BIRD-FRIENDLY GARDENING FOR CAT OWNERS

Backyard birdwatching is a delight for many, but sadly, it’s greatly enjoyed by cats too! They love to roam and stalk anything that moves – especially birds. Here are a few tips on how to protect birds from your cats:

  1. Put a bell on your cat’s collar. This helps warn the birds when your cat is around. Make sure that the collar is fitted correctly and that it is a quick-release collar that allows the cat to free itself should it become caught on anything. Researchers show that simply putting a bell on your cat can significantly reduce the number of birds your cat will be able to catch.
  2. Make sure your cat is well feed and well looked after.
  3. Do not put birdseed on the ground but rather high up in a free-standing bird feeder or a feeder in a tree.  If the birds are eating the seed on the ground, they are more vulnerable to cats pouncing on them.
  4. Do not remove vegetation from thick bushes.  The rustling of the foliage can act as an early warning to birds if your cats are using the bushes to stalk from.
  5. Remove low branches on your trees that your cats have easy access to.  This will make it harder for the cats to get up the trees. Remember to look for those low-hanging branches that are close to the roof, wall or garden shed that your cats can use to get into the trees.
  6. Put your birdbaths in an open freestanding position. This will help the birds see your approaching cat and give them time to fly away if needed.
  7. If you have free-standing bird feeders make sure the stand is slippery so the cats cannot climb the stand. You can cover the stands with plastic or metal sheets.
  8. Plant spiny plants under free-standing bird feeders. This stops cats from sitting under the bird feeders where the birds cannot see them.

These tips are brought to you courtesy of the great team at Veterinary House Hospital  |  033-342 4698 (24h emergency).