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Cats getting into backyard and killing birds

mooie
June 1st, 2006, 04:13 PM
I'm not trying to make any waves with cat lovers, but I'm at my wit's end trying to keep my neighbor's cats out of my yard. They come mainly to get the birds that we have made birdhouses for and spent $$ feeding. Just a half hour ago, I was sitting on my backyard swing, my dog lying next to me, and a black cat crawls UP the fence with a bird in its mouth! It had to have been there lurking for awhile - I just didn't see it. My husband loves his birds, but we're losing too many because of these cats! My dog also has health issues, but he will try to chase off any cats he sees in our yard to keep his mama safe. He ends up barely able to walk for hours afterward. I have been checking the yard for cats before he goes out, but once in awhile, one will walk in when I'm not looking. I've spoken to another neighbor, and she's having problems with them marking her deck. I'm trying to locate the owners and talk to them, but in the meantime, anyone have any suggestions on how to keep the birds safe and my boy from being crippled? I don't want the cats hurt - I just want them to stay away from my stuff!!

glasslass
June 1st, 2006, 04:27 PM
Maybe a second dog to be a companion to your current one and to chase away the little predators? Maybe it would help to relocate the feeder away from areas where cats can hide or sneak up?

jessi76
June 1st, 2006, 04:43 PM
a couple suggestions:

1. move the feeders & bird-houses. Cats like a place to hide and then pounce on the prey, so I'd eliminate this from the feeder area. Put feeders/houses on tall posts in a clear section of yard, or screen off your bushes (or anyplace a cat can lay, waiting for the birds).

2. In a book I have at home (on household/home remedies) it's suggested to leave a coiled up garden hose where cats frequent. it's supposed to resemble a VERY LARGE SNAKE. I like the hose idea, but if it were me, I'd keep the water ON, and have a gun-nozzle on it, and spray the heck outa the cats when I saw them.

3. still along the water idea... maybe a sprinkler system on a motion detector at ground level?

4. Put things cats HATE around the feeder/bird house areas. orange or lemon peels & slices, specific formulas designed to repell cats, cover the area surrounding the feeders w/ pinecones so they won't walk there, etc...you may have to replenish this often though.

5. buy a big dog statue and place him at the base of the feeder? if the feeder is up high enough, maybe it won't deter the birds?

that's it.. i'm out of ideas. good luck!

chico2
June 1st, 2006, 04:57 PM
I have 3 cats that come out with me,I also have 3 bird-houses and 3 feeders,since I LOVE anything not human(just kidding!!sort of:D ).
My feeders are all hanging high off the ground(I actually use a ladder to fill them every day),the houses are attached just under my eaves and are currently very occupied.
Right now with all the baby-birds around I really have to check everywhere,before I take the cats out.
You cannot blame the cats,to them it is a natural instinct to chase birds,mice etc...but you can prevent it by chasing them away.
Most strange cats will run away,if you simply clap your hands or spray with the hose...also cats are not stupid,they'll very soon figure out that a fake dog is not real:D
Talking to the owner might help,but I doubt it,if she cares so little she lets the cats roam,she won't care if they catch birds,or spray on anyones deck:sad:

Lucky Rescue
June 1st, 2006, 06:06 PM
About the only thing that will work is, if your yard is fence, put a hotwire along the top of your fence and no cats will tolerate a shock to catch birds.

OR, along the top of your fence, you can add a section that angles outward so cats cannot get over it.

mooie
June 1st, 2006, 06:49 PM
Thanks for the tips and ideas! Our birdfeeders are all on high branches that my husband uses a ladder to refill, and we do have a very crowded backyard because I'm a flower/shrub lover. My main concern is with the little "bush" birds (that's my name, of course!) They seem to live under or within the plants and seem to be the most vulnerable. I know I can't change animal behavior, but I hate to see the cats with birds in their mouths or find dead birds just left (I always bury those) after a kill. I'm thinking of getting one of those BIG pumping water guns the kids have, but I'll also have to be in the right place at the right time. I'm going to try the citrus idea as long as it doesn't attract possums (which is another ongoing problem!!) I guess I just needed to vent because this is an unusually bad year with a lot of cats in the neighborhood, and they seem to love our place. I think these cats just get the birds for the thrill of it because there are too many just left dead on the ground. :sad:

glasslass
June 1st, 2006, 07:46 PM
Most cats do it for the thrill of the hunt, not for food. Puss-Puss used to bring me "gifts" of birds. Fortunately, she didn't hurt or kill them.

