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To feed or not?

Hi everyone, no doubt people will have varied views but I am in a dilemma as to whether I should feed birds.  I love all the birds and have wildlife habitats for hedgehogs, frogs and toads and insects but as I have a young cat I am not sure it is fair to encourage birds by putting out food. Some people say just use hanging feeders rather than ground feeding. What does everyone else think, should I just enjoy birds in the surrounding areas? We have had cats before but one was disabled and one was too old to bother!



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,840

    I have had cats young and old for over 40 years and have always fed the birds.   The trick is to feed them high up with hanging feeders out of reach of cats and then set up a bird table or ground feeding station far away from cover from which cats can pounce.

    I've lost none to cats and just a few to sparrowhawks as there are shrubs in which the small birds can hide when they swoop.  Birds of prey have a right to feed too.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,946

    We don't have cats now but have done in the past.  I've found that there are times of day when the bird feeders are much busier, and I used to make a point of keeping the cats indoors at those times.  It worked fairly well.

    As for birds of prey - we have sparrowhawks in the area, but we also get visits from the peregrine falcons that nest on Norwich Cathedral spire - they pick the fat woodpigeons off our roof - sometimes we see it happen!  Amazing! image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 Posts: 1,813

    I put a feeder on my washing line near a tree for cover and watch the cat staring at the feeder !!!

    Everyone is just trying to be Happy.....So lets help Them.
  • Jack 3Jack 3 Posts: 360

    I have a naughty cat and always feed the birds. I have hanging bird feeders on one of those bird feeding station things, not too close to the bushes so they can see him coming. He's been good actually since moving to this place, he wanders about and doesn't seem to pay the birds any attention.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,131

    Oh, another bizzie lizzie! I hope it won't get confusing. I have a cat and I feed the birds high up. Occasionally she catches a bird but I'm sure more would die in winter if I didn't feed them.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,434

    You could put a bell on the cats collar to warn the birds.image

  • Bex2012Bex2012 Posts: 45

    I have two cats and still feed the birds! The cats actually sit on the table in the conservatory and watch them out of the window. It makes me laugh with noise they (the cats) make, but not once have they ever attempted to go for the birds.

  • There are two 'on cat' ways to reduce hunting in addition to the sensible suggestions here about making sure the cat has nowhere to hide and pounce. We recommend at least two bells on a collar (with a suitable safety break clip) as one bell isn't loud enough or if you have a google, there are devices that make a noise when the cat makes a sudden movement and this reduces hunting success.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,131

    Cat went nuts when I put a collar on her. Ran round in circles and tried to hang herself in the lilac bush! Left the collar hanging on a branch. Couldn't find a collar here in France with a safety clip. Most of the time she's too fell fed and lazy to go after birds.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • vicki 66vicki 66 Posts: 15

    Hello all yes I know alot like cats and what do cats normally like Birds I have a a Rottweiler but before i get ooos and arghs she is soft she loves the birds she will sit outside and watch them munching away but as for cats she just gives them a warning just runs to them never ever hurts them i wouldnt allow it well just going back to cats attacking birds the rspb are selling metal cages so they can eat freely i think its a good idea and also they say take them in at night as hedgehogs could get stuck in them if i had cats i would but bells on them i agree with steve J thankyou steve for your advice also happy gardening and hope all your birds appear we have just had Blackbird chicks love it 

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