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  #1  
Old 03-28-2011, 08:46 AM
Michael of Lucan Michael of Lucan is offline
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Stopping cats attacking wild birds - in a gentle way?

I am well-disposed to cats, and would not wish to hurt them.

I like to feed wild birds, and many visit my home. Unfortunately, local cats misunderstand the concept of wild bird feeding, and try to feed on them. I put feeders up high to avoid this, but some birds feed on the ground on scraps which other birds drop.

I do not own the cats, and I do not know who owns them.* So, I cannot put bells on them, which is the normal solution. I considered one of those high pitched noise makers which dogs and rodents can hear, but not humans. However, this is likely to keep the birds out, as they have a wider range of hearing then we do.

Is there a simple solution? Please assume no damage is to be done to the cats.

*(Of course, no one truly owns a cat. It agrees to spend time with with you on condition that food and other comforts are supplied to its satisfaction.)
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  #2  
Old 03-28-2011, 08:54 AM
sandra_nz sandra_nz is offline
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If you're out there at the time, a spritz from a water bottle will help deter a cat, but I suspect there is very little you could do when you're not actually there. Hunting is normal cat behaviour and whilst you're doing a lovely thing by feeding the birds, you're actually encouraging the cats by having the birds congregate in your garden.
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  #3  
Old 03-28-2011, 09:16 AM
notfrommensa notfrommensa is offline
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Not sure how much you want to spend, but you could set up a (cat) motion detector that will trigger something that spooks the birds.
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  #4  
Old 03-28-2011, 09:34 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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put a 3 foot high mesh fence some distance, maybe 6 foot diameter, around the base of the feeders. the noise and motion of the cat climbing it will warn the birds maybe.
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  #5  
Old 03-28-2011, 09:40 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Put up a "scarecat." Maybe a picture like this on a stick.
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  #6  
Old 03-28-2011, 09:43 AM
BMax BMax is offline
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You could try sprinkling some coyote urine pellets on the ground near the bird feeders. The smell might keep the cats away.
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  #7  
Old 03-28-2011, 10:22 AM
Crackrat Crackrat is offline
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You could rig up a pie plate or something to sit under the feeder to keep the bird feed from falling on the ground. Or build a chicken-wire (or screen wide enough for the feed, but not the birds, to get through) dome on the ground to keep the birds from feeding on the fallen bird feed.

You'll have a hard time keeping cats from hunting birds at ground level. I think you'll have more luck keeping the birds from feeding there.
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  #8  
Old 03-28-2011, 10:25 AM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notfrommensa View Post
Not sure how much you want to spend, but you could set up a (cat) motion detector that will trigger something that spooks the birds.
Something like this?

Last edited by Contrapuntal; 03-28-2011 at 10:25 AM..
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  #9  
Old 03-28-2011, 10:39 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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We feed three ferals who came attached to the house we move into, and I also like to put out bird food. However, providing regular, constant meals for the cats has really dulled their hunting instincts. They know they have another meal coming soon, so they lie around watching the birds but make no attempt at capture. Also, the feeders hang from the top of the deck, putting them far out of the cat's immediate reach.

Doves - the most common ground-feeding birds - are kinda on their own, though. Still, I never find telltale feathers in our yard.
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  #10  
Old 03-28-2011, 10:57 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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can you place the feeders in a open area where a cat will have less chance to hide?
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  #11  
Old 03-28-2011, 12:16 PM
Waxwinged Waxwinged is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
We feed three ferals who came attached to the house we move into, and I also like to put out bird food. However, providing regular, constant meals for the cats has really dulled their hunting instincts.
That. We feed a pair of ferals (more like "outdoor communal cats", really.. they're sweethearts.), and they've been stalking critters less as a result.

A bad of cat food that'll last you a month? 11$.

Peace of mind? Priceless.
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  #12  
Old 03-28-2011, 02:11 PM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Cats prefer raw meat to any mass produced dry or wet cat food. Asking a cat not to hunt birds goes against the natural order of things.

What's next? An entomologist asking for a way to keep the birds in his neighborhood from feeding on the insects in his back yard?
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  #13  
Old 03-28-2011, 02:29 PM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Ah, feeding the cats, good idea. That way, we can have a thread in a few months, "how to get rid of cats -- in a gentle way."

IIRC, didn't Michael of Lucan post something a while back about flies? Then spiders? Now a bird.

How absurd!
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  #14  
Old 03-28-2011, 03:29 PM
HawksPath HawksPath is offline
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Get a dog.
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  #15  
Old 03-30-2011, 06:48 PM
Michael of Lucan Michael of Lucan is offline
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Sorry, I was sitting in my mother-in-law's house in the middle of nowhere with no internet for a couple of days. Strange to be isolated from the net for so long - you suddenly realise how it has become integrated into life.

Thank you all for your ideas. I don't think a motion sensor will work as it will sense the motion of birds too and scare them off. In essence, the other ideas amount to physical prevention or bribery.

However, bribing cats with food is not a sure thing. In the past, I knew a cat which was fed by three separate households, each of which thought they "owned" her. Her triplicity was only discovered when one "owner" met her in a neighbour's house, and then asked around. It's a version of Parkinson's Law - a cat's appetite expands to meet the available food.
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  #16  
Old 03-30-2011, 06:51 PM
Michael of Lucan Michael of Lucan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post

IIRC, didn't Michael of Lucan post something a while back about flies? Then spiders? Now a bird.

How absurd!
No, unless the Alzheimers has clicked in, this was not me .... No flies on me.
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  #17  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:02 AM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Are you sure? I think it was in Cafe Society ... something about having just eaten and now looking for future recipes.
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  #18  
Old 04-01-2011, 08:01 AM
Michael of Lucan Michael of Lucan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
Are you sure? I think it was in Cafe Society ... something about having just eaten and now looking for future recipes.
No, not me. I don't think I have ever knowingly posted in Café Society.