LM1313
June 1st, 2006, 09:58 PM
How about leaving sprinklers on in the bushes a lot?

Most cats do it for the thrill of the hunt, not for food. Puss-Puss used to bring me "gifts" of birds. Fortunately, she didn't hurt or kill them.

Wow! :eek: The birdies probably felt pretty lucky after they "escaped." :p A cat we used to have would catch hummingbirds by the beak and walk around with them, wings whirring. She never caught any other birds, just hummingbirds. Though she did spend hours staring up at our eaves, where the swallows lived, and make spectacular jumps when they swooped out!

~LM~

rainbow
June 1st, 2006, 11:17 PM
I would just blast them with the hose every chance you get. It certainly helped with a cat that was hanging around our place. :evil: I rarely see it now. :D

Dano_61
June 2nd, 2006, 05:15 AM
Well this is a real problem, i think you have to look at the root of this problem instead of a quick fix. Do you see any tags on the cats ? if not they maybe strays, is it the same cats each time ?. You may want to contact your local SPCA, they maybe chipped and the owner may not know the cats are doing this. As for " spraying the heck out of them " as mentioned in a previous thread by someone i take offence to this, these are animals just like our pets and i don't agree to hurting any animals.

Dan

chico2
June 2nd, 2006, 08:08 AM
I LOVE cats,would never ever hurt a cat or any other animal,but I have used the hose with a particular stubborn Calico cat,you don't even need to reach her with the water,she'll run home now when she sees us picking it up.
I have never hosed down a cat and never will,but the hose is a good scare-tactic,it works.
The beautiful Calico is now staying away from our backyard,with us it's mostly because my cats would go ballistic with a strange cat in THEIR backyard and she is not a stray,she lives a couple of houses behind me,I made sure of that.

mooie
June 2nd, 2006, 09:43 AM
Thanks, again, everyone! In the past I've tried a squirt bottle, but that didn't work. I even had one pesky cat that just LOVED us and purred and came closer while I was trying to chase it away. I know these cats belong to someone. My neighbor says one that's bothering her continually has a collar and 3/4 tail, so I'm watching to see if it's the same one, and then I'll try to talk to its owner. We live on 6 acres but have a fenced backyard for our privacy. We live next to a mobile home park with renters changing continually. If they have pets, they have to sign some kind of a pet agreement clause, but I don't know if there's anything in it about keeping their pets at home. I've left a message with the owner of the park to see if I can do anything on that end. For some reason, there seems to be an unusually high number of cats right now. I do appreciate them keeping the mice away, and I don't want to see any of them get hurt or carted away from their owners. A Catch-22 from all sides!

Mom_Of_Two_Dogs
June 2nd, 2006, 10:29 AM
I call animal control. I am so fed up with people who think it's OK to let their cats run loose, allow them to breed, use a neighbour's lawn for their litterbox, kill birds, etc. They belong inside or when they're outside, tethered on a harness and a leash or in an enclosed area. If dogs have to be kept on a leash and in a yard when they're not, the same should apply to cats.

Writing4Fun
June 2nd, 2006, 11:33 AM
2. In a book I have at home (on household/home remedies) it's suggested to leave a coiled up garden hose where cats frequent. it's supposed to resemble a VERY LARGE SNAKE.
Oooh! Thank you for reminding me! :D I saw this on a segment of Breakfast Television once! My son got a wooden snake in a loot bag once. You can get them at the dollar store. The wood is notched so the snake actually "slithers" when you move it, and they're painted in very natural colours. That might also be an option for anyone wanting to keep cats out of their gardens.

glasslass
June 2nd, 2006, 03:46 PM
I thought the rubber snake is used to scare BIRDS, not CATS.

chico2
June 2nd, 2006, 04:39 PM
I know for sure,it would not bother my cats,but then again not much does.:D
I too wish people would treat cats just like dogs,not let them roam,but mostly because it's a dangerous world out there for a little cat.
But I don't think people will change any time soon.:sad:
I would not even dream of letting my cats out on their own,I love them too much!

