A common problem for garden lovers with pet cats is keeping both garden birds and your cat safe and happy. You can’t train the basic hunting nature out of a cat, and they love to stalk from the undergrowth or climb trees in pursuit of your feathered visitors. However, here are some basic steps to try to keep the birds safe if your cat goes outside:
Make the cat easy to see
Sometimes, a small bell around a cat’s collar can give birds a warning, and a brightly coloured or patterned collar can help too – make sure it stands out and catches the eye among the green foliage or shadows.
Don’t praise a kill
Occasionally, your cat may hunt something you’re quite happy about – perhaps a mouse or an unwelcome bird. However, while you should never punish a cat for simply doing what cats do, don’t praise them either. Any positive reinforcement of the hunting behaviour will only encourage them to do it more, and they will not be selective about their target.
Cats love to climb to get access to birds perching in shrubs and trees. Keep their claws trimmed to make climbing a little more challenging.
As well as the above, you can keep the environment bird-safe by keeping bird feeders a few feet away from vegetation where cats may lurk. Also consider planting a couple of thorny bushes, which birds will happily take shelter in and cats will steer clear of.