If it helps, I have gone fly fishing, but I never caught any flies. Maybe Im doin ths wrng ...
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  #19  
Old 04-01-2011, 09:39 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Asking a cat not to hunt birds goes against the natural order of things.
This would be a fair point if anyone here had proposed asking the cats not to hunt. The OP asked about preventing them from hunting in a particular spot. There are lots of things that are part of the "natural order" that can prevent or deter instinctive behaviour.
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  #20  
Old 04-01-2011, 11:53 AM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael of Lucan View Post
No, not me. I don't think I have ever knowingly posted in Café Society.

If it helps, I have gone fly fishing, but I never caught any flies. Maybe Im doin ths wrng ...
Are you sure?
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  #21  
Old 04-02-2011, 04:13 AM
The Librarian The Librarian is offline
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I always thought that a cat doesn't really stand a chance to catch a healthy bird. I guess it depends on the kind of bird.
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  #22  
Old 04-03-2011, 11:19 AM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael of Lucan View Post
Thank you all for your ideas. I don't think a motion sensor will work as it will sense the motion of birds too and scare them off.
This one has a sensor adjustment. Birds will be just fine.
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  #23  
Old 04-03-2011, 11:42 AM
yabob yabob is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Librarian View Post
I always thought that a cat doesn't really stand a chance to catch a healthy bird. I guess it depends on the kind of bird.
Heck, I remember having a DOG who would occasionally catch a bird. The result of a bird feeder which spilled seed on the ground underneath some evergreen trees with very low branches. The dog would trap the foraging bird underneath the tree where it couldn't fly away.
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  #24  
Old 04-04-2011, 06:21 AM
longPath longPath is offline
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Quote:
If it helps, I have gone fly fishing, but I never caught any flies. Maybe Im doin ths wrng ...
You should try ice fishing. We had to rent a trailer to get it all home.

I ocassionally find the remains of goldfinches around our feeders. Our cat doesn't even seem to be eating them, which would make me feel slightly better.
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  #25  
Old 02-21-2012, 08:03 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
...IIRC, didn't Michael of Lucan post something a while back about flies? Then spiders? Now a bird....
I knew an old Doper who swallowed a fly....
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  #26  
Old 02-21-2012, 08:27 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
I knew an old Doper who swallowed a fly....
Hell, I know a doper who fucked a sheep (or so I've heard).
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  #27  
Old 02-22-2012, 09:19 AM
KinkiNipponTourist KinkiNipponTourist is offline
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I know this is an old thread, but I found it odd that no one suggested putting collars with leetle dinky bells on the nice kitties. That way you don't take away their fun, just handicap them a little bit.

Sure, it won't be easy to catch/collar them, but you'll only need to trap 'em once.
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  #28  
Old 02-22-2012, 11:00 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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My mom put a bell on the cat we had when I was growing up. She simply learned to walk in such a way as to not jingle the bell...
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  #29  
Old 02-22-2012, 11:14 AM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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From the OP:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael of Lucan View Post
I do not own the cats, and I do not know who owns them.* So, I cannot put bells on them, which is the normal solution.
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  #30  
Old 02-22-2012, 11:25 AM
Bill Door Bill Door is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longPath View Post
You should try ice fishing. We had to rent a trailer to get it all home.(snip)
You know, when I tried it by the time I had a hole big enough to put the boat in, I was too tired to fish.
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  #31  
Old 02-22-2012, 11:25 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
can you place the feeders in a open area where a cat will have less chance to hide?
Birds of prey love a feeder out in the open.
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  #32  
Old 02-22-2012, 11:27 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Cats prefer raw meat to any mass produced dry or wet cat food.
Not in my (admittedly limited) experience: adult cats tend to prefer what they're used to eating.

My experience is based on my own cats, who get plenty of cat food, and who enjoy chasing and catching birds, mice, etc. but haven't shown any signs of interest in eating what they catch. (The fun thing is to bring critters inside, alive, to play with.) So a well-fed cat may still pose a threat to birds.
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  #33  
Old 02-22-2012, 12:55 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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If you are feeding the birds well, they will prosper & their population will grow. So the few that are caught by the cats will not affect the population much.
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  #34  
Old 02-22-2012, 12:59 PM
MLS MLS is offline
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Just let Darwinian nature take its course. You will be improving the over all quality of birds by letting the cats weed out the weaker and stupider ones.
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  #35  
Old 02-22-2012, 01:18 PM
Lionne Lionne is offline
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Some birds are natural ground foragers, and taking advantage of an abundance of seed on the ground due to a human-controlled feeder does not make them weak or stupid to be picked off. They are simply easier targets, sadly.
To the OP...as Thudlow points out, cats will hunt even if well-fed. To avoid giving them easy pickings, get rid of the bird feeder.
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  #36  
Old 02-22-2012, 01:20 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KinkiNipponTourist View Post
I know this is an old thread, but I found it odd that no one suggested putting collars with leetle dinky bells on the nice kitties.
You mean, besides the OP?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael of Lucan View Post
I do not own the cats, and I do not know who owns them.* So, I cannot put bells on them, which is the normal solution.
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  #37  
Old 02-22-2012, 02:31 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLS View Post
Just let Darwinian nature take its course. You will be improving the over all quality of birds by letting the cats weed out the weaker and stupider ones.
In 10 years, he'll have a crop of super-intelligent birds that begin dive-bombing dwellings for food sources and/or idle fun.
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