Writing4Fun
June 2nd, 2006, 11:15 PM
Barrie just passed a bylaw to keep cats licensed, spayed/neutered and on your property at all times. They're no longer allowed to roam. It's a good idea, in theory. In practice, it's impossible to enforce. They just don't have the manpower, and the citizens aren't going to risk a relationship with their neighbours by bringing the cat to the OSPCA.

According to Frank Ferragini on Breakfast Television, the snakes work for cats, too. As with anything else, it also depends on the cat. ;)

mooie
June 3rd, 2006, 09:46 AM
I spoke to the owner of the mobile park yesterday, and she said that according to her records, there are only two cats supposedly living in the park, and they are supposed to be indoor cats. I think someone is trying to get away with not paying a pet deposit because there are a lot more than two cats roaming around over there, and they're definitely outside cats! Most of the neighbors I know have dogs. Anyway, the owner said that she would speak to the people who have the cats and tell them there is a problem and that if it continues, they'll have to do something with the cats. The cats I'm having problems with are not the "indoor" cats that I've seen at this particular property, and I told her that, so maybe she'll do some checking and find she's got a sneaky renter. We also put lemon and grapefruit slices around the backyard, so we'll :fingerscr that it works. Thanks, all!

OntarioGreys
June 3rd, 2006, 12:53 PM
Barrie just passed a bylaw to keep cats licensed, spayed/neutered and on your property at all times. They're no longer allowed to roam. It's a good idea, in theory. In practice, it's impossible to enforce. They just don't have the manpower, and the citizens aren't going to risk a relationship with their neighbours by bringing the cat to the OSPCA.

According to Frank Ferragini on Breakfast Television, the snakes work for cats, too. As with anything else, it also depends on the cat. ;)

Actually the bylaw does work in time when enough owners start getting slapped with fines, we have had the bylaw in effect in Wooodstock for a few years now and it has made a huge difference in the numbers of free roaming cats and the feral population also drops as a result

mooie
June 3rd, 2006, 06:49 PM
Another day, same story. The cat was in our yard again today. I saw the sneaky thing running behind a tree, but I couldn't tell if it had a bird or not. This is getting very frustrating!! :mad: Obviously the citrus didn't work, and it's beginning to turn into a war with this particular critter.

rainbow
June 3rd, 2006, 07:57 PM
I would just blast them with the hose every chance you get. It certainly helped with a cat that was hanging around our place. :evil: I rarely see it now. :D

Sorry if I offended some of you. My choice of words was bad. :o I have two cats of my own and would never hurt a cat. :eek: I guess I should have used the word "squirt" instead. :o

I would be watering flowers and when it came along I would just spray it every time. Only had to do it twice and now if I see it I just clap my hands and say "get outa here" and it runs.

rainbow
June 3rd, 2006, 08:00 PM
My son got a wooden snake in a loot bag once. You can get them at the dollar store. The wood is notched so the snake actually "slithers" when you move it, and they're painted in very natural colours. That might also be an option for anyone wanting to keep cats out of their gardens.

LOL....wouldn't work with my cats. They actually bring them home and leave them in the carport. :eek: If they can't find snakes they bring worms. :D

chico2
June 4th, 2006, 08:29 AM
Mooie,in my experience and I love birds,cats,dogs etc...cats are not the biggest killers of birds in my backyard.
Blue-Jays,Cracklers,Hawks and others are always preying on smaller birds and eggs.
My birdhouses are always beeing raided,but not by cats..
I am not saying cats don't try to catch birds,but there are more efficient predators out there,than cats.
I had an Oriole-like bird here in the winter,very pretty and when he was caught by a Kestrel,I cried...but that's nature,prey and predators:sad:
As for deterring cats,nothing short of a barb-wire fence will keep them out and I certainly hope that is not an option.
If you have problems with one specific cat,humanely trapping him is the only solution,but then chances are he would be euthanized.

