over the fence and is gone. I genuinely wish I could go back 12 years and never buy the bloody thing in the first place. (I do love her, just hate that she has such a strong prey drive).
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,531
    No cat I've ever had has heard that birds and mice are presents for their human.  Mine would scratch me to shreds before they'd let go of anything they'd caught.
Sign In or Register to comment.