Tuesday 12 July 2022

Home owner loves to feed birds but their neighbour's cats attack the birds

There is an interesting post on the Reddit.com website which in a way encapsulates the "war" between bird lovers and cat lovers. It seems that it is impractical for people with these diverging views to live close to each other in suburbia.

An ultrasonic cat deterrent recommended by the RSPB. Image from the RSPB. They are moderately successful. Click this link for more

In this instance, the bird lover who has "tons of feeders, lots of activity" in respect of birds coming to their property, is complaining vociferously on the Reddit.com website because one of their neighbours (and this is in America) "has a couple of free-range cats". These cats are indoor/outdoor cats which is fairly typical although there is a drift towards keeping cats indoors which is exactly what this person wants their neighbour to do.

They're complaining because despite their efforts he blames one or both of the cats for killing a phoebe nest with three little eggs which were "up in the rafters of our covered porch". This species of bird is medium-sized and insect-eating. They are in the "tyrant flycatcher family" of birds.

They say that in the past "we found piles of feathers around our yard, little corpses left on the porch, and now our little phoebe family that we've been watching and caring about like our own little reality TV show are GONE because of someone's irresponsibility in letting their cats run free". 

I left a comment on that post to say that clearly the prime responsibility is that of the cat owner but bird lovers also take some responsibility in feeding their birds in their backyards in the knowledge that close by are a couple of free-roaming indoor/outdoor domestic cats who are likely to prey upon the birds. This is a scenario of human making and both parties are ultimately responsible in varying degrees.

It is very difficult to keep domestic cats out of backyards but I do have a page on cat deterrents which features two particular deterrents that are probably the most effective - click link below.

RELATED: 2 devices I would try first to keep cats out of your backyard plus alternatives.

So, what could this person, the bird lover, have done? I don't think it would have helped in the slightest to have talked to the cat owner. They don't take kindly to suggestions that they should keep their cats indoors. I would sense that that would simply produce an argument, plenty of heat but no light.

I sense that if the bird lover who wants to feed birds is going to do it really seriously, they could have built some sort of protection around the garden against the cats which would entail building a high fence with an overhang pointing outwards.

As I commented on the Reddit page, I think the only really genuine way to keep domestic cats out of a backyard is to build a cat containment fence which you can purchase in America and in the UK designed to keep cats in but you turn the fence around so that the overhang at the top points outwards and prevents cats coming in. 

A physical barrier like this is 99.9% effective. Very few cats can get through it and over it. And that is peace of mind. It may cost several thousand dollars but as I say it's peace of mind which is worth the money anytime. 

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