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How can I prevent neighbor's cat from killing birds in our yard?

Our neighbor's cat acts so sweet but then he follows his natural instinct and kills bluejays that have visited our yard for several years and other birds too. First we put our bird bath away but we had crowds of birds hanging around looking at the spot it used to be. So I felt bad and put it back and put a little fence around it and the nearest tree. Well no bird used it with the fence so I put the baths out without the fence. Now I realize birds are being killed in other areas of the yard too. I heard bells around a cat's neck don't work because cats are so stealthy. I realize I can't prevent this but can anyone think of a way to lessen the killings?


  • Btw-I'm posting this on this site since there are people here who believe in animal rights. When I post on pet forums it's quite a different mentality ime.

  • Leafygreen, cats are obligatory carnivores. Your neighbor's cat is only doing what it's meant to do. I love cats, have three of them myself. But, they hunt. It's what they do. Sorry:-(

    Best bet, if it bothers you, is to not have the baths. Sorry:-(

  • joannabananajoannabanana Raw Newbie

    i have to agree with sisterbecky. i wish my parents let my cat outside to hunt but they declawed her when she was young. my neighbor's cat hunts outside so we're used to seeing little dead mice and birds around. it's totally natural. we have bird baths in our yard and there are usually always birds in it. we have one sitting on our deck and another hanging from a tree. i think you should keep your bird baths to make the birds happy, but realize the cat will hunt no matter where the bird baths are.

  • Thanks for the replies. Joannabanana, the plus side to having your cat inside is he/she won't get hit by a car. There have been two cats killed by cars in front of our house.

  • cupcakes revengecupcakes revenge Raw Newbie

    I love cats, one of my most fave animals ever. However, I don't believe cats should ever be allowed outside (unless on a leash and well supervised). Cats are not native species and are incredibly destructive to wildlife. As was mentioned, it is cat's natural instinct to hunt. However, as they are clearly being well fed in their homes, housecats have no need to hunt. They are perfectly happy being inside, provided that they are adequately stimulated. And, cats who do go outdoors have a significantly shorter lifespan. Unfortunately, humans suffer from personifying animals thinking things like "i like variety in my diet and i like going outside so cats must be the same." This is unfortunate both for the cats and for the surrounding wildlife.

    Clearly your neighbour has no regard for the environment or for their neighbours (you), otherwise they wouldn't be letting their cat out, especially knowing that it's killing birds in your yard. Unfortunately there is not a whole lot you can do. You could try putting some rinds from citrus fruit or citrus oils around the perimetre of your yard, or at least near where the birds hang out. Citrus supposedly repels cats.

    good luck!

  • ambiguousambiguous Raw Newbie

    I'm (mostly) with cupcakes revenge here.

    I don't have any foolproof methods, but suggesting a bell on the collar to your neighbor may actually help. And the citrus sounds like a good idea--cats hate it. They also hate getting sprayed with water. Garden specialty stores carry implements that have a motion detector and spray water (from a hose) when something trips the sensor. Of course, its practicality will be dictated by your circumstances.

  • I have heard that cayenne will repel them too. I once had trouble with neighborhood cats using my flowerbeds as litter boxes and that helped. Not sure how or if it'll affect the birds.

  • I'm Australian, and we have a big problem with cats killing all our beautiful native birds! I suggest

    1 You could buy a beautiful cat collar with a big bell and charmingly offer it to your neigbour, explaining the situation.

    2 You could catch it and take it to an animal shelter, saying you found it, or secretly have it declawed and return it at night.

  • I completely agree cupcake revenge. The cat is well fed so he doesn't need to hunt. That cat "hunts" olives that fall from our tree with just as much intensity as birds. So I imagine just chasing any toy appeases their hunting instinct. We modified the fence so it wouldn't look so menacing to birds and another bluejay just took a bath. Then he flew to a tree outside the fence enclosure. ugh! I'm going to put citrus fruits around all the trees by the bath. Thanks for the tip.

    Niccyhk-I appreciate you trying to save birds but declawing is unethical. There are numerous reasons but one is if the cat ever gets out of the house there will be no method for self defense against dogs or anything else. I don't understand the comment about taking the cat to an animal shelter. That would be very cruel to take the cat from a home with caretakers to a shelter environment. On top of that, the cat would risk euthenization.

  • How about a yappy dog? Might keep the cat away, but may also inhibit the birds some.