mooie
June 4th, 2006, 10:01 AM
Chico2,
I know exactly what you mean by others killing birds, too. We had to try to plug up a hole in a birdhouse because Jays were trying to kill the baby birds that had hatched in it. I'm sure the Jay got at least one. We also have hawks and an occasional eagle that prey on the birds, bunnies, mice, etc. My biggest concern, other than the birds being killed, of course, is for my boy going after the cats and getting himself hurt. He chased one the other day and was hobbling for hours afterward. I'm trying to keep their meetings to a minimum for his health, too. Trapping isn't right, either, so I'll just have to try to chase it away when I see it. He's a sneaky bugger, though!

Stacer
June 4th, 2006, 10:25 AM
Actually the bylaw does work in time when enough owners start getting slapped with fines, we have had the bylaw in effect in Wooodstock for a few years now and it has made a huge difference in the numbers of free roaming cats and the feral population also drops as a result

Ontariogreys, I'm from Woodstock (don't live there currently), and my parents still live there, I haven't heard of this bylaw, but it's good to know that it's working. Up until last year my parents had cats, and I don't think that they were aware of this bylaw. (we are talking Woodstock, ON?)

chico2
June 4th, 2006, 04:39 PM
Mooie,what I do,before I take my cats out,I go out and check to make sure there are no other cats around and if there is,usually just clapping my hands will get them running:p
I also check for any baby-birds on the ground so my cats won't get them.
Now,we have tons of noisy cute baby-birds,I just saw a mom and pop Robin with two babies today,but they were big enough to fly:thumbs up
The babies are always a bit slower taking off,so I have to make sure there are none that my cats could catch.

mooie
June 5th, 2006, 07:23 AM
Chico2
Thanks for all the suggestions. I, too, have to check the entire yard now before I let BooBoo out. The cat was in the backyard again last night, and didn't see us sitting there. The only trouble with clapping our hands is that's about the only sound my guy hears, and it scares him, so we have to improvise by pounding, etc. The cat turned around and looked at us, so we've got his attention now. I know it's the 3/4 tail one now, so that's one part of the equation solved. Now I have to watch him go where ever and find his owner - no small feat. I may have to go out with the broom and whoop and holler every day before I let BooBoo go out - I'm just picturing what my neighbors are going to think when they hear that!! ;) I don't know how we miss him every time unless he slinks in after we're already outside.

chico2
June 5th, 2006, 07:34 AM
It's funny you should mention neighbors,hubby will go out on the deck,stomping with his clogs on to scare away a cat...neighbors asked if he was doing a rain-dance:D
Last night my cats got all excited sitting in the open window,I went out to check and could not see any cat but a beautiful raccoon was up in the tree.
I should also mention,if ever there is a cat in distress in my yard,an obvious stray,I will certainly feed him and get him some help:love:

mooie
June 5th, 2006, 04:54 PM
That's very kind and generous of you, chico2, to care for the strays. I ended up with a Brittany for 13 years that one of our other dogs brought home. She was a definite keeper and a wonderful addition to our family. (I should add that was LONG ago when we didn't have proper fencing and not many neighbors. I know that's not the ideal situation now, but then that's all we had.) We have some beautiful birds that we've managed to coax into the yard through the feeders and love to watch them eat and drink out of the birdbath. I hadn't thought of wearing clogs :D !! What lengths we go to to protect our friends!! :)

chico2
June 5th, 2006, 05:06 PM
Mooie,fortunately I have not seen too many strays here,only on a few occasions have I had to help out.
The cats we scare away have homes and I know where they live,I have no qualms about getting them away from my feeders.
I feed all kinds of birds,even have 3 Crows coming for leftovers every day,every year they introduce me to their babies:D
Today,we bbq'd and were watching 3 little baby-squirrels..it's a great time of year.
The clogs,makes an awful racket on the wood deck,this one particular cat,takes off like a shot:D