Cats and birds in the garden

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by ExD, Apr 21, 2017 at 6:11 PM.


  1. ExD

    ExD PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2016
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    142
    I really used to love watching the birds in our garden, but I have had cats for several decades and stopped encouraging the birds - for obvious reasons. My husband recently threw out a bag of nuts that had gone 'off' ' and the number of little birds feeding on them was amazing, and a lovely sight to see.
    But my two youngsters were prowling round licking their lips and although, as far as I know, they didn't catch any this time I don't think it'll be many days before they've found a way to a new fun snack.
    Has anyone found a way of feeding birds whilst keeping the cats at bay?
     
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    12,438
    Likes Received:
    10,737
    Well, first of all be careful about putting "off" nuts out for birds in case they are toxic ;)

    I feed the birds and have regular visits by the neighbours cats into my garden, but it doesn't seem to affect the birds at all.

    I have a high bird table and feeders so they can feed off the ground if they wish.

    I do have the odd Sparrowhawk fly into the garden and I think they have probably caught more birds than the cats have tbh
     
    chillminx, Matrod and ewelsh like this.
  3. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2017
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    1,421
    I agree, try and keep the food off the ground if possible. Then the birds have more chance of escaping. And if you do put down food, make it near a bush or hedge so that the birds have something to escape into.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  4. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    13,007
    Likes Received:
    17,574
    Have you got trees in your garden? We have one and I love watching the birds so my OH made a hook on a long pole so we can put feeders way up high out of the reach of our cats.
     
    Lurcherlad and moggie14 like this.
  5. ewelsh

    ewelsh PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    Messages:
    2,675
    Likes Received:
    1,321
    We are big bird watchers and have a hunter Lottie. My other cat is not bothered at all, I'm sure if a bird landed on her head she wouldn't react.
    We made the pole for the bird table higher and have made sure nothing is close enough for a certain someone to hide behind and jump out!
    Also I do try and keep Lottie in side in the mornings after filling the feeders, it gives the birds a little time to feed. I also have a quick release collar on Lottie with a bell, this has been done since she was small therefore not an irritant to her, but does give the birds some warning!
    Lottie has never actually caught a bird (touch wood) so I guess we are doing something right.
     
    Charity likes this.
  6. Matrod

    Matrod Slave to a pair of OAP's

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Messages:
    5,058
    Likes Received:
    8,522
    The only way I can be sure is escorted visits only. All my feeders are up high but then you're always going to get ground feeders in the mix. I left Matilda unattended for 5 minutes once & she managed to bring in a chaffinch, unharmed which she plonked in a plant pot to gawp at until I rescued it.
     
    moggie14 likes this.
  7. jill3

    jill3 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,223
    Likes Received:
    740
    we have those metal feeding bird feeders on a long pole and we have fixed them high on a pagola and a fence. It does mean that i have a long stick with a hook on the end so i can reach up to refill the bird feeders but this works very well and we have lovely birds all year in the garden.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  8. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Messages:
    1,924
    Likes Received:
    2,070
    It is possible to feed the birds and have cats. In some ways it is better as there are more eyes to keep a watch out. However there are a few things to think about as to where you site the feeder.

    Birds like to come to a feeder through a series of small flights / hops, perching high up. This gives them an opportunity to scan for predators first. So position the feeder so there is a path for the birds to come in by that gives them a view of as much of the garden as possible.

    Secondly place the feeder high up, preferably on a non climbable pole or on the outermost branches.

    Thirdly consider how the birds will fly to and from the feeder. Make sure there are no sheltered areas that the birds can't see that a cat can hide in.

    Birds can be messy when feeding which encourages ground feeding birds like pigeons, dunnocks and blackbirds onto the ground under the feeder. Try and encourage these birds to feed higher up if you can and if not make sure the space below the feeder has clear line of sight and no nearby pouncing spots.

    I have been feeding the birds for over 15 years this way despite having had 4 cats (3 of which were active hunters) plus lots of neighbours cats. In that time we have only lost two fledgling blackbirds to cats. On the up side the feeders have allowed the parents to raise bumper broods to independence as it means they don't have to take so much time looking for their own food as well as searching for food for the chicks.
     
  9. ExD

    ExD PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2016
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    142
    Those sound sensible good ideas. The trouble is, even with my feeders high in a nut tree (well up to bedroom window height) the birds drop food onto the ground below and the cats wait in the flowers (my garden's a mess of cat-squashed plants) and pounce. I was considering one of those perspex ones that attach to the window glass with suckers, but wasn't sure it would be high enough.
    ps Lurcherlad, I don't think there was much wrong with the nuts - I'd been snacking on them the night before and they were fine. I just think hubby didn't like them. :-(
     
  10. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Messages:
    1,924
    Likes Received:
    2,070
    you can get feeder base trays that screw onto the base of the feeder and catch most of the bits. You can also put some spikes (I use plant canes inserted at a 45 degree angle in your flower beds. They discourage the cats from resting there but shouldn't look unsightly in the beds.