  • There is little or nothing that you can to to stop the cat itself - it is, as has been said by others, simply what cats do.

    On the other hand, check with your local animal control office to determine exactly where the law lies, and what YOUR rights are. Your backyard is YOUR property and it is up to the cat's owners - legally - to insure that their cats remains out. In many States a cats owner can be held liable.

    "It's conservatively estimated that they kill about 500 million birds a year," said Steve Holmer, senior policy advisor of the American Bird Conservancy.

  • I don't feel I need to have "rights" against a cat. Really? When I started this thread I was thinking in terms of putting bells in bushes or something like that. We kept a shorter fence around the bird bath so the birds still use it. (btw-I didn't find anymore dead birds.)

  • Sadly it's been proven that bells on cats collars don't work - cats become very adept at moving with them remaining silent, and when birds hear them they don't connect the sound with a threat (much like those deer whistles for your car). Cats are very good hunters, that hunt for the kill, not necessarily for the food. A well fed cat will kill as many (or more) birds than a hungry one.

    It's not a matter of 'rights against the cat', per say, it's your right not to have your neighbor's cat in your backyard - it's your yard. What if instead of a cat it was a 130 pound German Shepard - who didn't like your cat? Either way, the argument of keeping your neighbor's pet out of your yard is the same.

    I'm glad the short fence worked. I haven't had the same luck with the feral cats around here.

  • Cats hate garlic- plant garlic around the areas you want to keep it away from.

  • My cat must have been just pure evil when she was young, she didnt kill for food or for the hunt she just tormented her victims, including me as a kid.

    She'd bring her 'friends' indoors, lay on her back and throw them in the air, let them go stop them, pin them on their back and just stare at them.. It was like catnese mouse torture.

    We had so many mice in our house it was unbelieveable. Occasionally she would leave one on the doorstep (never birds) and sit there smiling proudly looking at me like 'Go on Mummy, it's yours, make yourself a sandwhich or something, I dont want it'

    She did however like to attact trains, my dad had scaeletric trains and car tracks - she would rip them limb from limb

  • Raw Passion-Yes sometimes cats like to play with their prey before the kill. Tigers do the same with humans, which is why a human should never play dead to avoid a tiger. A tiger would play with a human just as you watched your cat play. One time a cat presented me with a dead mouse and I faked gratitude but it wasn't a gift I wanted-to say the least. I know in their mind though it's a compliment to us, and there's no way to get that instinct out of them. So I just humored him.

  • I have to say I'm not a cat fan. A big fat striped one tried to attack my squirrel friend Nutkin a few months ago. I was in the bathroom and saw them in the yard- I couldn't even go out to save Nutkin because the landlord has the gate locked up. But luckily Nutkin was too fast for the cat and ran up a tree.Poor Nutkin was terrified and was screaming for 15 minutes up the tree.

  • Greenwood-That's so sad. I do wish all people would keep their cats inside.

  • powerliferpowerlifer Raw Newbie
    edited July 2015

    i was lifting weights in the garage when i heard these birds going mental screaming, i finally think right whats going on as i get up i see this cat pounce on a baby bird that has fallen from its nest and the cat ran off with it in its mouth:(.


  • "Greenwood-That's so sad. I do wish all people would keep their cats inside."

    Well, Nutkin got away- he is super fast! :)

    Though one of the tenants here (he has since moved out thankfully- he advocated high fat meat diets and liked to tell me I was wrong being vegan...) told me that the cat was trying to "get rid of vermin"- because Nutkin is an American Grey Squirrel, not the native Red Squirrel. Nutkin is less of a "pest" than cats.

    "I was lifting weights in the garage when i heard these birds going mental screaming, i finally think right whats going on as i get up i see this cat pounce on a baby bird that has fallen from its nest and the cat ran off with it in its mouth:(. "

    Oh no....poor little thing. When we were children our cat got a baby bird (a sparrow I think it was) and my mother took the baby and put it in a matchbox and put Germolene on its wing- it sadly died though. The mother bird was crying on our neighbour's roof. I smacked our cat for that.

  • Greenwood-They can't control this instinct. Hitting a companion animal is abusive.

  • I was only about 5 at the time...oops.

  • Oh :P

  • I was about 5-8 years old, really young. I didn't smack the cat hard. The cat showed no hard feelings after- still sat on my lap lol.

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