Our beloved house cats, normally cuddly and sweet, are also one of the biggest threats to bird populations. Each year in the US alone, cats kill between 1.3 and 4 billion songbirds. In fact, domestic cats have contributed directly to the extinction of 22 species of birds. Bird-killing is upsetting, but pet parents can reduce feline bird predation by astonishing rates with just a few simple-and safe-strategies.
Naturally, the easiest way to prevent cats from killing birds is not to let the cats out in the first place. However, it's not just the birds that benefit from the pane of glass between cats and potential prey. Cats too are in danger once they hit the great outdoors. Even animal rights organization, PETA, recommends that all cats be kept indoors for their own safety. Cats will "chatter" when they see feathered folk outside their window seat, but they won't end the chirping of countless birds.
"It's a Raid!"
After "outdoors abstinence," perhaps the most effective method of promoting bird safety is Birdsbesafe®, recommended by the Audubon Society, and considered 87% effective. A soft, colorful, cloth collar, that breaks away for the cat's safety, Birdsbesafe was developed to warn birds of approaching cats. With their keen eye for color, birds can easily see the bright little collars and fly away before a cat gets too close. The cat enjoys the thrill of the hunt and the bird lives to sing another day.
When Good Cats Turn Bad
Other strategies include withholding praise for the cat bringing home a killed bird, no matter the species. Cats don't differentiate. Also, keep claws trimmed to diminish their power to climb and swipe.
And finally, don't feed feral cats. The instinct to hunt is not based on hunger, and well-fed cats are simply more energetic killers. Be sure to call a local shelter for assistance with wild cats.