Birds – The Cat Effect & What You Can Do
According to the American Bird Conservancy and The Wildlife Society, cats kill nearly 4 billion birds annually. If you’re not a bird lover it may not seem like such a big deal. Ecologically though, the effects are big. A study at the University of Nebraska has found that house cats have been the cause of 33 bird species going extinct. With one in three bird species in America in decline, curbing cats hunting instincts is a priority. This brochure details some of the risks cats take and the effect their hunting habits have on the ecosystem around them. The threats aren’t just there for the birds either, bird diseases and taking risks while hunting can pose risks to cat’s welfare. It’s important to take precautions to protect other wildlife as well as your pet. Here are a few ideas to minimize your feline’s effect on its environment.
What You Can Do For The Birds
- Bell on the Collar – A cat’s success when hunting is largely due to its stealth. By adding a bell to your cat’s collar you can remove their element of surprise, giving its potential prey fair warning before an assault. This may serve to help you find your cat too it has gone missing. Cats will often crawl into small spaces in pursuit of mice or lizards, sometimes becoming stuck or unable to find their way out. A bell on their collar can help you locate them for rescue!
- Don’t Attract Birds – Remove your landscaping features that serve to attract birds to your yard. Bird baths and bird feeders are two of the biggest culprits. Don’t forget the hummingbird feeder too!
- Feed Your Cat Plenty – Make sure that your cat is well fed. While cats will often hunt just for the fun of it, you can minimize their hunting by making sure they are well fed. A cat with a full belly is less likely to wander far from home or get up to any shenanigans. We don’t condone overfeeding kitty, just make sure that they aren’t going hungry and driven to hunt because of it.
- Satisfy Their Hunting Instinct – Make sure that your cat has plenty of toys to interact with! Toys that move on their own like a wind-up mouse are great. It’s a win/win situation – your cat gets to fulfill its instinct to hunt and the birds and lizards get to go about their business.
- Time Outdoor Play Correctly – Birds are most active in the morning and evening hours. Try to keep your cat indoors during this time. Also, timing your cat’s outdoor time with your time outside gives you the opportunity to keep an eye on their activities.
Remember, you may favor your cat over the birds, but your neighbors may not. Bird watching is a popular hobby and it’s a good idea to consider the frustrations your cats hunting habits may have on others in your community.
Do you have any of your own clever ideas to protect the smaller creatures of your yard? Share them with us! Keep your pet safe, the wildlife safe, and the community happy by following these tips!