As humans, we often have a hard time seeing the world as the horribly dangerous and bloody death trap that it is for smaller and weaker creatures. We don’t like to think of lovable and cute Mr. Fluffles as the genocidal maniac that he is to our avian friends. Domestic cats kill an estimated 2.4 billion (Yes my friends, that is billion with a B) birds in the USA per year.
How are humans, the mightiest of predators, measuring up to that track record of mass murder? Mere millions of birds with all the victims of road traffic, airplanes, and pesticides combined.
While the majority of those kills are by feral cats, a very substantial portion happens when people’s pet cats decide to go hunting in your backyard. There are steps you can take to make it as hard as possible for your cat, so that your feathered pest control agents can do their job with minimized harassment.
Your Bird Feeder
One of the most basic mistakes that people make in their gardens is that they use a platform feeder that cats are able to jump onto, essentially turning the birdfeeder into bait in service of your cat’s bird hunting adventures. Get yourself some kind of bird feeder pole, and place the feeder far enough away from trees and other raised areas that a cat cannot climb or jump to the feeder.
While you’re at it, remember to keep your bird feeder sanitary. Birds are not magically immune to disease and rot. Seeds spoil and mildew or bacteria grow very well in a moist, warm environment. Clean your birdfeeder once a month and replace the feed regularly to avoid becoming the local plague bringer.
Birds are not dumb creatures. They won’t sit there and let a cat eat them if they can help it. What you can do to help is minimize the cover in your garden. Keep areas like your vegetable garden and flowers away from bushes and hedges where your cat can hide.
The birds will frequent those locations to eat the bugs and seeds that drop from those plants, so try to keep them in a location where they can see the surrounding area and are difficult to ambush.
This is also something to think about when you decide the placement of a birdfeeder or water feature for your garden.
Take Pet Precautions
Be sure to get your cat fixed. This way, it cannot add young to the feral cat colonies that cause so much devastation in America’s bird population.
You can put a collar with a bell on your cat to help warn local birds of danger. It also helps to keep your cat well fed and its claws trimmed to make climbing harder.
Birds are a very important part of the ecosystem. Your cat won’t wipe out the local mosquitos and other insects, so keep that in mind when you’re staring at pictures of kittens on the internet and thinking about getting that 8th cat.